General manager Kevin Colbert surprised many when he selected Ryan Shazier in the first round. Even though inside linebacker was a need, it wasn’t perceived to be as important as cornerback, wide receiver or defensive end. Despite this, the Steelers were able to select one of the fastest linebackers in the entire draft.
They followed this up by adding size and power to the defensive front with Stephon Tuitt. He will challenge to start at defensive end opposite of Cam Heyward. Colbert then made a surprise pick when he drafted Dri Archer—the fastest player in the draft.
Colbert finally addressed wide receiver and cornerback with Martavis Bryant and Shaquille Richardson in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. The 6’4” Bryant adds the size and speed that the Steelers desired in a receiver, while Richardson has the athletic ability to develop into a top-three cornerback down the road.
Pittsburgh finished up the draft with versatile offensive lineman Wesley Johnson, aggressive linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, massive nose tackle Daniel McCullers and potential No. 2 or 3 tight end Rob Blanchflower.
The nine players selected in the 2014 draft were the perfect blend of size, speed and toughness that the Steelers needed to get back into contention. But while there is plenty of optimism regarding these players, there is a long way to go before we learn if they will be able to succeed in the NFL or not.
As good as the draft looks on paper, was it universally praised or did some believe that the Steelers didn’t take full advantage of one of the deepest drafts in decades? Here’s a look at report card grades from a variety of media experts.
All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.