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2013 Draft class making Steelers scouting department look smart

With a large amount of disappointment in several of the Steelers' veterans, the 2013 draft class played a big part in the 30-27 victory over the Browns.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

It's amazing the difference a year makes.

Yes, the phrase is overused in sports, but it couldn't have been more true Sunday afternoon.

Second-year players linebacker Jarvis Jones, running back Le'Veon Bell, and receiver Markus Wheaton all played crucial roles in the win over the Browns. But the degree of impact on the final score may have been in the reverse order that these three players were drafted in 2013.

Wheaton came up big for the Steelers throughout the game. The former Oregon State Beaver caught six of the seven balls thrown his way for 97 yards on the afternoon. To put these numbers into better perspective, Wheaton caught six passes all of last season.

Wheaton's biggest play came with 20 seconds left in the game. Wheaton snagged the 20-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to put the Steelers at the 24-yard-line, setting up kicker Shaun Suisham's 41-yard game winner.

It's only Week 1, and a year has already made a difference for Wheaton.

For Jones, it was no different.

The second year linebacker out of Georgia didn't quite have the impact of Wheaton, but that doesn't mean a year hasn't made a difference for Jones.

As the Cleveland Browns attempted a misdirection and as quarter back Brian Hoyer looked downfield for a receiver, Jones swallowed Hoyer up for a 10-yard sack. With only one sack on the season last year, Jones has already reached that number against the Browns.

Bell, without a doubt, had the biggest impact of a Steelers rookie in 2013. After missing the first three weeks due to injury, Bell turned in a two-touchdown performance against the Vikings. Finishing with over 1,200 all-purpose yards, Le'Veon Bell passed Franco Harris' record of rookie all-purpose yards set in 1972.

As successful as Bell was in 2013, he looked even better against the Browns.

Noticeably thinner and quicker, Bell set personal records for all-purpose yards Sunday. On 21 rushing attempts, Bell rushed for 109 yards and caught six passes for 88 yards.

When Bell ran for his 38-yard touchdown displaying his patience and new speed, he may have given a preview of what's to come for the second-year feature back.

For Wheaton, Jones, and Bell, it was an amazing Sunday. What a difference a year makes.