Steelers may need to rely on 2013 NFL Draft picks as rookie starters

Al Messerschmidt

The Steelers may need Jarvis Jones, Le'Veon Bell and Markus Wheaton to be major contributors during their rookie seasons.

In the past, Pittsburgh Steelers have had the luxury of allowing their top NFL Draft picks mature for a season or two before being called on to contribute. However, after going 8-8 last season and losing several veterans to free agency, they may have to rely on rookie starters more than they have in the past, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Gazette notes that the Steelers have not had a rookie starter since Maurkice Pouncey debuted at center in 2010. However, the Steelers selected Jarvis Jones, Le'Veon Bell and Markus Wheaton with their first-, second- and third-round draft picks, respectively, to fill major positions of need.

Jones will compete with Jason Worilds for James Harrison's vacated role at outside linebacker. SB Nation's James Brady suggest that Worilds will likely start at the beginning of the 2013 season. Jones will see plenty of playing time, however, and should take on an increased role as the season progresses.

Bell, meanwhile, may be expected to be the outright starter from Week 1. Rashard Mendenhall is gone, and Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman were incapable of taking over the starter's role despite ample opportunities last season. Bell was taken in the second round, and was the second running back off the draft board. It's clear that the Steelers have high expectations for the Michigan State product.

Wheaton gives the Steelers some much-needed depth in the wide receiver corps. He will compete with Emmanuel Sanders to be the No. 2 wideout opposite Antonio Brown. Wheaton's speed and 5'11 frame puts him in the same mold as Mike Wallace. If he develops, Wheaton could be used in similar ways.

More from SB Nation:

2014 NFL mock draft: Bridgewater, Clowney lead the way

The NFL draft's winners and losers

Jets release Tim Tebow

Finding every team's A+ draft pick

The 10 best UDFA signings

Undrafted free agent tracker

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.