Plain and simple, fans might not want to expect 1st round draft pick, Ryan Shazier or 2nd rounder, Stephon Tuitt to crack the starting lineup right away.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach Bill Cowher was on CBS Radio's 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh to discuss everything from Penguins' head coach Dan Bylsma's future to the NFL Draft. Cowher chimed in on how fans might want to calm down on rookies being ready to start in the Steelers' defense due to it's complex 3-4 scheme.
"There are a lot of responsibilities, there are a lot of idiosyncrasies that you have to be able to understand. There are so many complexities, and then you take that along with some of the limited amount of practice sessions now that the CBA has put in there- it’s very challenging for a young player to come in."
College defenses are certainly complex, but the Dick LeBeau lead unit that has made the Steelers' defense famous is also much more in depth and complex compared to those defensive schemes deployed in college.
With all of that said, Shazier has something that will certainly have him seeing the field in 2014 for the Steelers. Speed. At his position, he may not start, but there is no doubt that he will be put into certain sub packages with the strict responsibility of chasing down the football. Complex or not, you can't coach speed.
Cowher is right though. Look at all the projects the Steelers have selected in past drafts. College defensive ends that the team is hoping to morph into the next great Steelers outside linebacker. It doesn't always pan out, and even though more and more colleges are going to a 3-4 defense there is still a huge learning curve from the NCAA to the pro game.
Jarvis Jones was supposed to be pro-ready because he played in the system while in college. His rookie season showed, too, how much learning is involved in the defense.