The Steelers had serious decisions to make after a season in which the team did not live up to expectations as one of the perennial powerhouse teams of the AFC. They allowed wide receiver Mike Wallace to leave for the Miami Dolphins, and cut long time defensive leader James Harrison who recently signed with a division rival, Cincinnati. Pittsburgh was looking to get younger, as well as fill some open roster holes as running back, wide receiver, and multiple positions on defense.
But like their division rival the Ravens they had no time to panic.
It's time to evaluate the 2013 draft for the Steelers.
The Steelers found an immediate replacement for the departed Harrison in the pick of Jarvis Jones out of Georgia. He will become an impact player immediately, an elite force when rushing the quarterback, and a tremendous athlete. Pittsburgh found their replacement and got younger at the same time. A great first round pick.
Pittsburgh selected two offensive players in rounds two and three, getting their running back in Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Markus Wheaton, who I believe is the best all-around wideout in the draft. Bell picks will pick up where Rashard Mendenhall left off, and Wheaton immediately slots in as Wallace's replacement on the outside. Both picks were exactly what the Steelers needed and got.
The Steelers continued their defensive makeover into the later rounds of the draft, selecting safety Sharmarko Thomas out of Syracuse and will pair him with Troy Palamalu. This duo could be one of the most lethal in all of football for the 2013 season. Oklahoma's Landry Jones figures to be a suitable backup quarterback for Big Ben in the fourth round.
Towards the end of the draft, Pittsburgh focused on positional depth, adding cornerback Terry Hawthorne, wideout Justin Brown, linebacker Vince Williams, and defensive tackle Nick Williams. Overall, the Steelers sought and filled what was needed to remain competitive.
Every team ages’, even the elite teams. The Steelers as an organization have been one of the best at knowing when it is time to transition towards the next generation of players, while remaining competitive.
The 2013 NFL Draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers in my opinion, was the best overall draft, top to bottom. There wasn't one wasted selection, and every player picked, could make an impact in the Steel City as early as this season.
Final Draft Grade: A+
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