The Steelers' depth chart at defensive end lists a pair of starters who were blue-chip recruits, went to big-time programs and were taken in the first 1½ rounds of the draft. The top backup is a former top-10 draft choice.

No. 4 on the list? L.T. Walton, a former two-star recruit who went to college at the only place that offered him a scholarship, per Rivals.com (Central Michigan of the Mid-American Conference). He was a sixth-round pick in 2015 who quietly has kept his roster spot, working behind the scenes to earn the trust of the Steelers defensive coaches.

“There's not many guys from Central Michigan — as unbelievable as it sounds, given that we have had a really good one (Antonio Brown) — who have come as far as L.T. has,” veteran Cameron Heyward said.

“But he's really grown a lot. You see the growth, whether it's strength or him knowing what he's got to do, and you see his motor out there, which you love.”

That motor has been more on display in recent weeks as Walton has gotten more reps in the absence of $60 million man Stephon Tuitt, a former second-round pick from Notre Dame.

While Tyson Alualu, the No. 10 overall pick in 2010, has been starting in place of Tuitt (back injury) at right defensive end opposite Heyward, Walton is the next man up at a position where rotating bodies is preferable.