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Steelers All 90: Jonathan Marshall Finds Home at Nose in Steelers’ 3-4



Pittsburgh Steelers DL Jonathan Marshall

The Pittsburgh Steelers brought Jonathan Marshall in midseason to be a depth piece for a group that was ravaged by injuries by the end of the season. Marshall played four games as a rookie for the Jets in 2021 but spent most of his first two seasons on New York’s practice squad.

Marshall is a true nose tackle that has the explosiveness and strength to be an effective run-stopper but has yet to bring it all together even while in college at the University of Arkansas. Coming out of college, Marshall’s 36 reps on the bench were considered elite along with his speed tests.

He spent most of his time playing in a true zero-technique and was used sparingly as a 4i in his time as a Razorback. In his 76 defensive snaps on the Jets, Marshall lined up out of position for a nose tackle as he played 64 of those snaps lined up over the B-gap.

The thing that Marshall has going for him is the similarities between the defensive schemes in New York and Pittsburgh. Both teams are all about letting their defensive lineman get off quickly and attack.

“To be honest, they’re all kind of similar,” Marshall said. “It was all about the get off with the Jets and attack there. But here it’s the same thing. It’s taking the man instead of the area.”

When Marshall joined the team in December, he was unsure of where he would fit in along the Steelers’ defensive line but was excited to just have a spot on an NFL active roster.

“I’m very excited,” Marshall said. “It’s just a chance for me to come out and basically show a reason why I am in the NFL.”

Now that Marshall is going through a full offseason with the Steelers, he has a chance to fight for a roster spot due to the team’s limited depth at the position. The Steelers drafted Keeanu Benton in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft and will battle Marshall for snaps along with Montravius Adams.

While the starting edge will be given to Adams due to his experience with the team over the last two seasons, Benton is likely to slide in as the starting nose tackle by the end of the season. Nonetheless, Marshall should be given a fair chance to become a rotational, depth piece for the Steelers in 2023.

If all else fails, Marshall is likely to end up on the Steelers’ practice squad for the 2023 season and would be one of the top options to be elevated if injuries occur, which they likely will.

91 • Jonathan Marshall, Defensive End, Arkansas
6-foot-3, 310 pounds, 25 years old, 3rd Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Marshall from the New York Jets practice squad on Dec. 14, 2022, after injuries decimated the Steelers’ defensive line last season.

Last seasonMarshall started the season on the Jets practice squad and was not elevated for any of their games.

The Steelers decided to sign Marshall to their active roster after the defensive line suffered multiple injuries that resulted in Cam Heyward having to play nose tackle.

Marshall was listed as inactive in his first week on the team and did not log any snaps for the rest of the season.

Steelers Jonathan Marshall

Steelers defensive tackles Jonathan Marshall (91) and Breiden Fehoko (96) work at Steelers OTAs on May 23, 2023.

CareerThe New York Jets drafted Marshall with the 207th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Marshall was waived by the Jets prior to his rookie season but re-signed to the team’s practice squad the next day.

Marshall was elevated to the Jets’ active roster before the team’s Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans. He recorded nine defensive snaps in that game but failed to tally a tackle. Marshall’s next appearance came in Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles when he played 19 defensive snaps. Marshall recorded his first NFL tackle and quarterback pressure in Week 15 against the Miami Dolphins. He made one more appearance in Week 17 as he recorded his second tackle of the season.

In his career, Marshall has played in four games and recorded two combined tackles and one quarterback pressure.

Year GP Def. Snaps Tackles Sacks Pressures FFs PFF Rating
2021 4 76 2 0 1 0 37.7
2022 0 0 0 0 0 0

CollegeMarshall was a consensus three-star prospect coming out of high school and decided to commit to the University of Arkansas. He redshirted during his first season as a Razorback and sat out the entire 2016 season.

In 2017, Marshall played in a rotational role but did appear in 12 games as he played 160 defensive snaps. He finished his redshirt freshman year with six combined tackles and half of a tackle for loss.

Marshall stayed in a rotational role in 2018 as he appeared in 11 games and made 13 combined tackles. He played a total of 286 defensive snaps and 77 special teams snaps.

As a redshirt junior in 2019, Marshall played 311 snaps on the defensive line as he finished with 17 combined tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, half of a sack, and three pass breakups.

In his final year at Arkansas, Marshall started all 10 games on the defensive line and racked up career-highs in a couple of different categories. He finished the year with 35 combined tackles, one sack, and 6.5 tackles for loss. He also added one pass defended and one forced fumble.

In his collegiate career, Marshall appeared in 45 games and racked up 71 combined tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. The reason for his low sack numbers is that he played a ton in the nose tackle position and was mainly a run stuffer.

Year GP Tackles TFLs Sacks PDs/PBUs FFs
2016 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
2017 12 6 0.5 0.0 0 0
2018 11 13 0.0 0.0 0 0
2019 12 17 4.5 0.5 3 1
2020 10 35 6.5 1.0 1 1

Salary cap and future: Marshall signed with the Steelers midway through the 2022 season and is locked in with the team until the end of the 2023 season. He will cost $940,000 against the Steelers’ 2023 cap space which is his base salary as he has no extra bonuses attached to his contract. Marshall will become an exclusive rights-free agent following this season.

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