Pittsburgh Steelers: How Will the 2012 Draft Class Compare to the 2011 Class?

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Pittsburgh Steelers: How Will the 2012 Draft Class Compare to the 2011 Class?
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers' 2011 draft class did not have a lot of early returns, but they appear to be a solid group moving forward.

Pittsburgh did not get a lot of production from their rookies last season with only one starter in the group, but others did find a role as situational or special teams players.

The star of the group was Marcus Gilbert, who started 13 games for the Steelers at right tackle and helped solidify that side of the line.

Cameron Heyward and the rest of the rookie class were eased into the lineup, as the Steelers usually do with their young players.

Heyward played on special teams and only saw limited snaps with the defense, but did flash some potential. Cortez Allen had a surprising season getting time with the defense as well, while Curtis Brown struggled through injuries.

These players and the others of the 2011 draft class will be expected to start this season or at least contribute in their back-up roles, as they have a full year in the system.

As a team much in need of depth, the 2012 draft class can make an even bigger impact. Will there be any standout rookies in 2012?

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