Pittsburgh Steelers: Grading the 2013 rookie class

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The past few seasons, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and his staff have swung and missed when it can to the NFL Draft.

But the 2013 Draft Class was supposed to be different. Unfortunately things haven’t quite turned out that way for most of the Steelers rookies.

After the news that first-round selection Jarvis Jones was getting benched this week against the New England Patriots, it got me thinking about looking at the draft class as a whole.

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) chases a fumbled ball against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Tennessee Titans won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Naturally you can’t get a complete idea on how a draft class is performing for a couple of years, but halfway through their first season you can get a general idea of whether or not this draft class was a hit or a miss.

With that being said, let’s take a look at how each Steelers 2013 draft pick has performed.

Jarvis Jones (first round)

When Jones fell to the Steelers with the 17th overall pick, many projected it as a steal as the former Georgia Bulldog would be the savior for what has become a pathetic pass rush.

Not so fast.

Jones got off to a hot start with a big hit on Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson in his first game, which quickly earned him a spot in the starting lineup. However Jones hasn’t made many impact plays since that hit as he only has 19 tackles on the season and more importantly no sacks.

It’s far too early to give up on Jones, but he has been a bit of a disappointment through his first seven games. Grade: C-

Le’Veon Bell (second round)

Bell may turn out to be the player that saves this draft class as even though he didn’t make his NFL debut until Week 4, he looks like a talented runner that could be an NFL feature back for years to come.

His numbers aren’t great, averaging only 3.3 yards per carry, but considering the fact that he is running behind a patchwork offensive line, I will give him a pass for now.

I still feel Colbert made a huge mistake selecting Bell and passing on Eddie Lacy, but only time will tell. Grade: B-

Markus Wheaton (third round)

I must say that I was excited to see what the Oregon State product would do during his rookie campaign, but to this point he has not lived up to the billing.

Early on, Todd Haley didn’t utilize his speed and lately Wheaton has been out of the lineup dealing with a broken pinky.

Before the end of the season you would like to see the rookie work his way into the third receiver spot, but that may take a lot of work. One thing is for sue though and that is most people expected more than three catches from the rookie by now. Sure he has only been targeted six times on the season, but Wheaton has to find a way to do more in the season’s second half. Grade: F

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Tags: Jarvis Jones Le'Veon Bell Markus Wheaton Pittsburgh Steelers Shamarko Thomas

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