Steelers’ Rookie Class Positioned Simply Exterior Of Prime 10 In Remaining Rankings From CBS Sports activities

One month after ESPN ranked the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie class as the No. 10 group in the NFL, CBS Sports had them one notch lower in their own rankings Tuesday, placing Pittsburgh’s productive, reliable rookie class 11th overall in its rankings.

Pittsburgh slotted in at No. 11 overall, right behind the New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers at the end of the top 10, while being just ahead of Chicago Bears and Tennessee Titans’ classes, according to CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso.

The Steelers’ rookie class of quarterback Kenny Pickett, wide receiver George Pickens, defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, tight end Connor Heyward, linebacker Mark Robinson and undrafted free agent running back Jaylen Warren had sizable impacts on the Steelers going 9-8 in 2022.

“Pickens looks like a future 70-plus catch, 1,300-yard No. 1 wideout, and Pickett slowly but surely improved as the season progressed,” Trapasso writes regarding the Steelers’ No. 11 overall ranking in the rookie class rankings from CBS Sports. “Even Heyward made some plays down the field late in the year.”

Outside of the Detroit Lions and New York Jets, no other NFL franchise received more snaps from its rookie class than the Steelers.

While Pickett didn’t fully take over the starting job until Week 5 on the road against the Buffalo Bills after replacing Mitch Trubisky at halftime in Week 4 against the New York Jets, the former Pitt star really didn’t find his footing at the position until after the Week 9 bye week.

From there, Pickett helped the Steelers go 6-2 down the stretch with Trubisky securing the seventh win of the 7-2 stretch in Week 15 against Carolina, leading the Steelers to a 9-8 finish. The overall numbers weren’t flashy from Pickett — 2,404 passing yards, seven touchdowns, nine interceptions — but he showed real moxie and that “it” factor late in games, leading four game-winning/fourth-quarter comeback drives in the second half of the season.

Pickett and Pickens made an impact right away on the offensive side of the football, showing fans why they were Pittsburgh’s top two selections in the draft. Pickens has already established himself as one of the best deep ball receivers in the league, ranking near the top of the position in contested catch percentage.

So, too, did Warren, who looked like a terrific change-of-pace back behind former first-round pick Najee Harris, giving the Steelers a viable 1-2 punch in the run game that could be difficult to stop moving forward. Heyward played a key role down the stretch as a blocker and receiver, making some key plays in the passing game late in the season, while Leal and Robinson settled into roles along the Steelers’ defensive front down the stretch.

Based on the experience gained in a season filled with adversity, along with the production that came with it from the rookie class, the future appears very bright in Pittsburgh thanks to that 2022 draft class

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