Steelers Fill Two More Needs On Day Two Of The 2013 NFL Draft

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert never likes to refer to drafted players as needs. Instead, he likes to call them wants. On Friday, it is quite obvious that needs is indeed the correct word to use as the Steelers drafted Michigan State running back Le\’Veon Bell in round two of the 2013 NFL draft and Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton in the third round.

Due to the loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace and running back Rashard Mendenhall to free agency this offseason, many figured that those two positions would be addressed by the Steelers in the first few rounds of the draft, and indeed they were.

Bell, who a few of the so-called experts deemed a third or fourth round prospect, is a big back that can do it all on offense. Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said during his post selection press conference that Bell is a three down back that can catch the ball out of the backfield and pass protect. At only 21 years of age, Haley said that the 6\’2, 244-pound running back doesn\’t have a lot of mileage on him and that he is mature for his age.

As far as the mileage goes on Bell, who led the Big Ten in rushing last season with 1,793 yards, and ran for 12 touchdowns, he has only carried the football a total of 671 times in 40 games played at Michigan State.

Haley insisted that when the day started that Bell was the Steelers target all along, and he really must of been, as they bypassed Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, who many believed heading into the draft was the top running back in the class, to take Bell instead. Lacy wound up being drafted by the Green Bay Packers 13 picks after the Steelers selected Bell.

Wheaton, who the Steelers chose to take over West Virginia product Stedman Bailey, was described by Haley as a wide receiver with a running back build that includes a wider base. Haley also said that Wheaton, who is 22 years of age, can line up both inside and outside, and although he has speed, possesses a different skill set than Wallace had.

During his senior season, Wheaton caught 91 balls for 1,244 and 11 touchdowns and he also rushed for another 142 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. During his four seasons at Oregon State, Wheaton surprisingly carried the ball a total of 83 times for an average of 7.6 yards.

While Wheaton did return a few punts and kickoffs during his college career, it is not something that he excelled at. Haley stated that he 5\’11, 182-pound receiver might get a look back there, regardless, but personally, I don\’t think that he will be a serious threat to challenge for the job.

When you add the selection of Bell and Wheaten to outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who was drafted in the first round Thursday night, you get three needs taken care of with several more yet to be satisfied. We will look at those remaining needs, and players that match them that remain on the board heading into day three, in a post later on this evening.

  • JT

    At first I was a bit disappointed with the Wheaton pick, just because Bailey was still on the board. But I can see why he was taken. His rushing ability is encouraging. I’m sure Haley has a few things in mind for him. I’m optimistic.

    I don’t get the hate for the Bell pick. Was it a little early? Maybe. But with the run on RBs later in the 2nd, nobody would have been happy with who we got later anyway. I’m hopeful about what some good coaching can turn him into. He’s definitely a Steeler back.

  • steeltown

    Wheaton is a solid pick he’s strong and plays very fast, a former track star that runs good routes. It seemed a little early for Bell to be taken, but that is that. He could turn out to be the workhorse we need. Personally I am happy with the draft so far.

    I like adding Le’veon Bell and Stephens-Howling to the mix, two completely different body types

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I am perfectly happy with who we’ve drafted i believe we are a way better football team now

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Hope we can get J. Williams in the 4th tomorrow or maybe S. Thomas possibly R. Swope

  • westernsteel

    I am surprised at the negative comments after todays draft picks. Fans are already predicting the Steelers to miss the playoffs this season! Give me a break. If the Steelers picked a WR in the second, what RB would they take in the third round? Bell would be gone in the third, along with many other decent backs. I am going to trust their judgement on Bell, especially because they chose him over Lacy and Franklin. I was hoping for a Justin Hunter or Robert Woods, but at least we landed a receiver in the third round, I was nervous they would take a ILB, not that they don’t need one, but I can’t stand to see too many early round picks not play year one.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Completely agree with you

  • As the Fourth Round awaits, We still need a NT, an OL player (Probably OG) and Atleast 1 Safety…maybe an ILB and IMO a Kicker.

    Players still on the board:
    OT Chris Faulk
    OT Ricky Wagner
    OG Barrett Jones
    NT Jesse Williams
    NT Kwame Geathers
    ILB Kevin Riddick
    ILB Nico Johnson
    S Phillip Thomas
    S Shamarco Thomas
    S Baccari Rambo
    K Caleb Sturgis
    K Dustin Hopkins

  • dgh57

    The supply of good Safeties is running low!! Please let the 4th round be it! Some o-line depth would be nice to.

  • hergieburbur

    I don’t think NT is a need at this point and you can get a kicker in UDFA.

  • hergieburbur

    I still think they reached for Bell, but I think they got excellent value in Wheaton. I am not thrilled overall with this draft, but I think the Chicken Littlers are getting carried away.

  • dgh57

    Why do we need a kicker? Suisham was 28 FGM of 31 FGAs for 90+%
    He had 2 misses because it was beyond his range and Tomlin should of known better!

  • hergieburbur

    Yeah, I hated Suisham when he got here, but he proved me wrong. Although I always want to see two kickers in camp, it shouldn’t come from the draft.

  • hergieburbur

    I think we definitely need a S in the 4th. Would like to see us take a chance on Mauti with our second 6th or 7th, as it could potentially address the ILB issue, and use the other on an OL. If Kasa is still there in the 5th, I wouldn’t mind him either.

  • Intropy

    If they had gone WR in the second (which I don’t think would have been a good idea) then the RB they could have gotten in the 3rd would have been, wait for it, Le’Veon Bell.

  • Intropy

    People always get carried away. So they made a big reach in the second. What else is new? At least the first and third look solid. It’s not like anyone knows who is going to prove worth their slot any time soon anyway.

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    The seemingly unanimous critique of Bell as slow to the hole is a bit distressing, especially considering we already have two of those guys. I don’t think there’s any RB in the draft without serious question marks though.

    Passing on Bailey is going to be interesting. Bailey is really very good, and the young Hines Ward comparisons are entirely warranted. He’s not a burner, though, and it looks like that’s what we wanted. (Whether we got one is a matter of some contention, as is Wheaton’s height, which oddly ranges from 5’11” to 6’1″ depending on the source.)

  • Shieldzy

    I don’t see Bell as a reach at all. The Steelers had to have a reason for passing on Lacy. And, as for Ball, Bell has always been a better prospect. It’s quite possible that Bell really impressed in his interview. Somebody made a great point I think in the press conference that Lacy ran behind a much better line than Ball did. The Steelers want a workhorse back and everybody says that Lacy will be the best workhorse but Bell has shown to be much more of a work horse than Lacy. One final piece of the puzzle, Bell has never missed a game in his career despite having 671 carries. In the end, this pick will work out. In Colbert We Trust

  • Mike.H
  • Not the players I woulda picked, but we got a RB and a WR. Can’t ask for much more than that.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    “Reach” is a very subjective term. It depends on two factors…

    (1) Where would that player have actually been drafted (if you passed on him)? THAT is his actual draft value. And there’s no way to know that for sure until he’s picked.

    Even if Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock both agree on a “ranking” that doesn’t mean anything. I bet there are some people who said “If the Eagles pass on Bernard at 2.3 he’ll still be there for them at 3.3.” Then two picks later he is gone. I bet there are some other people who said “If the Packers pass on Lacy at 1.26 there’s no way he’ll still be there at 2.29.” But then to their surprise he was.

    The point is, Le’Veon Bell could’ve been drafted by the Giants at 2.17. And the term “reach” would not be accurate in that circumstance.

    (2) Where would that player be drafted if you re-drafted him 5 years later? Would Gronkowski be a “reach” if you drafted him in the first round? I bet Miami wishes they would’ve “reached” on Mike Wallace in the 2nd round.

    My point is, the Steelers prospect ranking draft board looks different than the Patriots draft board. And both of those look different than Mel Kiper’s draft board. Sometimes we get brainwashed by media opinions, but the reality is the Steelers ranked Le’Veon Bell as the number one running back in the draft. They did not feel they were reaching at all. And as long as he produces (like they believe he will) 5 years from now this will look like a high value pick.

  • hergieburbur

    Which does make the Bell pick look much better in full context, since some people were clamoring for Wheaton in the second.

    Though I agree, WR was not the way to go in the second. I would much prefer Arthur Brown or Swearinger, or a few others.

  • hergieburbur

    Absolutely. I happen to think it was a reach today. I may be wrong, I hope I am. But, I DO think he will produce and in the long run, it won’t matter. It will still gall me is we miss out on a potential starting safety though.

  • hergieburbur

    Bell supposedly has better field vision, which helps behind the zone scheme we are putting in place. That alone could have bumped him about Lacy for us.

  • Don

    My fingers are crossed that Philip Thomas lasts long enough for the Steelers to grab him.

  • David Edward

    As much as I think the picks so far were just average, the one thing I’m most encouraged by is that all three are good character guys (or at least not character issue guys). That’s a good sign and hope the trend continues. I will reserve my final grades until all picks were made so that I can judge the draft as a whole as well as each individual pick. One thing that seemed evident was that they were pretty much locked in to Jones/Bell 1-2. Also, whether Colbert wants to admit it or not, need seems to carry heavy’s not a bad thing

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    In a related side note. Look at the safeties the Steelers brought in for visits:

    Phillip Thomas, Shamarko Thomas, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks.

    All still on the board. (Also Earl Wolff). I think the Steelers coaches see a starter fit in one or more of those guys.

  • mikeg

    Also lacy had a lingering hamstring injury. Lacy also had NFL WR (Julio Jones and now Amari Cooper) taking the safety out of the box & splitting time with Trent Richardson, TJ Yeldon etc… Bell was the workhorse and I think the FO valued that. In fact so do I.

  • hergieburbur

    Three of those guys are guys I want them to take. I actually thought Phillip Thomas would go in the 2nd or at worst top half of the third. I don’t know why he hasn’t.

  • hergieburbur

    Need certainly won out with the Bell pick. By no stretch was he the best player available. I am not even sure he was the best player available in an area of need for us. Wheaton I am not so sure. He could have gone end of the second so there was definitely value there.

  • Nolrog

    I agree. It makes me very happy to see them addressing significant needs, and not drafting another OL, DE or LB because they were the “BPA”.

  • grw1960

    I give up, Except for the Jones pick. The Steelers ave been ignoring BPA and drafting for need. This is not something they usually do.
    Makes me wonder about the future of the Steelers defense in 2014 and beyond.
    I couldn’t believe they passed up a top 40 rated player ( ILB/OLB) Arthur Brown) at 48 and took a 70 to 100 rated RB in round 2. They could have got Brown and traded up in the 3d to get Bell.
    Ther Ravens and Bengals are picking impact players nd we are filling needs.

  • steeltown

    Exactly. They had him ranked as their highest rated, so to them, it was not a reach. I didn’t want Lacy, he ran behind an all pro oline.. how do you rate or gauge a player in college that has that luxury?

    The reasoning behind the pick, include some things that some people don’t even consider, like his age and wear or overall carries. He just turned 21yrs and does not have much wear on the tires. Plus he’s never missed a game due to injury. Add the fact that he’s big yet can still catch out of the backfield…. really makes him an interesting prospect

  • Stephen Dale

    Selecting Arthur Brown ( ILB) in the 2nd rd would have filled a much bigger need than the plodding RB the Steelers actually took–whether he was at the top of their board or not. RB is not the most glaring need for this team: rebuilding the defense is…………and Brown would have been a good replacement for Larry Foote besides keeping him away from Baltimore… Another Mike tomlin drafting error……

  • Stephen Dale

    not to worry, there is a 5’8″ safety available for Tomlin to draft in the 4th rd.