Steelers Versus Giants – Recap Of The Rookie Draft Class

Six members of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 NFL Draft class were on the field Saturday night for the preseason opener against the New York Giants and three sat on the sidelines. Below is a recap of all nine players.

Jarvis Jones – Jones followed starter Jason Worilds into the game at right outside linebacker and ended up playing 41 total snaps in total. He did not, however, play on any special teams units, so I don\’t know if there is anything to be read into that. Outside of recovering a gift fumble, it was a relatively uneventful debut for Jones, who also added one solo tackle and one assist. The Georgia product is quick off the line, but needs to get stronger. In addition, Jones allowed a few runs to his direction get outside for good positive yardage.

Le\’Veon Bell – I t was announced just prior to the game that Bell would not play as head coach Mike Tomlin held him out for precautionary reasons because of a banged up knee. Tomlin said he didn\’t see enough of the second-round pick last week and that it wasn\’t fair to allow him to make his professional debut if he was not fully 100 percent. Following the game, Tomlin indicated that Bell should practice this week and play next Monday against the Washington Redskins.

Markus Wheaton – Wheaton had an uneven debut that included him playing 24 snaps on offense, but he did show signs that he is an all-around receiver. His blocking needs to improve for starters and he doesn\’t look like he is comfortable playing special teams just yet. On the night, Wheaton had one reception for 8 yards and one run for another 10 yards. He did, however, fail to hold onto a ball from Bruce Gradkowski on the right sideline and was flagged once for a false start. On special teams, the Oregon State product knocked linebacker Stevenson Sylvester out of the game with an ankle injury as he flew into his legs after the tackle was made. I expect him to really shine next week against the Redskins as the talent is definitely there.

Shamarko Thomas – Thomas played in the slot mostly as a nickel cornerback during his 26 snaps of playing time and recorded one tackle and one assist on defense to go along with one assisted tackle on special teams. The Steelers want Thomas to learn not only both safety roles, but the nickel position as well, so it is not surprising he received so much work there against the Giants, especially being as the team is short on healthy cornerbacks.

Landry Jones – Jones\’ first snap as a professional ended in a safety after he collided with Baron Batch on an attempted handoff. He entered the game as the third quarterback and finished the night going 5-of-9 passing for 48 yards in 15 snaps played.

Terry Hawthorne – Hawthorne remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Justin Brown – Brown was targeted a team-high six times in the passing game and caught four balls for 32 yards with a long of 10. On one play, however, Brown appeared to run the wrong route as he and Gradkowski had a little talk afterwards. On special teams, Brown was on the field for seven different instances but did not record a tackle or any return yardage.

Vince Williams – Williams saw a little action as a second team inside linebacker after Sylvester exited the game and he wound up playing 28 snaps in total. The Florida State product registered three solo tackles and a sack and played well moving downhill. I don\’t think, however, he has answered the questions about his ability to cover just yet, but it does appear as though he\’s ahead of both Kion Wilson and Brian Rolle on the depth chart. He should receive a lot of playing time against the Redskins.

Nick Williams – Like Bell, Williams was forced to sit the Saturday night game out with a knee problem of sorts. It is unclear if he will return to practice this week.

  • SteelersDepot

    It’s been so long since Terry Hawthorne worked, I forgot about him.

  • Marcus

    I thought it was a good showing for the rookie draft class. I think you have to be happy with all the young talent at linebacker.

    If Foote or Timmons gets injured, who is the first man up in the middle? Is it Sly?

  • SteelersDepot

    You would think so right now, if he can stay healthy.

  • dgh57

    L. Jones will forever be reminded of what his 1st NFL snap was like. 🙂

    The LBs looked good. It will be hard to decide who to cut if they keep playing like they did vs the Giants.

  • dennisdoubleday

    The Hawthorne situation is getting serious. Unless the Steelers are willing to keep him without him actually showing anything, they wasted a 5th round pick. And this is not hindsight–they knew going in that he needed knee surgery, but perhaps not how serious the problem was.

  • Weiss Chad

    I thought we had an issue w depth at ilb.Now it kinda seems like we are stacked.I thought the same w d line.Imo it seems like j.jones has one move and thats running around tackles.Imo both wheaton and brown show potential at wr.Worried about tight end and o line depth.Howling,arnfelt,woods,golden,all ilb,and sanders was nice to see.I wouldnt mind seeing ta amu at nt w mclendon and woods at dt.

  • Hutch

    Great review. Thanks a lot.

  • Jack Gardner

    With Sean Spence still fighting to get back, and the other buckup ILB playing well, I wonder If Spence will have to fight to stay on the roster next season!

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    While its exciting to see our inside linebackers make contributions in the game we don’t know yet if they truly are ready to be called when need to be, i’d like to see McFadden, Vince Williams, and Brian Rolle get enough snaps with first team in next 3 games. We already know what we are getting out of Timmons and Foote. No reason for a freak injury to either one of them.

  • cencalsteeler

    One thing that worries me about Jarvis. His pass rush seems to be one dimensional and his quickness might be a weakness. It seems he always takes an outside approach. I’m afraid tackles can just push him out of the play by using his momentum against him. Tackles are quicker in the NFL. I know I might be premature in my assumption, but I hope he learns some good inside techniques to make him a more well rounded player.
    All in all, very satisfied with the rookie class.

  • steeltown

    Do you know how many snaps Chris Carter received?? I know he came in after Worilds was pulled.. but I haven’t heard much on him and I don’t recall seeing much of him… and he has nothing on the stat lines

  • steeltown

    Wait I found it.. 23snaps on Defense and 11 on special teams

  • steeltown

    Overall I think they all played well for their first time out… Landry Jones obviously needs more work honing his skills, as does Jarvis Jones

  • dgh57

    Jarvis needs time to adjust to the Pro game and the more reps he gets the faster he’ll learn his craft. He has good coaching to learn from and will get stronger as well. I remember Timmons gave us all concerns and now look at him. Patience will be needed with Jarvis as it was Timmons.

  • JohnnyV1

    CB Hawthorne and DE Williams better get on the field, and quick.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    No chance for this kid to make the 53. Stash him on IR and see what he has next year. I think he can have a few practices in October, but I won’t expect him to be able to contribute anything this year.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Can you say run and shoot with no TE?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I 100% agree that we do not need to over work either Foote or Timmons but they still need to get into the continuity of the game so they have to have at least limited reps in a game like scenario

  • dennisdoubleday

    This goes against everything that has been said about Jones not having a long lead time to starting because he was an actual 3-4 OLB in college and so doesn’t have as much to learn as a converted DE.

  • Everything Steelers

    It might have been just me…but Jones looked small then how we are used to seeing linebackers…with Woodley, Harrison and Worilds…there is some girth to them…just bigness..Jones seemed tiny to me and as others said, all he did was get pushed around…and most of the time it was against 2 teamers…It just seemed like when he starts against 350lb Left tackles…they will just manhandle him…
    he ran up the field, the tackle used one arm and pushed him up the field and that was it…

  • steeltown

    IR unless he returns soon, then most likely PS

  • dgh57

    Yes, Jarvis has experience as a 3-4 OLB coming out of College and that’s helpful as he probably has the basics down but as Jarvis said himself the Steelers system is far more complex and the speed of the NFL game is greater, therefore there will still be some adjustments just as I said. He also said he didn’t drop into pass coverage much so more adjustments there also.

  • At the risk of saying something REALLY stupid, it’s a shame that one or more of our inside LBs can’t make the switch to outside LBs–like Garvin, Rolle, or Kion Wilson. All three have coverage skills and Rolle and Wilson both seem able to rush.

  • The tape on Jones at Georgia showed these very characteristics–a one-technique rush that often depended on coverage or other rushers to flush the QB in order for him to add to his sacks. He seems talented and like a great guy, but there were better rushers/linebackers in this draft. Khaseem Greene from Rutgers for example (round 4 by Chicago…taken after we took L. Jones). Compare their YouTube tapes. Jones badly needs the weight room and Kevin Butler’s coaching to reach his potential.

  • Rob

    Living here in the stench of Cowboy country I have yet to see anything on Golic Jr. Did he even sniff the field?

  • steeltown

    Apparently not on Offense.. I had the same question.. I do think he was in on special teams though, maybe blocking in line for a kick

  • Rob


  • Matthew Marczi

    A fifth round pick spending a year on the practice squad is a waste? He practiced today, by the way.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Interesting point, although this could also be the last year for Larry Foote, don’t forget (among others; all of those guys except for Vince Williams are on one year deals).

  • Gautama Om

    I’m still with the “wait and see” approach as far as Jones is concerned. Not saying he’s a bust but not saying he’s going to be great either. Bell will be at the least very good possibly Probowl with that heigh/hands of his. In time, Wheaton will be better than AB, Sanders and Wallace . Shamarko will be very good if he can grasp the defense which will happen in time. The combo of Justin Brown, AB, and Wheaton in 2014 will be even better than this year’s (projected with JB and Wheaton with a year under their belt).

  • dennisdoubleday

    Glad to hear that. I didn’t say it would be a waste if they kept him on the PS, I said it would be a waste if they weren’t willing to keep him without him showing anything.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Ah, I see. Yeah, I can’t imagine that they would have just given up on him outright even if he wasn’t able to practice at all. The highest draft pick that I can recall in recent times that they gave up on was Keith Williams in the 6th round.

  • Jack Gardner

    very true! Foote is close to the end and Sly needs to keep proving himself to stay on the roster! I think we break camp with 2 or 3 linebacker on PQ!

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I’m definitely looking hard at Brian Rolle. Kevin Colbert was high on him, grabbed him off the waiver from Eagles quickly. Where McFadden seen to be much more versatile inside linebacker, Rolle has the ability to play all position as a read and react linebacker, something we need for our depth and when our D-linemen all are pass-rushing.

    I would say at least two of those will make the 53-men roster: Vince Williams, McFadden, Brian Rolle, or Kion Wilson. I don’t see Terrence Garvin making it despite his athleticism (he’s much more alike to Sean Spence than any of our linebackers) Kion Wilson is your “classic MACK” LB and Vince Williams is our “future BUCK” LB, so its became harder to keep those players on roster especially when we likely will keep Sylvester Stevenson due to his special team contributions.

    My goodness we really need those developmental players to make some contribution to special team in order for us to let Stevenson go, no longer want players on our roster that only can contribute on special team with exception of kicker and punter.