PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie draft class includes two reliable starters and at least two viable role players. Here's a look at the team's eight-player class.
Grade: Above average
Best rookie: T.J. Watt's versatility gets the slight nod over JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has produced the best rookie receiving performance in franchise history. No other NFL player stuffed the stat sheet quite like Watt, who finished the year with 54 tackles, seven sacks, eight passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble and one field-goal block. His ability to rush the passer and cover receivers made James Harrison expendable.
Most improved rookie: Smith-Schuster seems to get better every week. His 143 receiving yards in Week 17 pushed him to 917 for the year, a new franchise record for rookie receiving, and he broke off a 96-yard kickoff return the same day. He has five catches of at least 40 yards and is second on the team with seven touchdown catches. Smith-Schuster is the perfect change-of-pace weapon to supplement Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell.
Most disappointing rookie: There were no major disappointments. Third-round rookie Cam Sutton acquitted himself well in late-season playing time. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs and cornerback Brian Allen are practice-and-develop guys. Seventh-round pass rusher Keion Adams tore his labrum in the preseason. That leaves sixth-round long snapper Colin Holba, who didn't make the final cut, as the lone disappointment.
Jury is still out on …: Running back James Conner, who has flashed his potential with 144 yards on 32 attempts but underwent knee surgery after Week 15. A few special-teams miscues kept Conner out of the lineup early in the season, but he showed strength as a runner spelling for Bell. The next step is working in bulk and growing as a receiver out of the backfield.
Undrafted rookie evaluation: Cornerback Mike Hilton isn't a true rookie after spending time with a few teams last year, but he has been a revelation in his first game action. The Steelers' slot corner has a knack for the timed-up blitz off the edge, resulting in four sacks. He also has two interceptions and a forced fumble. Pittsburgh has found its Will Gay replacement inside.