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Pittsburgh Steelers host nose tackle, two defensive ends and another safety

A few hours after SteelCityInsider.net chose Javon Hargrave in the second round of Scout's mock draft, the Steelers hosted the nose tackle among four visitors.

It was a big day for college defensive linemen at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Three big men -- led by nose tackle Javon Hargrave -- and a safety, of course, visited the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday.

Hargrave, a favorite of SCI.net, is the two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year out of former Steelers great Donnie Shell's South Carolina State.

In the last two seasons, Hargrave piled up 29.5 sacks and 45.5 tackles for loss, and he did it with remarkable athleticism. At the NFL Combine, the 6-1 3/8, 309-pounder ran a 4.93 40 (1.69 10) and repped 29 times with explosive jumps of 34 1/2 in the vertical and 9-1 in the broad.

For a complete profile on Hargrave, click here to read our story from March 15.

It should be noted that Hargrave was drafted in the second round earlier this morning by SCI.net in the soon-to-be-released Scout.com Publisher's Mock Draft, Round 2.

The other linemen visiting on Friday were Quinton Jefferson of Maryland and Dean Lowry of Northwestern.

Jefferson (6-3 7/8, 291) had 16 sacks during his senior year at nearby Woodland Hills High, a traditional big-school power in the WPIAL. At Maryland, Jefferson was a three-year starter as a 3-4 end. His junior season was cut short by a torn ACL but he rebounded last season with 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles-for-loss in 12 starts.

Analysts like the way Jefferson can both penetrate as a one-gapping lineman and stack as a two-gapper against the run. He's said to have a high motor and could go as high as the third round.

Lowry (6-5 3/4, 296) is also a high-motored, hard-working player who "would be difficult to cut," but projects just a bit lower in the draft as possibly a fourth-rounder.

At Northwestern, Lowry was a three-year starting end and compiled 11.5 sacks and 28.5 tackles-for-loss in those three seasons. He projects as either a 5-tech in a 3-4 or a strong-side end in a 4-3.

Like Jefferson, Lowry is an intense competitor who's smart and tough, but who has short 31-inch arms and is said to lack core power.

Both Lowry and Jefferson timed well at the NFL Combine. Lowry ran a 4.87 40 with 30 reps and Jefferson ran a 4.94 40 and had an impressive 6.98 3-cone time. Both linemen had sparkling short-shuttle times: Jefferson at 4.37 and Lowry at 4.38.

Trae Elston (5-11, 195), the sixth safety to visit among the 18 visitors (two others are potential conversions to safety), started 44 games at safety for Ole Miss.

A team captain, Elston intercepted five passes (and reportedly dropped several because of bad hands) and broke up 29 passes in his career. Elston is a big hitter who's aggressive in the run game but may lack range as primarily a cover-2 safety with a sixth-round projection from SCI.net.


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