What To Be Excited For About The Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Draft Class


Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The 24 hour rule really helped me when it came to some harsh tweet and criticism through social media after the first two days of the NFL Draft. If you don’t know what the 24 hour rule is, it’s a rule that you must give yourself 24 hours after your team drafts players before your scrutinize the player or the selection. To say the least, my jaw dropped when I heard “…the Pittsburgh Steelers select Ryan Shazier.” It literally dropped. I couldn’t help it. I thought I was mad at first last year when I heard Jarvis Jones’ name called (which I am now a huge fan of) but the Ryan Shazier pick really did a lot of things to me, things that were not good at the moment.

I wasn’t able to watch the second and third rounds because I was at the Reds game, paying more attention to my beautiful date than the game itself, but you can bet I had Bleacher Report open waiting for the second pick. Then I read “with the Steelers second selection: Stephen Tuitt.” I couldn’t help myself. I let out a big “OH MY GOSH” while fans around me quickly looked up from their phones to see what I was screaming about, having no clue it was about the Steelers at the Reds game. Long story short, I was shocked with the Dri Archer selection as well.

As you can see, I wasn’t too thrilled with the selections at the moment. But, I followed the 24 hour rule, and had quite a different take on the selections. Here’s my take.

Ryan Shazier

As I got to thinking, the Ryan Shazier was not a bad selection at all, in fact, probably a really good selection by the Steelers. I was a huge fan of Vince Williams until the Shazier pick, really hoping he would take the job during training camp with little to no competition, but let’s be for real, the guy didn’t have much upside as a 3 down inside linebacker in the NFL. In order for the Steelers defense to thrive like it used to, the starters must be able to stay on the field all 3 downs. Ryan Shazier should not only bring out the best in himself, but he should bring out the best in Lawrence Timmons and the rest of the defense. With Shazier, who has exotic speed for his size and excellent coverage skills, it should allow Timmons to do what he does best, rush the passer up the middle. There will be no more worries about bringing on 5 or 6 defensive backs, Shazier can cover the tight ends and running backs while LeBeau can use Timmons at his full potential. That also means Polamalu doesn’t have to play linebacker on third down, he can do what he does best and be Polamalu. Shazier also uses his speed to rush the passer, something LeBeau will definitely have fun experiment with. All in all, I think the Steelers got their man in Shazier and will turn out great not only for himself and the linebacking corps, but for the entire defense back to scaring the lights out of opposing offenses.

Stephen Tuitt

I have said all offseason long that it will CB in the first and WR in the second…boy was I wrong. I apologize to all the fans and bloggers that I was very aggressive to in my responses, very persuaded that defensive line would wait till later in the draft. Now thinking, it was a pretty big need. I was really hoping Nick Williams would be ready to take over the starting spot, as he really has a lot of potential. But being that he just started running, that was not happening. RDE was a need, and Cam Thomas was not ht answer as a starter. Stephen Tuitt would have been a first round pick had he not had injury problems, possibly even a top 10 pick. Picking him up in the second round was a steal. The guy had 12 sacks in 2012, thats crazy for a DE not named JJ Watt. He also fits the system in Pittsburgh. Tomlin said he could start, and he may be their best option for now. If Tuitt develops into his full potential, him and Cameron Heyward could be a dangerous duo of defensive ends. With the first two picks in the draft, the Steelers could have a very scary front seven within the next couple seasons.

Credit: Jim O

Dri Archer

If the Steelers wouldn’t have picked up Martavis Bryant in the fourth, I would have said that they passed up a very good wide receiver in the third and not really thought about the dangerous weapon Archer can become in the Steelers offense and special teams. Then, when they selected Bryant in the fourth, I really got to think about the Archer selection. Let me tell ya, I am excited about this guy. He is lightening fast and really what Todd Haley has been looking to bring to the Steelers offense since he was hired. He thought he had that guy in Chris Rainey, but we all know how that turned out. Archer is exactly what the running back corps needed. They have the workhorse in Le’Veon Bell and the bruiser in LeGarrette Blount, but they needed that speedster, and that’s exactly what Archer is. He can also be an extra wide receiver, someone that linebackers won’t be able to keep with out of the backfield. And let out a sigh of relief, we no longer have to deal with Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones returning kicks, we get to watch one of the fastest guys in the entire NFL, Dri Archer. Won’t that be exciting. Archer brings another level to the Steelers offense that we know they have been wanting, and I can’t wait to see what Haley does with him.

Martavis Bryant

The last guy to really be excited about is WR Martavis Bryant. Bryant fell to the Steelers in the fourth round, but could have easily gone in the second or third round. He is the tall receiver the Steelers have been looking for for a long time. Not only is the guy tall, but he has excellent speed for his size. To tell you how good this receiver is, receivers coach Richard Mann said Bryant could possibly start his rookie season. Honestly, I am rooting for the guy to start next to Antonio Brown. He is very tall for a slot receiver, with his height he needs to be outside. And Markus Wheaton can excel in the slot. Putting Wheaton in the slot and Bryant on the outside would get their full potential out of both receivers. That would give the Steelers a dangerous and young receiving corps if both Wheaton and Bryant live up to expectations. Bryant won’t be number one, however, that will be Brown’s for as long as he is with the Steelers. The good thing is Bryant is used to being number two and has excelled at it, playing next to top 5 pick Sammy Watkins at Clemson. Bryant can be considered a steal in the fourth.

I wouldn’t expect too much out of the rest of the picks, however, as fifth-seventh round picks don’t usually contribute their rookie season unless your Kelvin Beachum or Antonio Brown. The Steelers could have easily gone the route everyone expected them too, grabbing a cornerback and receiver in the first two rounds, leaving a two down linebacker and a vacant spot at DE, however they went  with the unexpected and took player that can contribute from day one in the first four rounds. The Steelers have had back to back 8-8 seasons, and the Super Bowl appearance against the Packers is starting to feel like a long time ago, so the Steelers changers their philosophy this offseason, picking up some key free agents and taking a different approach their draft strategy. This is exactly what the Steelers needed to do to start competing for Super Bowls again, and I would expect that as soon as this coming season.

Let me know what you think about the draft by leaving a comment!

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