Maybe the Steelers 2013 Draft class wasn't as great as many figured it would be in its first year.
But it wasn't worthy of crying over, either.
ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. initially graded it a B overall, highlighting the ability of outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and running back Le'Veon Bell to get on the field immediately.
Getting on the field certainly wasn't a problem for Jones and Bell, but only Bell made a big impact. He broke the Steelers' rookie record for yards from scrimmage (1,259) and that was after missing the first three games of the season. Jones on the other hand struggled in adapting to the strength of the game, often getting swallowed up by tackles who were both strong and quick.
But that's what's to be expected from a rookie. Both he and Bell will continue to improve. With that in mind, as well as the overall contributions of sixth round pick Vince Williams, the Steelers were downgraded from a B to a B- by Kiper.
The lack of contributions from third round pick Markus Wheaton (who suffered two broken fingers that limited his playing time) and fourth round pick Shamarko Thomas (also suffered an injury, costing him a few games) didn't help their overall grade, and the complete lack of contributory value of fourth round quarterback Landry Jones (didn't dress for a game), fifth round cornerback Terry Hawthorne (cut), sixth round WR Justin Brown (cut and signed to practice squad) and seventh round defensive end Nick Williams (placed on injured reserve), a slight reduction of their grade seems fair.
This class is just starting to grow, though. With Bell as the kingpin, the 2014 season will rely on the development of Jones and Wheaton to increase this grade even further, and contributions from Thomas and Vince Williams as well as the possibility of getting production from Nick Williams and Brown could push it among the best in the NFL.