Four Positions Where A Steelers Top Draft Pick Could See Considerable Playing Time In 2014

Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to get considerable playing time out of their top two draft picks as linebacker Jarvis Jones played 646 defensive snaps while running back Le’Veon Bell played 691. With the 2014 NFL Draft now right around the corner, lets have a look at where top draft picks could potentially see serious playing time this season.

Wide Receiver – The Steelers are set with Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore as their top three wide receivers, but there is room for a top draft pick to see considerable playing time right away inside the red zone. As I noted last week, this is a real area of concern right now for the Steelers and I could see a rookie coming in and catching 25-30 passes in 2014.

Tight EndHeath Miller isn’t getting any younger and could use some snaps off during the second half of the season to hopefully have him fresh for the playoffs. Matt Spaeth is mainly blocking tight end, so a pass catching tight end could certainly contribute around 200 snaps or so.

Tackle – While it’s unlikely to happen, if the Steelers were to land one of the top three tackles in the first round, that player could instantly push for a starting job.

Inside LinebackerVince Williams appears set to start the season alongside Lawrence Timmons, but he has yet to show that he can stay on the field for all three downs. A rookie inside linebacker such as C.J. Mosley or Ryan Shazier might be able to carve out a third-down nickel role very quickly if needed.

  • Geoff Cordner

    And if the steelers draft a punter? (oops nevermind. just remembered top draft pick in the subject of post…)

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I might be missing something but wouldn’t Rashede Hageman or Stephon Tuitt see considerable time at DE/DT?

    I know we like to bring along our defensive players slowly whenever possible but I think those two “elite” prospects would very quickly be an upgrade to anything we have right now?

  • Steelers12328882

    I’d also add CB too especially if he has return ability.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    CB especially, because although he may just help put in Quarters package at first, he could end up getting in much more often later in the season.

    They will not draft ILB, as Vince is good enough for now and could be improved, and besides, they are using their standard D much, much less.

  • Callentown

    Couldn’t agree more Spangled. If the team drafts a DE, that player will see time in their rookie season. In fact, the goal would be to get that player on the field as soon as possible.

  • srdan

    good point. I’m just not sure that the transition is quick for a 3/4 end. It may be hard for them to contribute right away.

  • SteelersDepot

    when is the last time a defensive lineman saw 225 snaps? I doubt Tuitt or Hageman would see the field much if Keisel returns.

  • SteelersDepot

    CB? really? See the field a lot as a rookie? Surely you are joking.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yes, it’s possible. Think about last year and how Shark was coming along, playing here and there, and on ST. He may have had increased snaps by the end of the year if it was not for his setback with that injury. Now, Dave, I’m not saying a full time roll for the new guy barring injuries to the starters, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities that he plays quite a bit, provided he meets LeBeau’s standards. You know, like make every tackle and don’t let anyone get behind you..

    So a CB getting several hundred snaps by year’s end? Not likely, but possible if he is amazing.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    On the WR point, I could also see a top-shelf rookie taking Moore’s spot on the depth chart at #3. Why not? After all, Moore is just as new to this offense as a draft pick is going to be, and a rookie with a more dynamic skill set could usurp the veteran.

  • Jollyrob68

    Tuitt already played as a 3/4 end in college.

  • Jollyrob68

    I think Dennard would. How much time did Cortez see as a Rookie? What I remember about Cortez as a rookie was he made plays.

  • srdan

    15 snaps a game

  • srdan

    i like him a lot

  • Ike Evans

    Sound like me scoffing at a rookie starting at ILB last year….shit happens lol

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Times are changing. Last off season either you or David (I can’t remember which) was pretty adimate amount Jarvis Jones not seeing very many snaps his rookie year (because the Steelers never did that with rookie LB’s) and look what happened. Not only did Jarvis start but Williams (a 6th rounder) saw considerable snaps as well.

    Jarvis was given the starting job fairly quickly. And had he been the “real deal” that many thought he was and performed to a quality level, I believe he would’ve started the entire year.

    I think the same opportunity would apply to Tuitt. Although I think Tuitt would perform better due to his size, strength, and relatively non-complictated assignments.

  • Yiz

    Although Tuitt played a 3-4 D-end at Notre Dame, you must keep in mind that his assignments were different than those he would play in the Steelers scheme. Jon Mitchell says it every year, all D-Lineman that come to the Black & Gold are stripped down and taught how to play the position the way Dick LeBeau’s scheme requires it. I guarantee Notre Dame’s D-ends don’t play like the Steelers. LeBeau’s alma mater (Ohio State), who run a similar scheme to ours, don’t play like us (which is why Cam took a couple years). Tuitt lead Notre Dame in sacks the past two years, he wouldn’t be doing that with the Steelers. I like him and hope we can get him but at the sametime his playing time will be dictated by how well he can digest the D.

  • Weiss Chad

    Dennard dennard dennard..they will regret not taking him .i don’t care of you think he fits system or not.Teach it to him ..No fly zone is best cb to come out since reevis if not from.Kids gonna be a hog.18 passes allowed on 118 attempts for 108 yes All season….

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Tell me how our 3-4 scheme is so different from Notre Dame’s 3-4 scheme that Tuitt’s skills wouldn’t apply?
    Give me a couple of specifics?

    I’m not being rude. I’m serious. Tell me what’s so different.

  • Yiz

    I’m not going to act like I know the ends & out of ND def & im not saying his skills won’t apply. I’m basing everything on what I heard the Steelers D-line coach (Jon Mitchell) talk about when discussing the Steelers def&what they do with all incoming rookie lineman (regardless of what scheme they played in college). He said they literally strip them of everything they did in college&teach them the Steelers way of playing in their 3-4 (everything has to do with technique & holding up the point of attack). Whereas, Tuitt pressured the pocket & led his team in sacks @ ND. That doesn’t happen in the Steeler D. The majority of college players aren’t technique sound, they rely on their natural ability. When they play for us, they take time to develop cause they’re focused on technique the 1st/2nd yr, when they get the techinque down, then they play with their natural ability (hence Cam). That’s why I initially stated that it all depends on how quickly Tuitt can process our D & get adjusted to the speed of the NFL game. A lot of people tend to think cause he played in a 3-4 in college he’ll be able to come in and start. However, fact is, there’s only been one d-lineman in the past 14yrs who started games their rookie year & that was Casey Hampton.

  • Steelers12328882

    I’m pretty sure a few CBs around the leage from last years draft received substantial amounts of playing time. It can happen.

  • Matt Manzo

    Do we know what other teams are targeting WRs and CBs? I know the Panthers are.