Despite a historic performance by the Pittsburgh Steelers defense this past season, depth proved to be an issue down the stretch. Even with the considerable improvements to their depth at defensive line last offseason, stopping the run became a noticeable weakness as injuries began to mount.
During this week's Reese's Senior Bowl, a player that should receive his fair share of attention, is Georgia Bulldogs interior defensive lineman Malik Herring.
As a 4-star recruit out of Mary Persons High School in Georgia, Herring has played in at least 10 games each season since his true freshman year. As a junior, Herring was one of the highest graded interior linemen in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus.
This past season, Herring registered career highs in sacks (4.5), tackles for loss (2), while assisting with two passes deflected. Writer/analyst Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network, added Herring as a fifth round pick in his latest Steelers mock draft. According to Solak, Herring style would be a good fit for their various defensive fronts, and could provide the type of depth which could aid both Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward.
Even with the presence of interior linemen Isaiah Buggs and Chris Wormley, Herring's array of skills suits well for a defensive unit that continues to set new standards each season.