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Josiah Coatney will join the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent

The former Ole Miss captain adds size to Tomlin’s defense.

Mississippi v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Josiah Coatney, former Ole Miss defensive lineman, will join the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent, he announced on Saturday night after the 2020 NFL Draft.

After one year at Holmes Community College where Coatney was a MACJC first team All-State selection, he redshirted in his first season at Ole Miss. From that point on, he was about as reliable as they come and he started in 35 of the 36 career games. He finished his career with 174 total tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss, and kept a consistent average of 23.6 solo tackles per season. His strong frame and ability to hold his own against sizable SEC opponents proves his value on the next level.

Coatney is a stand-up individual, a confident leader and was named a team captain in 2019. He received Reese’s Senior Bowl and NFL Combine invites after his senior year.

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“It’s a blessing,” Coatney said in a pre-draft interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s been a long journey. It’s one where I’ve definitely had to endure definitely. I just have to thank God for all of the opportunities that he gave me. Going to Ole Miss. Going to junior college has allowed me the chance to play football at a high level.”

What does he do well?

Coatney is the ideal frame for a defensive lineman in the NFL. At 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, he gained some weight throughout his four years, but could slim down to become a lean mean trench-fighting machine. His explosiveness at the point of contact leaves something to be desired, but he is a constant disruptor in the run game. When Coatney gets leverage on a block, he is in control.

His pass rush moves need development, but he uses a strong first punch to force the block off-balance, and rips through the arms of a lineman trying to regain control. He will have to work on tuning his tools, but Coatney is firm when he sets an edge on the run and will be a rotational run-stopper in the NFL.

Where does he fit in?

There is a lot of versatility for Coatney to play anywhere on the defensive line. He has experience playing as a nose tackle, over the guard and as the end in a 3-4 system in college and could play most interior positions, or on the end in an odd-front scheme.

His size and physicality will prove valuable to the Steelers as a low-risk undrafted free agent. Mike Tomlin has himself a talented interior defensive line with size as it is, and Coatney adds depth for a team that likes to rotate its schemes and players frequently.

Hear from the experts:

CBS Sports NFL Draft Writer Josh Edwards —

“Coatney is never going to provide much pass rush. I do like his speed for his size and he is capable of demanding double teams. I like that he plays to the whistle and has some diversity as a pass rusher with his spin moves and rips. I have an early sixth round grade on him right now but there are so many variables when that point of the draft arrives. ”