Categorized | 2013 Draft, Article

Post-Season Analysis Of The 2013 Steelers Draft Picks


By Jeremy Hritz

The season is over, and it’s time to reflect on the performance of individual Steelers and their contributions to the team in 2013. Below is an analysis of the performance of the 2013 Steelers draft picks, in addition to a forecast of what type of contribution they can make in their second year.

1. Jarvis Jones, OLB (24 years old)

Combined Total Assists Sack FF FR PD INT
40 30 10 1 0 0 4 0

Jones had especially big shoes to fill, being expected to take over for the revered James Harrison at right outside linebacker, and while he didn’t tally an inordinate number of sacks, he did gain valuable experience in his eight starts that should benefit him moving forward into next season. By the end of the year, Jones had achieved an understanding of his role in Dick LeBeau’s defense, yet his lack of strength and his dearth of pass-rushing moves caused him to disappear in games. Optimistically, Jones has the right attitude in his approach to improving, and he is honest in his self-assessment, acknowledging his areas of improvement. While having a positive attitude and a willingness to do the work is half of the battle, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate into increased production on the field, and there is reason for a shred of concern about his ability to be a major player on the Steelers defense. While every player is different, and mastering the Steelers defense is a challenging task, consider the following rookie season sack totals for these elite outside linebackers: DeMarcus Ware (8), Terrell Suggs (12), Clay Matthews (10), and Von Miller (11.5). Even Jason Worilds recorded two sacks in his rookie season despite not having any starts. While it is too early to condemn the selection of Jarvis Jones, he has a steep climb to live up to his first round billing in 2014 and hit a double-digit sack total or he could be on his way to being a legitimate bust.

2. Le’Veon Bell, RB (21 years old)

Carries Yards TDs Average Receptions Yards Rec. TDs Average
244 860 8 3.5 45 399 0 8.9

Bell was easily the best pick of the 2013 Steelers draft, and it looks that he will be a fixture in the offense for many years to come. Had Bell played in the first three games of the season based on his production in the games he played, he would have rushed for 1058 yards and would have recorded 55 receptions for 491 yards, possibly putting him in contention with Eddie Lacy and Keenan Allen for NFL Rookie of the Year Honors. Factor in that Bell was running behind an offensive line marked by confusion and inconsistency early in the season, and it is easy to see why his arrow is pointed way up. While he may never provide for an explosive running game, his workmanlike approach and guaranteed three yards a carry make him the perfect fit in Pittsburgh where power backs are entrenched in the team’s culture. Barring injury, Bell will eclipse his numbers from his rookie season and will play an even bigger role in the offense. It took several years, but there is finally a true replacement for Jerome Bettis.

3. Markus Wheaton, WR (22 years old)

Receptions Yards TDs Average KO Returns Yards Long
6 64 0 10.7 2 37 25

It’s hard to draw a definitive conclusion on Wheaton due to the fact that it was difficult for him to get on the field ahead of Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, not to mention his first finger injury that caused him to miss several games. There were only two games this season in which Wheaton made receptions: against Minnesota and Detroit. Yet outside of that underwhelming production, he was quiet in 2013. With Sanders already searching real estate websites, Wheaton’s role in the offense will expand, and he will be expected to elevate his play to compensate for the departure. It is difficult and almost irresponsible to make any judgments on what he can contribute based on his limited work in 2013. Regardless, while Wheaton flashed in the preseason, those sparks were not carried over when it counted.

4. Shamarko Thomas, SS (22 years old)

Combined Total Assists Sack FF FR PD INT
29 22 7 0 0 0 0 0

Thomas is a hitter, no question, and there were a few moments when this was evident during the season. However, like Wheaton, Thomas was not expected to be a major contributor to the defense, though next year, depending on what happens with Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, he more than likely will assume a starting role. Thomas got a vote of confidence from Ike Taylor in December when he said that "By the time the end of next season comes, I'm going to say I told you so…. Once Shamarko gets an opportunity to start, ya'll going to see why we call him 'Headache' as a nickname. He's a young explosive guy that can run and hit.” Don’t get too excited though, because during training camp, Taylor lavished Wheaton with praise as well, saying that he “looks like a veteran.” While Thomas got some work in sub-packages this year, it’s not enough to cast judgment on what he can bring to the team next season.

5. Landry Jones, QB (24 years old)

While many Pittsburgh beat writers are quick to cast aside Jones as a viable backup quarterback, I am willing to give this pick some time before giving up on him. Jones didn’t have a great preseason performance and looked lost, awkward, and sloppy, it will be interesting to see what he can do having a full season of experience of learning the offense at his disposal come next training camp. The Steelers are in no hurry with Jones, and they have the luxury of bringing him along slowly, and maybe, just maybe, five years down the road, he may prove to be a makeshift as the Steelers search for their next franchise quarterback. Regardless, Jones did what he was expected to do this season: be a camp body and soak up the offense.

6a. Justin Brown, WR (22 years old)

Brown had a good preseason, and he nearly made the roster had it not been for the play of Derek Moye. Brown was just resigned to a futures contract and more than likely will be nothing more than a camp body come July. Unless he has an amazing training camp, 2014 will be a repeat of his rookie season.

6b. Vince Williams, ILB (24 years old)

Combined Total Assists Sack FF FR PD INT
53 40 13 0 0 0 0 0

The rookie season of Vince Williams can be interpreted two different ways: 1) the Steelers should be satisfied that he was able to contribute as much as he did as a sixth round pick, and he has room for growth, or 2) Williams is a downhill backer that is a liability in coverage and nothing more than a two-down player. I subscribe to the former, as rookie defenders getting on the field for the Steelers is a rarity, and Williams, upon being thrown into the fire, wasn’t exactly horrible, though he wasn’t amazing either. Williams brings a high-level of enthusiasm to the defense that is an intangible that can be an asset for the team. His development will be another area to monitor closely during this offseason to see if he can improve in his pass coverage for 2014, and I believe that he needs to be given a chance before writing off his future role of as a Steeler as a career backup. By the way, it took Larry Foote until his third year with the Steelers before he became a quality starter with the team. Just saying.

7. Nick Williams, DT (23 years old)

The other Williams was drafted as a project in the seventh round and wasn’t expected to contribute in 2013. He suffered a subluxation of his left knee cap which ended his season early, and outside of a sack late in the preseason game against the Redskins, there wasn’t enough of a body of work to forecast what Williams can provide to the team. If Williams wants to stay a Steeler, he must stay healthy this offseason and through the preseason.

Overall, the Steelers got production from several players in 2013, yet it is entirely too early to condemn or sanctify any of the aforementioned picks. Each player will progress at a different rate, and unfortunately, injuries, as they played a part this season, could stifle growth in 2014. But just keep in mind the progression of Kelvin Beachum and Jason Worilds this year, one player that blossomed in his second year, and one player that blossomed in his fourth year. While output is needed next year in order for the Steelers to make strides, each player is different, and their impact on the team is difficult to predict.

Of the 2013 Steelers draft picks, who do you see as taking the biggest steps in their second year?

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  • Brian Tollini

    I loved the Shamarko Thomas pick in this draft and I believe he will eventually be considered a steal. Bell impressed me, Jarvis did not, but I think Jarvis will be a solid OLB if he can add some more strength. Wasn’t a fan of the Landry Jones pick during the draft and I still feel the same way-thought there were better QB’s available at that pick. Vince Williams is one to watch. One pick I hated was Justin Brown, but I must say he surprised me in preseason-still probably not ready to contribute though.

  • JT

    There is a player missing who was so disappointing you forgot to include him on your list: Terry Hawthorne. That pick hurts. The 5th is still pretty early for such a swing and a miss, and the Steelers really could have used another body at CB. How did things go so wrong that he never got a shot anywhere?

  • Ken

    I think this was clearly a better draft than we have in a good while. If you think about all of these players making a big step in their second year, it really looks good. Jarvis doesnt have the bulk needed but he has explosiveness to compensate, he is going to be a real good player. Like Brian I agree the Landry Jones pick was the worst. No question at all he would have been available 2 rounds later. I would give Vince Williams more credit here, again playing as rookie linebacker in that system he did awesome.

  • Brian Tollini

    Great point. I actually forgot about him too. When he was drafted I have to admit I knew nothing about him even though this is a position that I usually follow the closest in the draft. After the draft, so many people seemed to have high praise for him.

  • BurgherinMD

    I believe J. Jones will be fine. While I am not sure he will be an eventual All Pro, once he adds a little bulk and more strength he will continue to progress. However, if they lose patience with him too soon and throw another high draft pick at OLB when there are other needs there, I believe, is where his subpar play would end up hurting the most. Jones needs to step it up big in his sophomore season, because if Worilds is not retained then the Steelers are looking at Woodley/Jones which after 1 1/2 games will likely be undrafted free agent/Jones. Bell, what is not to like? He is no burner but they knew that going in; absolutely love his drive, ability to hold onto the ball both in the passing game and while running. Some of us have disagreed on Wheaton and his role for next year. He has all of the tools, but with Bell’s skills as a pass catcher and as along as H. Miller is here the days of four wr sets are over. Therefore he must (if Cotchery is resigned…fingers crossed) win the no. 2 or 3 job likely competing with a high pick this year as well. Hopefully his knowledge of the offense gives him the edge he will need, but I think his biggest threat is the training room.
    Shamarko can fly that is for sure. Just as Willie Gay did in 2010, he got bested by Rob Gronkowski, but then so many have. I think his speed will be a very very welcome addition to the secondary and love his ability to cover receivers in the slot which gives the back end more options. Landry Jones is the pick that infuriated me. If they had just stood pat, I believe S. Thomas likely falls to them anyway 3 picks later and then DO NOT DRAFT Landry. So, in my mind Landry Jones, or the desire to have him really cost them their 3rd rounder this year. Just another QB putting up huge numbers in a spread offense in the Big 12 where defense is optional. He looked OK for a few moments in the garbage time of the last preseason game against Carolina, but looks to be no more than a Scott Campbell.
    Justin Brown was a late feigned attempt at a big body wr and one who showed flashes, but as mentioned above likely gets cut next year. Vince Williams benefitted by a cascade of injuries putting him on the field where I feel he will add depth and should be given the chance to battle it out with Foote, Spence, whoever next year, but would best serve the Steelers as a back up….at least for now. Nick Williams is added to the list of what seems like a lot of DL and OL that were hurt in preseason that we got excited about….TBD.

  • Rick M

    The NFL Scouting report cited several deficiencies about Hawthorne (poor on out routes, doesn’t open hips properly when back-pedalling, lunges and misses tackles, had a poor Senior Year, etc.). It also says he had an extreme injury in October 2012. Why the Steelers drafted him – given their immediate defensive needs – is beyond me. It’s pretty bad when you draft a 5th rounder and cut him before the first game.

    As for the overall article, I think it’s very well-balanced, congrats. Although I have to admit the phrase “while he (JJ) didn’t tally an inordinate number of sacks”, cracked me up. Ya think!!! Just kidding you – a well-done review.

  • Rick M

    IMO as a fan base, many (not the writer) seem to have come to the point where they praise drafts simply because players step onto the field in their rookie year. They don’t demand good production.

    I can’t remotely suggest the 2013 draft was a good one. Right now, other than Le’Veon, it doesn’t look so good. But we’ll have a much, much better idea after the 2014 season.

  • John

    A key issue here is that aside from Bell and maybe Jones, several of these guys wound up playing far more than they were supposed to play. The Steelers had a plan that last year would be a growth and learning year for them, but they wound up having to play more. How long did it take Troy to figure out how to start and play at a high level? How about Harrison? Remember Joey Porter? It took him three years to transition. Rookies do not just come in and tear it up at major positions on defense for the Steelers. That is likely because positioning and playing your role is critical as opposed to just chasing the ball. Hopefully, the extra experience will help. I thought in pres-season that Wheaton was key to whether the offense could take it to the next level and early one he was and we didn’t. He should be good. So should Shamarko unless everyone is wrong.

  • CrazyTerry

    I would like to know who these predraft scouts(not just from the Steelers) who rated Jarvis not just as a first rounder, butas a top 5 pick. Are you kidding me? We were told the main reason he fell in the draft was his spinal condition. His draft workout numbers were a concern, but we were told he was so ready for the NFL having been in a major SEC 3-4 program that the draft workout numbers mean little in the big pivture. I don’t watch college football that much. Still, how could they be so wrong on this guy? The Browns game does not count as even Chris Carter was made to look good. The Browns offense flat out gave up in that game.
    There is still time for him to justify his status in the NFL. BUt will he ever be worthy of the hype of a “STEAL” at #17 or whenever he was taken? I don’t think so. Hell, I don’t think he will ever justify being taken at #17 let alone be a steal as hyped. He could figure as the worst 1st rounder the Steelers have taken in the Colbert era considering his draft position(Hood was taken at the very end of the round).
    I will be happy if Jarvis turns out to be slightly better than Clark Haggans. That’s how low my expecations of him have become. Are OL guys on the left side that poor in the SEC that his lack of strength remained unexposed in college?
    Oh an let’s stop giving Lebeau and his defensive staff excuses for slow development of rookies. K lewis goes to Saints and learns their system right away and gets more INTs in oneyear than he and Ike combined had the last 2 years with the Steelers.
    Eddie Lacy and Bell will both be good RBs. Wheaton will hopefully get more chances now that Sanders will be gone soon. Vince Williams: I don’t think he should be a starter, but he looks like a very solid backup long term. Happy with his work considering he is a low draft pick.
    Landry Jones : which genius decided to draft this guy? Most of us hated this selection the day it was announced. So no hindsight here.

  • CrazyTerry

    Troy showed flashed his rookie year. Jones problem hasn’t been inconsistency. He has been very consistent – at being mediocre.
    Porter and Harrison were not high draft picks. If they were ready to play sooner, they would have been taken much higher in the draft.
    Shamarko has the right attitude. I cant tell if he will pan out or not. Hopefully, he will. Time to find out. I am glad he got some reps.

  • Rick M

    Good points Terry, but you’ll get the same old feedback that is always given here (i.e. look how long it took Troy to develop, or James, or whomever). It’s the standard excuse-making that so many Steelers fans have come to provide. It’s exhausting; you see a guy (Wheaton) hyped liked crazy in pre-season and do absolutely nothing and then you read comments like ‘he’ll be good’. Based on what exactly, sunshine and lollipops?

    I’m a diehard Steelers fan who gets upset by every loss. But I am so tired of the excuses that are made by fans about draft choices who under-perform. Le’Veon Bell justified his draft status in 2013, as did Vince Williams given he was a 6th round pick. The others didn’t. So far it’s a below average draft (similar to the last 5 or 6). But you would never guess that by some of the comments you read.

  • Dutchess Hershberger

    JARVIS JONES IS AN INSIDE BACKER PLAIN AND SIMPLE THE SOONER THEY PUT HIM IN FOOTES OLD SPOT THE BETTER THEY AND HE WILL BE

  • JT

    Take a deep breath, and relax. I don’t think we should be running him and Colbert out of town just yet.

    His lack of strength wasn’t unexposed in college. It was a known fact he’d have growing to do in an NFL defense. The Steelers didn’t necessarily draft him to be a pure pass rusher. What they, and other teams saw, was a play maker. Leading the nation in sacks, TFL, and FF is impressive. Add his 4 batted passes and you have a guy with a nose for the football. I don’t think the Steelers honestly expected him to come in and have 10 plus sacks year one. But he is finding his was around the ball. And you can’t throw Cleveland out the window when you consider he was going against All-Pro Joe Thomas. The guy grew throughout the year, you have to give him that credit.

  • JT

    But it’s old feedback because we KNEW it would happen. We knew need he needed reps and to bulk up. Whether fans like it or not, the Steelers take longer to develop players than most teams in the league. But when it happens every year, you can throw that on each new draft class. It’s an organizational fault.

  • Rick M

    In a 3-4 defence your OLBs have to be good pass rushers. That’s the whole point of going to a 3-4.

  • JT

    I didn’t say he wasn’t good. But that there’s more to his game. We know Lebeau can develop players, even duds like Worlids. So he can put on weight and be taught better moves. But you can’t teach his explosiveness and instincts.

  • CrazyTerry

    So was he told to bulk up last offseason. This offseason isn’t any longer than the last one. What is he going to do to bulk up significantly that he couldn’t do last offseason.
    What I am curious is while the average OL in college is weaker than the typical NFL OL, there had to be 2 or 3 games where he went against some near NFL quality OLs. How did he do strength wise and pass rush wise in those games? I am not saying he is a total bust. I just do not see him justifying that mid first round selection. And if you are touted as a top 5 pick, you shouldn’t be that deficient in the strength area either. Those are for later picks who are picked on skills but need to develop strength or something.

  • Rick M

    I’m going to stop after this one, because I’ve vented and said my piece. I think JJ still has the potential to be a good one. It’s way too early to suggest he’s a dud draft choice.

    It’s the comments most especially about Thomas and Wheaton that get me. They show virtually nothing in their rookie years, and still some fans make declarative statements like ‘they’ll be good ones’ and ‘oh what a good draft class this was’. It’s as if our standards as fans have been conditioned to be so low, that stepping on the field a few times is enough for us.

    Saluting Bell for downright good play, or Jones and Williams for playing a number of snaps is perfectly fine. But once you start praising Thomas and Wheaton, I’m sorry but get real.

  • Brian Tollini

    Also, look at Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan. Both taken in the top 10 of the draft and they didn’t exactly set the world on fire. You can’t exactly say this pick is a miss after one year. I expected to see more from Jones in his rookie year, but he showed flashes as a playmaker and should continue to get better. One question for you CrazyTerry, what were your honest thoughts of Cameron Heyward after his rookie year and your thoughts now?

  • JT

    I think you can say Shamarko will contribute, because he’s at least shown to be a solid gunner. Good ST play got Curtis Brown a longer career than he deserved. But you’re right, he’s still not shown himself to be Bob Sanders reincarnated.

    The reality is this is a pointless analysis for the most part until two years from now, lol.

  • JT

    Am I wrong, or do players still get booted from team facilities once they declare? That could contribute. Plus he already ran a slow 40, and probably didn’t want to put on much more weight. Regardless, NFL strength and conditioning is a different world. Look the tops OTs this year, they played below the line for their draft position as well. So yeah, there may be truth to the fact that college OTs are becoming weaker.

  • RyanW

    Seriously JT go take a deep breath. This year he has a full offseason to develop and gain strength the coaches put together a strength and conditioning program for him to follow. He was rated so highly cause he was arguably the best pass rushing olb in college he finished his senior year with something like 14 sacks. Hes going to get stronger and hes going to learn more techniques. Some players don’t show much there rookie season and still come out and dominate the next.

  • JT

    For some perspective, the stats of some other notable 3-4 OLBs drafted in 2013. I think they’re comparable at least, could be wrong on some schemes.

    1.3 Dion Jordan- 26 TK (17 S, 9 A). 2 SAC, 2 PD
    1.6 Barkevious Mingo- 42 TK (29 S, 13 A), 5 SAC, 3 PD
    1.24 Bjoern Werner- 18 TK (14 S, 4 A), 2.5 SAC, 3 PD
    2.52 Jamie Collins – 43 TK (24 S, 19 A), 0 SAC, 3 PD
    4.103 Alex Okafor – IR
    4.124 Trevardo Williams – IR
    4.129 John SImon – 4 TK (4 S)

    Now, this says absolutely nothing about Jarivs and his future as a pro. It does say this was a weak year one for 3-4 OLBs, though.

  • David Edward

    Ok, here’s my unbiased, rational evaluation of what a I saw from the rookie class this year:
    1. J.Jones – Unfortunately, he met my expectations this year. That was because I was concerned his lack of strength, speed, and athleticism for the position would be exposed at the NFL level. Nor did I see him being particularly stout at keeping containment outside (which we saw happen). The first question a savvy reporter should ask Colbert is what he saw in Jones that made him one of the few “special” players in the draft. All that being said, I do root for Jones to improve significantly (and I think he will). He seems to have the right attitude, and while I don’t think he’ll become one of the great Steeler OLBs, I think he’ll be a better version of Donta Jones(remember him?).
    2. L.Bell – He was Tomlin’s hand-picked choice from the beginning of the draft process. Easily the rookie of the year, Bell justified the choice. While he won’t be a breakaway speed guy like Fast Willie or a bowling ball like the Bus, he reminds me somewhat of another Steeler great…Franco Harris. Doubt he’ll be the HOFer that Franco was, but I think he’ll be the versatile all purpose back they craved. He’ll be a bargain for the 4 years of his rookie contract, but in’17, it will be interesting to see what they do.
    3. M. Wheaton – I thought he was a decent pick at the time and still think he’s capable, but his rookie year made me think of another 3rd round WR…Sanders. He struggled with injuries as a rookie too and never really blossomed into a true#2. I hope that’s not the case, but in the final game I saw Moye on the field as a WR more than Wheaton. As it stands right now, Wheaton looks a longshot to be the #2 next year. If the are successful in signing Cotchery and if they draft a WR early, Wheaton could be #4 again.

    (See my post below for the rest of the picks)

  • Patrick Reid

    Injuries led to not enough reps, and in the numbers game he got cut. That said, I would have loved to have seen him contribute on S/T. Great raw talent, size and skill set. I think he could have been a solid CB.

  • Patrick Reid

    I’m not ready to give up on Jarvis. That said, I wouldn’t mind drafting Attaochu from GT or Lawrence mid round for competition and or depth.

  • Robert Alaniz

    How is somebody that is determined to be( even by his own admission) not strong enough yet, better at moving inside and even have more huge lineman coming at him and more and more violent hits being administered?

    Lets not forget about peoples long term stenosis fears. He is an outside linebacker and will be fine. If he just adds 10 more pounds he will already be 255-256. Do we really want another 260-270lb outside linebacker?

    You dont take a first round pick who normally doesnt sniff the field in this defense the first year and blow up the whole plan after the first year. That sounds like a Cleveland Browns move to be honest.

  • Robert Alaniz

    and please, please stop with your expert opinions about his forty times. He plays the majority of the time in the 10 to 25 yard range and is explosive off the snap.

    He is not a DB and meant to be chasing people all the way down the field. His role is to force people inside for our lineman and ILB’s to clean up and get after the QB.

  • Rubem Dornas

    Based on what the rookie players have done in 2013, I think Vince Williams was a good surprise. It is not easy to be a starting inside linebacker to the most victorious team in the league, mainly for a young guy like him and in a so difficult defense to learn. If I am not wrong, he started in depth chart behind Kion Wilson, much more experienced than him, not to mention Sly… give the kid some time and training and I think he can be really useful, at least, to us!

  • David Edward

    4a. S. Thomas – Heading into the draft, Shamarko was I guy who I thought would be a good fit and he was my favorite pick. Early on, he saw plenty of action in the secondary a got valuable experience that a rookie needs. Unfortunately, he was injured and they brought Allen back and his PT was almost nonexistent on D (he was a regular on STs though). Some fans are assuming he’ll be the FS in ’14, but I’m not sure…he really didn’t play there much at all and I think is more of a SS. I see him as Troy’s future replacement, and he reminds me of Bob Sanders (hope he’s not oft injured like him though). It will be very interesting to see what moves they make in the offseason and if they line Thomas up at FS or SS in OTAs.
    4b. L. Jones – The problem here is that they could’ve used they pick for a position that would actually see PT (particularly help on D). LB Kasheem Greene was still available, and he was a guy they brought in. With Tomlin and Ben being stubborn and never letting the backup get any PT, one could argue the Steelers don’t need to carry 3 QBs.
    5. T. Hawthorne – He has to be the most disappointing of all picks because he didn’t even make the PS. Considering secondary is a weakness right now, it would’ve been nice to at least have a young CB in the development pipeline. With the upcoming draft, they can’t miss on a CB pick again, and I think they need to infuse a 1st or 2nd round talent.
    6a. J. Brown – I thought he was a guy they could’ve had in the 7th or as a UDFA. He managed to stick on the PS all year and he has a shot to compete for the #5 spot next year. If they draft a big WR, though, his odds are slim barring injury.
    6b. V.Williams – Don’t be shocked if he turns out to be another one of the Steelers late round steals. Even though he made his share of rookie mistakes, I like what I saw from him and he progressed nicely. Many fans think they need another every-down ILB to play alongside Timmons, but that is not true. With all the sub packages, Williams can be the starter in the 34 base and hybrid types like Garvin/Spence can play the cover LB.
    7. N.Williams – He was a guy I had earmarked for them as 7th rounder because he fit the mold of a Steeler 34DE. Shame he missed the entire season, because there’s potentially an open DE spot needed to be filled in ’14. Williams won’t be that guy but he is like having a rookie come in again with some knowledge of the system. I look for him and Arnfelt to be depth guys in the rotation for ’14.

  • CrazyTerry

    I actually had a good opinion of Heyward. One of my constant criticisms of Lebeau(I still respect his overall career legacy) is how slow he brought along heyward. I thought Heyward deserved more time. He showed some flashes to me. In the interest of full disclosure, I was also optimistic about Hood after his rookie year but I have given up on Hood being anything more than a backup after his lack of progress last year despite strength gains.
    Like I said, I want to see flashes. Learning pains are to be expected. But I haven’t seen anything special from HJarvis.
    AT what point, do we term him as not a bust. If he ends up with a Clark Haggans like decent career, will that be enough for us?

  • CrazyTerry

    Not challenging your point here. What is the gap between the worst NFL linemen Jarvis faced in his 16 games versus the best college lineman he faced in his final year in college. Just curious how what kind of competition he amassed those sacks against.

  • Robert Alaniz

    I agree, people saying a below average draft when your sixth round pick (Williams)comes in with a revamped D-line in front of him and still really starts to perform toward the end of the year.

    He is definitely one to watch as he will only get better.

  • Brian Tollini

    Interesting. I actually did not think very highly of Heyward after his rookie year but I did like the pick initially. Yes, if he has a Clark Haggans-like career, although very solid, I would consider it a bit of a disappointment because of where he was drafted. I still just think it is way too soon to call him a bust.

  • CrazyTerry

    The reason why I wanted heyward to be given more time was he showed some ability to penetrate the line and bat down passes. But Dulac kept reporting he was getting confused about assingments. I think the lack of batted down passes in the last few years was why QBs like Brady get too comfortable with our D. We need better disruption up the middle.

  • WilliamSekinger

    I see a lot of people (not just here, but everywhere on the net) holding on to Jarvis’ spinal stenosis condition as if it is a fact. here’s just food for thought:

    There is quite a bit of conflicting information about Jarvis Jones and spinal stenosis. The reason he was cleared and came back to play in college is because doctors, after examining Jones, claimed he never had the spinal stenosis he was diagnosed with in the first place.

    As for his performance on the field in his rookie year, I’m as disappointed as anyone else he didn’t become a pro bowler in his first year (sarcasm). That said, I look forward to seeing his progression in years 2 and 3.

  • CrazyTerry

    JT, believe me, I sure hope you are correct on this offseason. I will be happy if he can pan out to be more than a Clark Haggans type solid player.

  • Bob Graff

    First J. Jones isn’t that small, but it wasn’t just his strength he would just take a parallel angle on his rushes and get lost in the line he wasn’t very good at defending the pass or run support he has a bunch to work on.Bell was pretty good for a rookie but his ypc has to come up and he had only 1, 100 yard rushing game, Thomas seems like he is a keeper and williams was very solid at LB. Overall we could have done better there were really a bunch of capable players in this years draft.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I actually agree with all your assessments but would like to add one thing to Vince Williams. I do not think it is fair to say he is only a 2 down LB with just one year working on his drop as he didnt even do it in college. Give another year or 2 then I think the jury would be out but I would consider it incomplete at this moment and next preseason should shed some better light.

  • Steve

    Troy rarely got on the field his Rookie year and didn’t start one game, which was a major disappointment after moving up in the draft and giving away 3 picks for the rights to draft Troy…Harrison was undrafted and cut numerous times his 1st few years. It took James 3 years to start for the Steelers.

  • Ike Evans

    Look at the guys who are leading the league in sacks this yr….most of them didnt have productive rookie years…robert mathis, greg hardy, justin houston had 5 sacks but it took him till week 13, cam jordan, junior gallete….i think jj can be at least as good as some of those guys eventually

  • CrazyTerry

    Your sarcasm would mean something if only people were complaining that he did not play at a probowl level.

  • CrazyTerry

    The reason why Steeelrs spent a high pick on Jarvis was because he supposedly was more ready for the NFL’s 3-4. If he gets the same amount of time Harrison did, you might as well be scouring lower picks for potential .

  • Swe De

    I attribute the development of this class as the season progressed as a huge factor in the teams turnaround. I see Jones, Bell, Thomas and Williams as permanent fixtures in the lineup next year, with Jones taking huge strides if for no other reason than the way the defense is designed. I see Wheaton as the best bet to drastically increase playing time and I have great confidence that he will eclipse Manny Sanders’ output, which could be considered “the biggest step.” I also realistically see Nick Williams and Justin Brown getting helmets next season, but only because there will be opportunities, not based on anything we’ve seen regarding their performance potential. Regarding Landry Jones, should he be on the team wen Ben calls it quits, it’s a very realistic possibility he inherits a team stocked with quality veteran leadership and a stout defense as Ben did, and from there why not believe he could win? All in all, for what we’ve seen, This could turn out to be the best Tomlin draft yet (not that it’s saying much…)

  • Nolrog

    But you can’t say it was a bad one either. Judgment of a draft takes at least 3, if not 5 years. I liked the draft; felt they addressed some big needs, but other than that, I can’t say if it was good or not. We’ll know more after next season, sure, but it will be a year or two more before we can fully grade it.

  • Nolrog

    Jarvis Jones doesn’t have anywhere near the speed to play inside. The backs and TEs he would need to cover would always have a step on him.

  • Nolrog

    As an ILB, he would need to cover the TEs and backs that come out. They run much faster than he does, so they could put a step on him quickly.

  • Bob Graff

    I’m going to be real some players are just awesome in college but just aren’t physically suited for the NFL. This seems to be the case with Jarvis not strong ,fast or skilled enough. I mean 1 sack less than 3 tackles a game. Sure give him a chance but they will only do it because he’s a first round pick if he were not he would not be around next year. What would you think about a small, slow , nonproductive LB given tons of playing time if he were drafted in the sixth round??? I know everyone would be saying what are they doing. What’s the difference either he can play or not.

  • Bob Graff

    People have gotten use to these weak drafts. I will say what i have before they aren’t good because they are Steelers they are good because they are are. Right now we are as average as our record.

  • Myster E

    It stinks we missed Keenen Allen by three picks and ended up with Wheaton. Maybe he will blossom in year two.

  • walter mason

    I agree Heyward looked good to me too in his rookie year…He just didnt play enough.

  • Ike Evans

    Your opinion but u dont really know whats going to happen….jason worilds didnt look good to me b4 last yr even then he looked marginal..james harrison got cut a bunch of times….clay matthews didnt even start at usc….guys can get better….improvement is not a impossibility…and i stated several examples of that above

  • joed32

    5th round picks actually seldom turn out to be good. 2012 was Rainey, 2011 was Chris Carter, 2010 was Chris Scott, Crezdon Butler and Sylvester, 2009 was Joe Burnett and Frank Summers, 2008 was Dennis Dixon, 2007 was Cameron Stephenson and William Gay who turned out OK, 2006 was Omar Jacobs and Charles Davis, 2005 was Ryan Wallace, etc. Lots of swings and misses in the 5th and not just the Steelers, every team.

  • Callentown

    Not true CT..

    Troy suffered in both of his first two years before taking command of the position in year THREE. Just sayin..

  • Callentown

    Well, I’m coming in pretty late on this one, but I have to say that the majority of what I’m reading in the comments sounds like people who are frustrated by the overall lack of performance by a team that is regularly in the playoffs.

    We’ve had bad drafts since 2008. No single season draft is going to save that kind of lack of talent. People have retired and the FO has not successfully filled those spots.

    So Jarvis didn’t come right in and impress. How was Ziggy filling A. Smith’s spot? Or McClendon filling Casey’s spot? Or the CB opposite Ike?

    How about an ILB to sub for Foote?

    Please calm down everyone. Give these guys a fair chance.

  • Callentown

    So when we all saw 2nd rd pick Worilds come into his own this season, and when we all saw 1st rd pick Cam Heyward come into his own this season – NOT IN YEAR ONE – does that not show you all something???????

  • Nolrog

    Which drafts would you say were weak? Outside of 2008, which was putrid, the drafts haven’t been all that bad.

  • Bob Graff

    2008 and 2009 both bust 2007 1&2 panned out nothing else 2006 no one on the roster now,2009 no depth in this draft, 2010was our best draft in years , 2012 average talent at best 2012 same 2013 same . This is why we have been hovering around 8-8 for two year we are who we drafted average and below. If it weren’t for Ben where would we be???

  • Bill Molinaro

    Two observations: I’ve often heard comments on various sites by commenters that the main reason for the Steelers below average running attack is the lack of holes by the OL and there is truth in that. But after watching Eddie Lacy recently gain a lot of yards with little or no opening, I don’t know. His body takes quite a beating I guess. Bell was decent but Lacy is better! I also noticed that L. McCoy also makes his own holes but he does it with shiftiness. Not exactly about draft picks but it burns my butt to see Keenan Lewis throw a blanket over DeSean Jackson; and at the small contract he signed. What Genius let that happened? Oh, I know, Mike Tomlin had nothing to do with it.

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