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Revisiting the Steelers 2015 Draft class entering the bye week

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The bye week seems as good a time as any to review the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers draft class. Take a look on the team's 8 draft picks, and the promise each encompasses this year, and moving forward.

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
On Draft Weekend in 2015, hope and speculation ran rampant assessing the Steeler's draft. As always, opinions differed. It seemed, though, that the majority of Steeler Nation was pleased with the draft. But stars on paper often fail to shine as bright as they do between the lines.

In this update of the 2015 Draft, BTSC examines the fortunes of each of the eight 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers selections.

Round 1 (No. 22)
Alvin "Bud" Dupree - OLB
Kentucky

It's pretty safe to say that the first-rounder from UK will receive the Joe Greene Award for the top Steeler rookie at year's end. At 6-feet 4-inches and 267 pounds, the defensive end in college was drafted to play as a pass-rushing linebacker in Pittsburgh and has responded with four sacks and 19 tackles as a part of a platoon with Arthur Moats. The four sacks has Bud tied for second (half of a sack behind the leader) on a team that ranks fourth in the league with 28 sacks.

Labeled as an explosive and freakish athlete with the ability to rag-doll tight ends at will, Dupree has transitioned well into Keith Butler's system. He won't be platooning much as time goes by. Bud Dupree is proving to be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh and would rate much higher in a mock re-draft. Tomlin and Colbert hit a homer with this pick.

Round 2 (No. 56)
Senquez Golson-CB
Mississippi

With a shoulder injury severe enough to keep the second-rounder from Ole Miss out of training camp altogether, the Steelers have to wait a year to see what they get in a dynamic player with supposed promise of an extraordinary kind.

Golson at 5-feet 8-inches is small of stature but performed in a big way in college. The unanimous, first-team All-American was labeled by scouts as instinctive with plus ball skills. He tallied 10 interceptions and 16 pass deflections in 2014. But the worry was that Golson would struggle as a corner on the outside against tall receivers. His play in minicamp was suggested to be very promising, but we have to wait and see.

When you rank 27th against the pass as the Steelers do, the waiting is the hardest part.

Round 3 (No. 87)
Sammie Coates-WR
Auburn

There was some serious head-scratching when the Steelers picked Coates in the third round of the draft in May. But it became clear when the suspension to Martavis Bryant was announced in August why Sammie was selected. However, the 6-eet 1-inch 212-pounds Coates has not made any impact his rookie year,

Coates showed some promise in the exhibition season with a 54-yard catch against Green Bay and a 42-yarder versus Carolina. In six regular-season games, Coates has a lone grab for 11 yards. With Darrius Heyward Bey's time possibly winding down in Pittsburgh, Coates has the ability to be a productive part of an excellent unit in the future. But so far, not so good...yet.

Round 4 (No. 121)
Doran Grant-CB
Ohio State

Hailing from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron (Alma Mater of Lebron James), Doran Grant has yet to make any impact at the pro level in Pittsburgh.

As a key cog of the proposed overhaul at the cornerback position, Grant was scouted as an intelligent defender who reads and reacts well against both the run and pass. But in the exhibition season, especially the finale against Carolina, the Ohio State product was fooled and beaten enough to find a pink slip in his locker. The intent was to resign him to the practice squad, which they eventually did, but they did that knowing that they could lose him to another team.

After months on the PS, the Steelers recalled him on November 4th and he has seen limited action in two games. Grant will mostly see the field on the special teams unit and has the opportunity to play himself into a larger role.

Round 5 (No. 160)
Jesse James-TE
Penn State

Under Bill O'Brien at Penn State, the 6-feet 7-inch kid from Glassport excelled. However, under James Franklin, It was a tad less happy in the valley for James. His production dropped because he was asked to stay at home and block to compensate for a suspect offensive line.

James dropped a scoring pass in his first, exhibition contest. However, he showed enough in camp and preseason action to warrant a spot. With Matt Spaeth on the mend, the TE with the awesome name is dressing and seeing the field. In the past two games, James has seen his only action of the year and caught three balls for 15 yards and a touchdown.

Because of his ability to catch the ball in traffic, and the fact that Heath Miller is on the final leg of his Burgh-legendary career, James could be groomed for the lead role at the tight end spot in the coming years.

Round 6 (No. 199)
L.T. Walton-DT
Central Michigan

The Steelers had such great luck with a 6th-round pick from Central Michigan (Antonio Brown) in 2010, they decided to repeat it five years later with the 6'5"/305 lb Walton.

Walton was a threat to be cut at the deadline, but the big guy showed enough promise to land on a defensive line with very little depth. In six games on the active roster, Walton has battled injury and hasn't seen much action. He is still awaiting his first tackle and is far from being the next AB.

Round 6 (No. 212)
Anthony Chickillo-LB
Miami, Florida

The third-generation player from Miami was a standout in camp early on, but eventually slipped off the team in the final cuts. Like Grant, Chickillo was not snapped-up elsewhere and returned as a member of the Practice Squad.

Since then, the 6-foot 3-inches and 267-pounder has earned his way onto the roster due to his athleticism and versatility. Chickillo has three tackles in five games and has seen action in place of James Harrison and on the special teams units.

Round 7 (No. 239)
Gerod Holliman-S
Louisville

Entering the 2015 after his junior season, the consensus All-American from Louisville was sort of an enigma and question mark to NFL GMs and draft experts. With 14 interceptions, tying the NCAA record, Holliman was celebrated as a ball hawk with great hands. But many believe the reason for his free fall into the last round was his sub-par tackling. The 6-foot Holliman showed the ball skills that he was lauded for in camp, but did nothing to distinguish himself at safety or on special teams and was released at the end of the preseason. No team took a flyer on him after that and he is currently not employed in the NFL.

Typically a seventh-round selection is not surrounded with as much excitement as was Holliman, but his college pedigree made him a player to watch and wish for, but it was to no avail.

The Steelers 2015 Draft Class, so far, has yielded a definite starter in Dupree. The hope is that Golson will return and match that of Bud. James looks like a potential starter at tight end. The stars of Coates, Grant, Chickillo and Walton don't glow in the manner that they did in May, but still will have a stage to audition on. Holliman can be chalked up as a loss.

Two-thirds of a season isn't enough to judge a draft class, so a verdict can not be reached at this point. But with early returns in, performance counts and only one has truly pulled his weight. That isn't enough.

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