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It's time for ESPN to apologize to Steelers CB Artie Burns

Bust is a word commonly used following NFL drafts, and Artie Burns is proving why you should never be too quick to judge.

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After a long few months of over-analyzing NFL draft prospects, the 2016 Draft had finally taken it’s course. Teams had given it their best shot, and the Pittsburgh Steelers tackled the majority of their roster needs. They finally went where everyone had been begging them to go — draft a CB in the first round. Not only did they do that, the Steelers followed it up with a Safety/CB hybrid pick in the second round, as well.

I was happy, and although many thought first round pick Artie Burns might have been a reach, it's tough to debate against Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin's thought process. With frequent draft success, it's hard to doubt them. Trust the process. No, 76ers fans, not your process.

Fast forward one week, and an article came along that really caught my attention.

ESPN's Steve Palazzolo selected Artie Burns as one of his "2016 draft picks most likely to be busts." How can you do that? That is an article that should never even be written, especially by one of the world's most prominent sports media outlets.

These are 21-23 year olds that haven't even touched an NFL field yet, and you're already battering them down. As if the pressure of being a first round draft pick isn't enough already, the added weight is more than unnecessary.

Even Pro Football Focus got in on the action, naming Artie Burns as one of their "16 worst picks of the 2016 NFL Draft." Adding Steelers second round pick, Sean Davis, to their list as well.

This is the equivalent of telling Burns "hey man, congratulations, but you actually aren't that good and don't deserve it," except while hiding behind a computer. These are articles that should never be written because, truth is, nobody knows what these draft picks will turn into. No matter how much video you watch, no matter how many calculated formulas you run, only time will tell.

Now fast forward again, seven months later, and Burns has already become a full-time starter. Same goes for Davis, whom is fourth on the team in tackles with 54 — Burns in sixth with 50. Not to mention their tackling ability itself, which has seemed to improve tremendously with each game.

Artie leads the team, and is tied for first among fellow NFL rookies, with three interceptions. He is also sole controller of pass deflections among NFL rookies at 15, with the next best player at 11-- and tied for 12th in the among all NFL players. These are rookies making immediate impacts. Do they sound like busts to you?

During this five game win streak, Burns has finished top-5 in Pro Football Focus' defensive grades for the Steelers in 4 out of 5 games — Davis in 3 out of 5.

Oh, the irony.

They may not be Pro Bowlers yet, but as rookies, these are players that are showing production far from any "bust" criteria. Burns and Davis, with the addition of third-round pick, Javon Hargrove, are the Steelers' first defensive rookie trio to win starting jobs in 45 years.

In a recent conversation with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Davis sounded like he knows exactly what the rookies were brought here for.

They're certainly holding up their end of the deal, as immediate impacts were much more hoped for, rather than expected.

Whether or not rookies ever see articles like these from ESPN and PFF, whether or not they care about these articles, is beyond me. Who knows what goes through their minds. Hopefully it only provides them some fuel to their fire. As a 23 year old myself, I can only imagine what it feels like to be degraded by a major, respected sports media source, before even been given a chance. Regardless, outcomes like this are what will help make "experts" think twice about labeling players with the overused "bust" word too quickly.