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ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. downgrades the Steelers original grade on 2015 draft class

The Pittsburgh Steelers were given an A- grade from Mel Kiper Jr. after their 2015 draft concluded, but with the regular season over, Kiper re-graded all drafts and downgraded the Steelers most recent draftees.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 season is officially in the books, and with the regular season now in the rear view mirror, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. decided to go back through every NFL team's 2015 draft classes and re-assess the overall selections.

After the 2015 NFL DraftKiper gave initial grades to all of the classes, and with a year under the rookies' belts, he is looking at the classes as NFL players, and not future professionals. For the Steelers, Kiper initially gave the '15 draft class an A- grade. See what Kiper had to say, and his reasoning, behind downgrading the latest draft class of the black and gold.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Post-draft grade: A-minus

This draft class took a major hit early on and it affected the season, in my opinion. I wrote then, "Senquez Golson is one of my favorite players in the draft, an INT machine at Ole Miss who plays bigger than his size." Well, Golson got hurt before the season started, and I think that really hurt because the secondary was already going to be a rebuilding project. If he comes back strong the secondary looks better. Bud Dupree often looked raw, but gave them 500-plus snaps and has potential. Hopefully Sammie Coates makes a leap next year, and Golson comes back strong.

New grade: B-minus

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/22 Bud Dupree OLB Kentucky
2/56 Senquez Golson CB Ole Miss
3/87 Sammie Coates WR Auburn
4/121 Doran Grant CB Ohio State
5/160 Jesse James TE Penn State
6/199 Leterrius Walton DT Central Michigan
6/212 Anthony Chickillo DE Miami (FL)
7/239 Gerod Holliman S Louisville

It is impossible to gauge a draft class immediately after the draft, and equally as difficult after just one season in the NFL. For Pittsburgh, they were able to get a surprise performance from 1st round pick Bud Dupree, as he learned on the job. As mentioned by Kiper, it was disappointing to see Senquez Golson have to sit out his entire rookie season, but for as much as anyone wants to criticize this draft class, only Gerod Holliman can be viewed as a true dud -- considering he didn't make the team.

Other than Holliman, every healthy rookie saw playing time in 2015 in some capacity. It might have been spot duty for L.T. Walton and Anthony Chickillo, or a pure backup role for Sammie Coates and Jesse James. Nonetheless, even after one year, it is tough to truly get a feel for what a draft class is going to bring to the team. If this draft class has anything, it is potential.

Kiper's downgrade to a B- would most likely be on par for where most would rate the draft class even after its inception last Spring. With 7 of the 8 draft picks set to return in 2016, and see an increased role, the team will find out just how good, or bad, the 2015 draft class is.