Steel City Underground

As the NFL evolves, the players change with it. The big nose tackles that used to be the centerpieces of 3-4 defenses are getting harder to find as they're not seeing the field as often. While the Steelers have their starting defensive tackle in Javon Hargrave and depth in recent signing Tyson Alualu, they lack a big man in the middle than can occupy blockers in 3-4 and goal line situations.

Meet the draft prospect who could potentially occupy this role: Idaho defensive tackle Glen Antoine.

I recently had the chance to interview Antoine. He showed that he knows his strengths and knows how he can contribute to a defense:

I think I could contribute at the nose guard position, taking up blocks so those linebackers are free, that’s what I do best. Taking on double teams and being able to split ‘em and make plays, but my whole job as a nose guard is to make sure my linebackers are free to make the plays.

A player like Antoine wouldn't necessarily be a starter on the Steelers defense, but he would be a valuable depth player. Having an athlete like him would give linebackers like Ryan Shazier a clear hole to get to the ball carrier or quarterback. He would also assist in goalline packages, where mere inches can be the difference between a touchdown and a field goal. In goalline situations, having an immovable object like Antoine would be a great asset.

Antoine knows though that speed is an essential part of football. He detailed that aspect when asked about what he was working on leading up to the draft:

I’ve been working on getting quicker, faster. You always have to work on those kind of things and everyone can improve at those aspects of the game.

Antoine has used his social media to display this speed and quickness he's been working on.

One of the biggest days for any prospect is their pro day. These players train endlessly for this opportunity to show off their talents for scouts. Antoine described for me what this process is like:

You train so hard to try and get in the best shape for drills and to go out there and to get it over with is a great feeling, you work so hard for something and you have an opportunity to go out there and impress people and turn some yes.

Antoine put up some impressive numbers on his pro day. Weighing in at 337 pounds, he completed 37 reps on the bench, posted a 30" vertical jump, and had a 103" broad jump. When put beside other defensive tackle prospects, Antoine's numbers look pretty good. Actually, they look great.

Glen Antoine (Idaho) Jaleel Johnson (Iowa) Caleb Brantley (Florida)
Weight 337 lb's 316 lb's 307 lb's
Bench press reps 37 19 21
Vertical jump 30" 28" 27"
Broad jump 103" 100" 105"

The highest number of bench press reps at the combine belonged to Carl Lawson with 35.

Had he been invited, Antoine would've beat that by two.

The numbers show that Antoine is not only big and strong, but also explosive. When asked if he was happy with his pro day results, Antoine enthusiastically replied "yes sir!"

This strength and explosion can be seen in video's Antoine has posted on his Twitter.

While discussing his pro day, Antoine also dispelled rumors about him personally meeting with the Steelers, or any scouts for that matter.

No, none of us(the players) talked to any of them(scouts). Our pro day ran kind of late and it was bad weather but my agent talked to some scouts. So mainly with our pro day, it was trying to get everything done so we could beat the weather.

Teams have shown interest in Antoine, who received the opportunity to participate in the College Gridiron Showcase, an all-star event for college senior football players. The showcase gives players the opportunity to scrimmage with others, speak with scouts and take classes on topics such as finance and social media use.

It was an all-star game, you get to compete with a lot of guys that are gonna be in the draft class this year, and also it was a good experience with the scouts where you were able to performance and showcase your talents in front of the scouts.... I spoke with the Raiders, the Rams, the Chiefs, and the Jets had me fill out some interview questions.

An organization like the Steelers values more than talent alone. The culture of Pittsburgh is world-renowned and the cornerstone of the team. The Steelers often seek players of great character, and this is an area where Antoine especially shines. Antoine is a man of great faith, and he detailed how his faith influences him as an athlete and a person:

It’s great because I know I can’t go out there and run, jump, do anything or live life without God and Jesus Christ. I try to give them all the glory because that’s who blessed me to do the things I can do on a regular day basis. There’s people out there who can’t do those things, who can’t go out and perform or run, or jump, or get on the field. And you know as an athlete, a lot of us are very blessed and some people take it for granted, just getting on that field or being able to practice, or simple things like that. It’s a blessing every day.

In a time of social media dominance and celebrity tabloids, having players with strong character is vital for an organization. The players are great influences not only in the locker room but in the community.

When asked what he wants teams and fans to know about him, this is what Antoine had to say:

I’m ready, ready to ball out, ready to showcase my talents that God and Jesus Christ blessed me with. Everything with him, so no matter what happens I’m gonna be happy. I just wanna play football and be able to live my dream out.

Antoine is a perfect example of a player you want to root for. He's an underdog with a humble demeanor, but as tough as they come. Nose tackles may not be as valuable as they used to be, but they're still valuable to teams. Antoine is a throwback player that reminds us of the days of Casey Hampton, who was also one of Antoine's favorite players growing up.

Glen Antoine isn't expected to go high in the draft, but he is a name to watch for.

Check out some of his highlights in the video below.

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