Josh Chapman has been the proverbial “rock” at NT for Alabama’s dominating Defense since 2010. After Red-Shirting his Freshman campaign in 2007 due to a shoulder injury, Chapman backed up Terrence Cody in 2008 and the Tide’s 2009 National Championship season and performed when his number was called. Chapman racked up 33 Tackles in those two seasons and strung together 6.5 TFL’s during that span where he started two games as well.
Chapman started his final two seasons in Tuscaloosa, and week in and week out faced the best competition (S.E.C.) there was in college football. In 2010, Chapman started 12 games and made 31 Tackles, 3.5 TFL, and 1.0 Sack and was an enormous reason behind the Tide’s thrashing of Michigan State in The Capital One Bowl.
Chapman sustained a torn ACL during his Senior campaign this past season, but still started 12 games and gave tremendous effort week in and week out to help the nation’s best Defense and National Champion Tide simply dominate its foes. Josh made 22 Tackles, 3.5 TFL’s, and 1.0 Sack, and clogged the middle to help guys like Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw flat out dominate the opposition on a weekly basis.
If the Steelers are looking for a player with Chapman’s experience, as well as his experience against tough and N.F.L. ready competition, they should look no further than Chapman. Standing 6’1″, Chapman uses his height to his advantage and gets great leverage like Casey Hampton. Furthermore, because he played in a 3-4 system at Alabama under Nick Saban, his learning curve should be a lot less steep than most D-Linemen that come into the N.F.L. with little to no experience in a 3-4. Experience aside, that doesn’t mean that Chapman will be the Steelers choice in Round 2 if he is available.
Chapman is a bit on the smaller side for a 0-Technique in terms of his weight, and he will be coming off of ACL surgery (he tore his ACL in 2011 and played most of the season with it, total and complete warrior) this offseason as well. I’m sure Steelers’ doctors will take a long look at Chapman and relay anything and everything they can to Colbert and Co. about his knee if Pittsburgh is interested in him.
Wherever the Steelers decide to go at NT, they should at least know this: Chapman is the most experienced one of the group in terms of playing time, has logged the most time playing against the likes of S.E.C. opponents, and has 3-4 0-Technique experience.
Jean-Baptiste is probably the prospect that I am the most intrigued by out of these six. Why you may ask? Well, that’s because he reminds me quite a bit of Casey Hampton.
Jean-Baptiste has the same squat, rolly-polly frame as Hampton (6’1″ 325 lbs. (listed weight, Snack probably tips the scales near 350 by November) does , he played 2nd fiddle to another DT at his school (Phil Taylor in Jean-Baptiste’s case and Shaun Rogers in Hampton’s), both went to Big XII schools in Texas, and both developed under-the-radar while playing some pretty good football in the process.
After a successful 2010 season where he logged 9 starts, Jean-Baptiste emerged as a monster in the middle of Baylor’s Defense this season (12 starts) in the absence of the Browns’ Phil Taylor. Jean-Baptiste set career highs in Tackles (36) TFL (8.5), Sacks (4.0), and PBU’s (3), and was one of only a few bright spots on the Bears’ Defense. Jean-Baptiste however may need to work on defending the run and fighting off blocks, because him and the Bears were dreadful against it in 2011.
Jean-Baptiste might need some more time to develop with Coaches LeBeau and Mitchell to get him N.F.L. ready and step in for “Snack” on a consistent non-rotational basis. If the Steelers do indeed decide to go ILB and O-Line in the 1st few rounds this April, I believe that Jean-Baptiste might be their guy in Rounds 5-7.