Heath Evans On Steelers 2014 Draft: ‘It’s A C-Plus’

On the Tuesday edition of “NFL Total Access” analysts Solomon Wilcots and Heath Evans finally got around to grading the 2014 drafts of the four AFC North teams and when it came time to grade the Pittsburgh Steelers, Evans didn’t sound over impressed.

“It breaks my heart because I love me some Mike Tomlin and some Dick LeBeau, but it’s a C-plus, because it’s kind of a wait and see,” said Evans. “I mean [Ryan] Shazier, the linebacker from Ohio State, listen, he’s pretty with his shirt off. He’s fast and you can get excited about him, but I think Dick LeBeau is going to have to do a masterful job of putting him in places to make plays. I worry about him being physical enough to be a Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker. We’ll see. This guy has a lot of talent.”

Evans decided to skip over the selection of defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Instead, he moved on and highlighted his concerns abut the Steelers third-round pick, running back Dri Archer.

“Dri Archer, a running back, this guy has 100-plus catches in his college career. 1,200-plus yards. So this is another guy they’re going to try to fit and mold,” said Evans. “You’ve got [LeGarrette] Blount. You got my other guy there, Le’Veon Bell, so he’s going to fit into another niche. So those two picks could be  monstrous picks, but it’s kind of a wait and see for both of those guys with me.”

Sure, it’s a wait and see with every draft pick, but at least in the case of the Steelers first three picks, they’re all likely to contribute heavily during their rookie season. While Archer might not get a ton of snaps on offense in 2014, he will more than likely return kickoffs and punts, so essentially he’s a starter in the eyes of Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. Anything that he provides above and beyond that is gravy.

In the case of Shazier, at least he should be able to stay on the field for all three downs once he completely learns the defense. He was easily the top-rated inside linebacker in this year’s draft class.

It was also inexcusable for Evans not to pay any lip service to Tuitt, in my opinion.

So what kind of grades did the other three AFC teams receive from Evans and Wilcots? The graphic below should answer that question.


  • Matt Manzo

    Freakin Patriots!

  • Bill Sechrengost

    White I do like some of the Ravens picks, I’m not sure that I would rank them that high. especially their lower round picks. Cincinnati would be more likely for the C+. They reached for Will Clarke in round 3 and Jeremy HIll, the RB from LSU has off-field issues with their 2 pick. I actually like Cleveland’s picks a little better in the first couple of rounds (we’ll see about Johnny Football). I think Pittsburgh deserves at least a B+.

  • cp72

    Who gives a $!#/ what Heath Evans thinks.

  • steeltown


  • Kenneth Wilt

    I am not sure how much he actually knows the Steelers. When you read the quote above it sounds like he is sort of pimping Bell, but when you watch it and listen to him, you can tell he couldn’t remember the guys name. Immediately pulled up the free agent name, but the draft pick from last year….can’t remember that one.

  • Paddy

    I don’t even know who Heath Evans is, was he on the Big Valley?

  • Ken

    Every time I Legarrette Blount is mentioned with the Steelers I smile and the Ravens frown. Have fun tackling the boy..

  • Kevin Reavis

    lol, it was linda evans, as audra, and lee majors as heath! loved it. Def more relevant thwn this heath evans myope

  • ApexSteel

    That’s cool I guess…

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Everyone has their opinions…I thought it was the best draft we have had in years. We found really good talent at spots that need depth. Can’t wait for preseason to start to prove me right. 🙂

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Oh no! The Steelers didn’t follow all the so-called “experts” mock drafts, so they must have SERIOUSLY screwed up! After all, who knows better what the Steelers actually need to do better than guy-I’ve-never-heard-of Heath Evans!

  • chris ward

    Meh Heath Evans.

  • James Kling

    Opinions are like ( * ) s.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Outside of Thursday night football, I have no idea why anyone would watch the circus aka the NFL network. I’ve never seen an amassing of the worst on one network. Look at this list.

    1. Warren Sapp (Steeler hater and idiot of the decade, trouble with the law yet still on set)
    2. Darren Sharper (Mr. Harrogant trouble with law, now going to jail for rape)
    3. Michael Irvin (do I need to even mention this, too many to list)
    4. Deion Sanders (started off a mess, got a bit better, still hated my many)
    5. Marshal Faulk (as bias as they come, always hating)
    6. Heath Evans (no cred in NFL but speaks like he does. Loser every where he went. No different here.)

    The SB documentaries are good as well. Can’t remember the last day I looked at the NFL network.

  • AzheDraven

    So the ravens draft one of the top guys with bust potential (seems to me Ozzie wanted really bad an Alabama LB), and some other mediocre picks and get a B+, and Cincy drafted AJ McCarron and get A-?
    Cleveland drafts no WR and buys some injury prone guys and get a B+ too?
    Yet the steelers drafted players they needed and will be starters and get a C-? That’s why I don’t care about anyone’s opinion anymore.

  • Johnny Loose

    Just another day for Steeler fans and Steeler haters alike. Bring on the preseason..

  • Justin B

    These snap judgement grades on drafts are so pointless. Yet, I clicked the link. Why!?

  • steelster

    The steelers will just prove this heath guy wrong.

  • steeltown

    So true

  • Ike Evans

    oh heath evans….idk why i was thinking heath miller…lol i was like daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn he going in on his teamates….screw those clowns on nfl network…nobody on there is worth a watch except deon and them

  • joed32

    Good list, I would add Steve Young and Mariucci. There is one good show on there, “Playbook” with Sterling Sharpe.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Any draft rating exercise done before even the first preseason game is played is pretty pointless. The only possible rating that can be given is: what the pick/player was rated -vs- who else was on the board at that pick. Given that these analysts didn’t provide any alternate selections and why the Steelers pick was so bad, I can only assume they don’t know what they are talking about.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Good catch, Steve Young is a habitual Big Ben hater.

  • CW

    Rather have these guys hating on the Steelers draft than loving it.

    Too often the drafts that get praised by these “experts” turn out to be filled with busts and headcases, looking at you 2008 Steelers draft, which got universally loved by the experts as nearly perfect with Mendenhall and Sweed getting very high marks but delivered wretched busts and headcase losers to the Steelers.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I did the same thing. Heath?

  • Dan

    Boy the NFL Network teams are really discounting the Steelers. This morning I heard the NFL AM team pick division winners, and they picked the raisins for AFC North after giving some deference to the bungles. Not even a mention or inference to the team that has ruled the div for the last decade before a couple -.500 seasons. We’ve been 12-4 in 3 of the last 6 years. We finished last season 2nd in the div after finishing 6-2 for the last half of the season; and we’re not even in the discussion?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I don’t agree with his assessment but he does make a couple of valid points.

    Shazier is not stout against the run. If he can knife through the blockers then he does fine. But if he has to stack and shed and disengage he is in trouble.

    Archer and Bryant are both very much “Wait and See” type prospects.

    I know a lot of people on this site are eternal optimists but his arguments are fair.

  • 20Stoney

    Who care what ANY of them think!? They all loved the Mendenhall, Sweed, Bruce Davis draft.

  • Krankor

    No, you’re confused. Audra was the plant in “Little Shop of Horrors.” Heath Evans must have been one of the characters on “Good Times”.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Hard for me to put Mooch and Young on the list. First off, I find Mooch to be very passive, a good sport at times and funny at times. Steve Young seems like a frustrated jock but most of his comments aren’t off based. He just comes off very critical of QBs. He at least won Superbowls and on the field was very good. I don’t find him to be a Steelers hater or a Ben hater as some since he’s critical of most QBs when they play bad. At least that’s how he was on ESPN.

  • Krankor

    His arguments *are* fair, as far as the wait-and-see types. But given that he acknowledges that the upside potential of those guys is high, his comments still don’t translate to a grade as low as C+. Especially when you factor in the strong 2nd round pick which he overlooks. Taking his arguments into account, it still should be some kind of B-ish grade.

  • Brian Tollini

    These grades mean about as much as a flashlight to a blind man.

  • Jacob Dixon


  • Steve

    Cleveland draft of Johhny football will be another QB bust like Tebow was IMO.

  • Matthew Suloman


  • Luis Grove

    Evans is very opinionated and appears to get his insight from Warren Sapp.The important thing is that after the initial shock and disbelief of not taking Dennard, most of us (the people that follow the team daily) are thrilled with the draft and it’s potential. I think we jave had two straight A-B drafts. You have to rate the off-season as a whole an A.

  • CommonSenseGoneWild

    Exactly who is this no name and why does he think he is so smart? If he was any good he would be scouting, coaching, or analyst on ESPN.

  • joed32

    I just think that he does little homework and doesn’t add anything, the same with Mooch. Not bad guys but poor analysts.


    I completely agree…Go Steelers!

  • Luke Shabro

    Heath Evans is an idiot. And I’m not just saying that as a Steelers fan. I can’t listen to him talk about any team seriously because his “in-depth analysis” is clearly fed to him and he has no critical thinking ability. He’s a goon and one of the worst former player analyst types I’ve seen. He was right there on the old and slow bandwagon. Why? Because he’s a moron. Congrats on being a decent FB/H-back for some years. I used to love NFL Network when you saw Eisen and Schefter on more than anybody. Now its pretty much all garbage.

  • John C

    I think Evans is an idiot but I do agree with him on our draft. I am still shaking my head on Shazier….I know he is fast (so he will be out of position quicker than anyone else) but I was never impressed with his play at Ohio State as it relates to being an NFL LB….he gets pushed around a lot, makes many plays with his speed but the runners are already 5 plus yards down field when he does it. I hope I am wrong but I am afraid he has bust written all over him.

  • sean mcmartin

    hmm he skipped over tuitt..thats enough to blow his credibility and opinion.

  • Dan Mari

    I’m not bashing you or anyone else. But everyone said the same things about troy when he was drafted. Difference being that alot of people thought that dennard was a lock to be our pick. I watch plenty of big ten football and could say this or that, but what stands out to me about shazier is his production. People like yourself can bash the pick all day long but that’s your opinion. The fact, the FACT is that the kid is a playmaker. He’s a leader. He’s a damn good kid character wise, and he has a TON of production. It’s football. Good players don’t make every play. They make alot of plays. Shazier made alit of plays as a college player. That’s just fact. That’s just football.

  • RW

    A- by all accounts. Here’s the thing you have to laugh about: the Steelers chose 2 spots ahead of Baltimore and in the first two rounds took the same two positions. You can’t sit there and tell me that there is that big of a grade difference between the two teams when you’re splitting hairs over the defensive player types, particularly when draft grades are pretty much based on the first two picks. Plus, Tuitt is a much better fit for either defense than Jernigan, who will struggle against bigger tackles.

  • RW

    Well said, although I don’t think they’ll ask Shazier to put on more than 5-10 lbs. We don’t want to lose a skill and make him more one-dimensional when the point is to diversify (and better disguise) our defense.

  • RW

    I give Heath Evans a C+

  • RW

    He could be a bust, but one sign of a good LB is whether he can chase down a play after he’ initially been blocked out of it. That’s probably what made him look bad at times; where other LBs couldn’t possible chase down a RB that’s 5 yards downfield and at the sideline, this kid could. Don’t confuse making plays 5 yards downfield with not making a good play.

  • Brian Miller

    I give Evans…the middle finger!

  • treeher

    Come on MAN

  • Virdin Barzey


  • John C

    Don’t remember that about Troy…I remember everyone being excited about that pick which is why everyone was so down on him after his average play in his first season. Look, I am not saying Shazier sucks…I just don’t think he should have been our 15th overall pick. I hope passing on Dennard doesn’t come back to bite us…especially since he landed in Cincinnati and we are going to see him twice a year. People like yourself can sip the tea on this one but I guess I am just not ready to do that yet. I don’t know….maybe I just hate everyone from Ohio State who’s dad didn’t play for Pitt! 🙂

  • Anthony Hargraves

    If it was Belicheck he would have been saying what great picks they were and how the brilliant mind of belicheck would bring the best out of them. stfu

  • Jesse Murray

    He had more TFLs than any defensive player taken in the 1st round of the draft last season, so how that translates into all his tackles are well past the LOS I have no idea, care to enlighten us?

  • Toddy Bravo

    And I’m sick of reminding people that a player’s listed weight (which often stays the same in the game program from their first game to their last) is not accurate. Timmons is not 234 lbs. Willis is not 240. Furthermore, Casey Hampton couldn’t even remember the last time he weighed 325, but that was his listed weight every year from 2001 on. Every player coming out of college puts on weight, bro. All I’d like to see from Shazier is another 5-10 lbs of muscle, as would he and the coaches I’m sure, so get over yourself. Now hush and quit acting like you know something.

  • Jesse Murray

    I was wrong ty for correction. Forgot about Donald, good find. To add to the point about JJ, one thing I like about Shazier far more than JJ is he has athleticism that is extremely rare. In Pat Kirwan’s explosive index Shazier had one the highest scores ever recorded. Yes it isnt a guaranteed barometer of things to come but the speed, strength and explosion are in place. Consistency, reading the game and staying healthy imho will be his biggest obstacles.