A look at last year's rookie class


As the 2015 NFL Draft is upon us, here is a look back at the 2014 Steelers NFL Draft Class and how they did their rookie season.RYAN SHAZIER
6-1 * 237 * ILB * Ohio StateFirst Round (15th Overall)First-round draft pick Ryan Shazier played in nine games in his rookie campaign, starting five regular season contests. Shazier started the first three games of the season, recording a season-high 11 tackles at Baltimore on Sept. 11.

Against Carolina in week three Shazier suffered a right knee injury in the third quarter, sidelining him for the rest of the game and leaving forcing him to miss the next four games. He came back to start against Indianapolis and Baltimore at Heinz Field, but was again hampered by an injury, leaving the Ravens game with a right ankle injury. Shazier went on to miss the next three games, and came back to play the final four in a reserve role.

Shazier finished the season with 34 tackles, 23 of them solo stops, and one pass defense.

"It just went by so fast," said Shazier of his rookie season. "There was a lot that I learned. A lot to still learn. I felt like the injury helped me learn a lot. Just to see and feel the game helped me a lot for next season. We just have to make sure everything is better next year. I have to keep working and come back stronger."

6-5 * 303 * DE * Notre Dame
Second Round (46th Overall)

It's not how you start, but how you finish and Stephon Tuitt finished his rookie season strong. Tuitt stepped in and started the final four games of the 2014 season, filling in for Brett Keisel who was placed on injured reserve. It gave Steelers fans a look at the future at the position, and it's a bright one.

Tuitt played in all 16 games, finishing with 17 tackles, including 11 unassisted. He recorded his first career sack week 15 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, and added his first career forced fumble when he knocked the ball away from Chiefs' running back Jamaal Charles.

"I think his arrow was pointed up at the end of the season and from that standpoint it's exciting," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He didn't die on the vine the way some rookies are capable of dying. He's a talented young guy. He was a third-year guy out of Notre Dame when we drafted him. If you look at our football team some of the most dynamic contributors have come to us under those circumstances, Maurkice Pouncey, Le'Veon Bell, Lawrence Timmons and others. If that group is an indication of where he is capable of going then that's exciting."

5-8 * 173 * RB/WR * Kent State
Third Round (97th Overall)

Dri Archer was drafted to fill a multitude of roles, from special teams in the return game to helping the passing game and the ground game. Archer played in 12 games, finishing with 10 carries for 40 yards and seven receptions for 23 yards. Archer had nine kickoff returns for a total of 161 yards, the longest 23 yards, and one punt return.

Archer is looking to be more involved in all aspects heading into his second season.

"I did what I could, I did what I was asked to do," said Archer. "I am going to work this offseason and get ready for next year to do the most I can. I want to help the team out the best way possible in as many ways as I can."

6-4 * 211 * WR * Clemson Fourth Round (118th Overall)

For Martavis Bryant the 2014 season got off to a slower start than he had hoped, inactive for the first six weeks of the season. But he remained confident and it paid dividends. Bryant got his shot Week 7 against the Houston Texans and finished the day with two receptions, including a 35-yard touchdown for his first NFL reception. Bryant finished the season with 26 receptions for 549 yards and eight touchdowns, including a 94-yarder in a win at Cincinnati.  

"I want to be consistent," said Bryant. "I want to put a great year together next year. They will be keying on me next year. They know what I am able to do. I have to take the offseason and work on my craft to get better with some of the things that will give me an advantage next year.

"The sky is the limit as long as I continue to work. I am not going to set a bar for myself."

6-0 * 194 * CB * Arizona
Fifth Round (157th Overall)Shaq Richardson, who was hampered by injuries throughout his rookie preseason, was waived on the final cut down to the Steelers 53-man roster last August. The next day he was signed to the practice squad, but placed on practice squad/injured reserve, and eventually reached an injury settlement with the team.
6-5 * 297 * OL * Vanderbilt
Fifth Round (173rd Overall)Wesley Johnson originally made the Steelers 53-man roster, but the team needed depth at safety and waived him on Oct. 11 so they could activate Ross Ventrone from the practice squad. Before they were able to sign Johnson back to the practice squad, he was claimed off of waivers by the New York Jets.JORDAN ZUMWALT *
6-4 * 235 * ILB * UCLASixth Round (191st Overall)

While Jordan Zumwalt is officially in his second season, it will be like his rookie year on the field this year. Zumwalt played in only one preseason game last year after a groin injury sidelined him during training camp. He spent the entire 2014 season on injured reserve. 


DANIEL McCULLERS* 6-7 * 352 * NT * TennesseeSixth Round (215th Overall)Daniel McCullers had to sit back and wait some his rookie season, playing in just nine games and finishing the year with two tackles. He did have one start, against the Tennessee Titans, becoming the first rookie to start a game at nose tackle since Casey Hampton did so in 2001. While McCullers worked behind nose tackle Steve McLendon, he learned plenty his rookie season and the future is bright for 'Big Dan.'  * **ROB BLANCHFLOWER 6-4 * 256 * TE * Massachusetts
Seventh Round (230th Overall)Rob Blanchflower is another player who will be looking for his first playing time this year, as the tight end spent the entire 2014 season on the Steelers practice squad. Blanchflower was released on the final cut before the start of the 2014 season and signed to the practice squad the next day. He signed a reserve/future contact in January, 2015, and is back working toward a roster spot this year.

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