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Explosive Steelers NT Having Underrated Season



Steelers NT Montravius Adams
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Montravius Adams runs out of the tunnel against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 29, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

When Cam Heyward went down, the Steelers knew they would need help from everyone, including those guys already around. It was Montravius Adams who ended up absorbing much of the responsibility, playing over 50 snaps for most games while Heyward was out. Of course, with Heyward back, Adams would likely recede some of those responsibilities, but an ankle injury against the Titans left that thought in flux. He has now missed three games, but is set to return on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Adams started his eighth straight game at nose tackle in that Titans game. Rookie Keeanu Benton replaced him after leaving with the injury. But before that injury, how well Adams played was going under the radar. So, when ESPN came out with players under the radar and underpaid, it was no surprise that the underrated Adams made the list.

“Adams impressed the Steelers when they picked him up in the middle of the 2021 season, so they signed him to a two-year contract,” Aaron Schatz wrote. “The signing has been worth the money and then some. He ranks 20th in pass rush win rate among interior linemen despite absorbing a double-team 73% of the time. He’s also 26th in run-stop win rate (38%). However, his current contract comes in at 77th among interior defensive linemen in average money per year.”

That is a credit to the Steelers and Adams. He has never looked at competition as anything but that, and it has bettered him into having what is looking like a career year. Benton is playing well behind him, too, but the Steelers would be smart to start thinking about Adams’ future past this year. If he keeps this up, there is very little for him not to be back as the main backup if you believe Benton ascends.

His natural explosiveness and motor pop off the screen on tape. Pittsburgh has a type at nose tackle nowadays, and Adams has been fine previously, but this year is making a much more significant impact in that lane.