As usual the Steelers did not do anything to turn heads in the draft, but quietly filled many needs with quality football players. The Steelers struggled to make big plays on defense last season and addressed that need by drafting Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones, a pass rusher who thrives on making the big play. Running back Le’Veon Bell was an interesting pick in the second round with plenty of other solid options available at that point in the draft, but the Steelers liked what they saw in Bell and do not really have much set in their backfield with the departure of Rashard Mendenhall. Pittsburgh also added some depth at WR as they open up a training camp competition to replace Mike Wallace, and added some fresh legs to their aging secondary.
Le’Veon Bell will be immediately thrust into the mix to compete for the starting job at running back. He is a player to watch in OTAs and through training camp, and even if he doesn’t win the job outright, we expect him to get plenty of touches and take over as the starter at some point this season. He is a great late round draft target, and could rise up the board as training camp goes on.
Without getting one of the top receivers in this draft–they even passed on Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert in the first round–it looks like Emanuel Sanders will have the inside track to the starting spot left vacant by Mike Wallace. Sanders put up some solid numbers at times last year and with more consistent looks, he could immediately become a fantasy starter week after week. Oregon State rookie Markus Wheaton is a burner who’s skills actually more closely resemble Wallace’s game and he could make an impact down the line. Expecting much from a rookie receiver in fantasy, however, is not often a wise strategy. Dynasty owners will want to keep their eye on Wheaton, though, who may fly a bit under the radar as a third round pick.
Expect to see a rejuvenated performance on defense from Pittsburgh getting sparks from Jones and Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas. The unit should be closer to the explosive defense from years past that continuously puts up quality fantasy fantasy totals.
|2||48||Le'Veon Bell||RB||Michigan St.|
|3||79||Markus Wheaton||WR||Oregon State|
|6||206||Vince Williams||LB||Florida St.|