Setting Expectations for Each Member of the Steelers' 2013 Draft Class
The Pittsburgh Steelers just concluded another very good draft, and now we can all start looking towards the 2013 regular season.
In this article, I’ll be analyzing each player selected by the Steelers in this year's draft, while considering their outlook for the upcoming season and beyond.
Here are early expectations for the Pittsburgh Steelers' eight 2013 draft picks.
Jarvis Jones, OLB
While most fans want to see Jarvis Jones make a big impact in his rookie season, the Steelers do not normally like to play young defenders a lot during their first year.
That may disappoint fans for 2013; however, the expectation is for Jones to become a starter by 2014 at the latest.
It may be unfair, but Jones is basically expected to replace James Harrison and give the team one of the better pass-rushing tandems with LaMarr Woodley.
Le'Veon Bell, RB
Le’Veon Bell will probably have the biggest impact of any of the Steelers rookies, considering I see him winning the starting running back job.
It’s tough to predict a career for a running back because of the short lifespan of the position in the NFL.
The expectation for Bell will be to bring back the running game for the Steelers and to be a complete back for the team for the next eight to 10 years.
Markus Wheaton, WR
Since the Steelers matched the offer sheet for Emmanuel Sanders, there is a little less pressure for Markus Wheaton to be a difference-maker in his rookie season.
Next season though, the Steelers are likely to lose Plaxico Burress—if not this year—Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders.
Wheaton will be expected to develop into a playmaker for the team in the same mold of Sanders and Antonio Brown.
Shamarko Thomas, S
As I said with Jarvis Jones, the Steelers don’t like to play younger players unless injuries occur, and that will apply to Thomas his rookie year.
Thomas has been compared to Bob Sanders because of his size and affinity to blowing up offensive players.
With Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu getting up in age, Thomas is going to be expected to be the future at the safety position and continue the great play the team has become accustomed to.
Landry Jones, QB
Even though I knew it was a possibility, I was still a bit surprised the Steelers actually took a quarterback in the fourth round in this draft.
It is common knowledge that Ben Roethlisberger takes a lot of hits and misses time almost every season. This brings to light the terrible backup quarterback situation the Steelers had last season.
Jones could very well become a good starting quarterback in the NFL, but with the Steelers, he will do nothing more than sit, develop and come off the bench if needed.
Terry Hawthorne, CB
The Steelers allowed Keenan Lewis to leave via free agency this offseason, which leaves Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen and William Gay as the starters.
Behind those three, there are a lot of question marks because of the slow development of Curtis Brown and the relative unknowns of Josh Victorian and DeMarcus Van Dyke.
I expect Terry Hawthorne to make the roster this season and to become a solid No. 3 corner for the team.
Justin Brown, WR
The Steelers finally took the big receiver everyone always projects them to take with Justin Brown in the sixth round.
At a glance, I would say Brown doesn’t have a great chance to even make the roster, but the last time I questioned a sixth-round receiver by the team, his name was Antonio Brown.
I’m not going to project that kind of success for Brown, but I do think he can become a productive receiver for the team if he can show enough consistency and potential in camp for the team to keep for the future.
Vince Williams, ILB
The Steelers' inside linebacker situation, outside of Lawrence Timmons, is kind of a mess right now, which is why Larry Foote is still the starter for the 2013 season.
There should be pretty much an open competition for the backup spot, which gives Vince Williams a huge opportunity to make the roster.
I am a big fan of Williams and I believe he could be a potential starter for the team, comparable to the aforementioned Larry Foote.
Nick Williams, DE
When you look at Nick Williams, you want to believe that he can develop into the type of player Brett Keisel has become since being a seventh-round pick of the Steelers.
Although I hope it does, there is no way I’ll sit here and say that’s where I see Williams’ career going. At this point, he seems destined to spend his rookie season on the practice squad.
After that I could definitely see him becoming a rotational player on the defensive line, but at this point he is far from that.