The best part about the 2014 NFL Draft being over is that we don’t have long to wait before the grades come out. This is by far the highlight of my year as it is important for me to know what people think about the players the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted being as they don’t even follow the team on a day-by-day basis.
With my sarcasm now out of the way, below is the analysis and grades given to the Steelers draft class by a few major media heads.
|Sports Illustrated||Chris Burke||B||The first two rounds went down in typical Pittsburgh fashion: athletic LB Ryan Shazier in Round 1 and versatile DL Stephon Tuitt in Round 2. As with the rival Ravens, the Steelers focused right away on getting tougher up the middle — a later pick of LB Jordan Zumwalt fell right in line with that approach. Then, an interesting shift landed human torch Dri Archer and 6-4 WR Martavis Bryant. The defensive line and linebacking corps improved, and a couple of much-needed additions were made at receiver. That’s all well and good, except the Steelers barely touched their offensive line (OT Wesley Johnson in Round 5) or secondary (CB Shaq Richardson, also in Round 5).|
|ESPN||Mel Kiper Jr.||A-||Even though the Steelers could have done more at cornerback, it was hard to pass on players they took where they did, and it adds up to one of the best 2014 draft classes. Ryan Shazier may not have looked like an obvious fit, but this is very good linebacker with special athleticism coming into Dick LeBeau’s system. When you get a player who can play right away for LeBeau where he will, I like the pick. Stephon Tuitt, if he’s at his 2012 level, he can be a stud. I really thought he could end up late in Round 1. The Steelers needed to add D-line help, and Tuitt is a great addition. He fits what they do in terms of his physical profile, and has the ability to disrupt. Dri Archer is just pure explosiveness — limit the reps, but expect some highlights. We’re talking 4.26 speed. Martavis Bryant is an exceptional athlete, with 4.4 speed and great length. They’ve nailed the mid-round WR picks before. Shaq Richardson helps at CB, and Wesley Johnson gives them a versatile offensive line option. Daniel McCullers is one to watch, because he’s simply massive, but doesn’t do enough with his size. Did they do enough at cornerback? Maybe not. But they got everything else right.|
|CBS Sports||Rob Rang||B+||Given that head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert traveled the country touring Pro Day workouts during the off-season, it was clear that Pittsburgh realized that this was a critical draft for the rejuvenation of an aging franchise. I believe their dedication paid off with one of the year’s better draft classes – at least on paper. Linebacker Ryan Shazier, versatile weapon Dri Archer and wideout Martavis Bryant offer pure explosiveness. Defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Daniel McCullers have first round traits, as well. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was born to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, bringing a physical nature that will endear him to coaches and fans, alike. There is a lot to like about the Steelers’ selections but with a few of these players struggling to play up to expectations throughout their career, there is some boom or bust factor here that must be acknowledged, as well. Grade: B+|
|CBS Sports||Pete Prisco||B||I loved the pick of linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first for the speed he will bring. Fourth-round receiver Martavis Bryant is bigger receiver, which the Steelers need.|
|Yahoo||Eric Edholm||B||The Steelers needed to get far more athletic, and they did that with Shazier, Tuitt, archer and Bryant – all of whom are very good athletes for their respective positions.
A very solid class for the most part that addressed clear and present needs.