Realistic best and worst case scenarios for the Steelers rookies

Georgia tight end Darnell Washington (0)
Georgia tight end Darnell Washington (0) / Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The draft is over, and the focus of the Steelers is on getting their roster ready for the preseason and training camp. While I am still thoroughly impressed with the overall class, the time that has passed has allowed me to really dig into the intricacies of the class.

While more of a narrative based post, I wanted to try and come up with the best and worst case scenarios for the Steelers entire rookie class. While I branch into some specifics in this post, this is meant to give a general, realistic (everyone isn’t going to start) view of what could happen this season.

Steelers best/worst case scenario for Broderick Jones

Best case scenario

Broderick Jones enters the season with a lot of fanfare, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Steelers haven’t selected an offensive tackle in the first round for longer than I have been alive, and this is their first offensive lineman in the first round since David DeCastro. This line is in need of some top-level talent.

Jones, while raw, fits the bill of a potential top tackle. He has the size and athleticism to dominate other players, and he flashed that ability in school. He does the same in training camp, dominating opposing edge rushers and quickly standing out.

This lands Jones the left tackle role out of camp, pushing Dan Moore into a swing tackle role. Jones is shaky over the first eight weeks of the season. While his run defense is on point, he can get beaten by more refined pass rushers who utilize a wide array of moves to get around Jones. He gives ups four sacks over that stretch.

Once he settles into his job though, he shows progress. He grows into his role and settles down as a blocker. He only gives up one more sack over the remainder of the season. There are still some growing pains to get through, but Jones looks the part of a top tackle and was well deserving of the pick.

Worst case scenario

Considering Jones was the 14th overall pick though, fans are restless to see him start. The team gives in after another mediocre effort from Moore, and Jones becomes the starter in week five. The results are mixed. He seems uncertain in Pat Myers aggressive scheme, and for every good rep he has, he puts up two bad ones.

While he slowly flashes improvements, an injury in week eleven sidelines him for two weeks. Moore returns, and while his highs aren’t as high as Jones, he provides steady blocking and the offense functions smoothly. Jones regains his starting gig after his injury, and the offense notably regresses.

He finishes the season as the starter, but his pass blocking has been putrid and his run blocking didn’t make up for it. No, he isn’t a bust, but he looks worse than many expect. The learning curve may take more than just his rookie season to get through.