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T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster add splash to Steelers rookie class

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Smith-Schuster becoming huge contributor for Steelers (1:07)

Scott Van Pelt explains how much JuJu Smith-Schuster's success has meant to the Steelers. SVP also explains how Pittsburgh has positioned itself to make a run for home-field advantage. (1:07)

Here's a look at the first-half impact of the Pittsburgh Steelers' draft class:

T.J. Watt, OLB, first round: Watt has proved versatile in his first seven NFL games, ranking second on the team in sacks (4.0) along with 28 tackles, an interception and four passes defended. He can deftly drop back into coverage or rush the passer. The next step is a more consistent pass-rush.

Grade: Above average

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, second round: Smith-Schuster's 424 receiving yards are 167 more than the five receivers drafted ahead of him -- combined. Smith-Schuster impressed coaches with his blocking/physicality, then used his enhanced role as a springboard for big catches (four touchdowns). He earned a starting job on a talented offense in less than half a season.

Grade: Near perfection

Cam Sutton, CB, third round: Sutton has spent the season on injured reserve because of a hamstring issue but returned to practice Tuesday, enacting a 21-day window for reactivation. Sutton showed his coverage instincts in limited preseason work, and the Steelers like his future, but his impact on 2017 might be minimal.

Grade: Incomplete

James Conner, RB, third round: Conner has proved a solid rusher in limited second-string work, rushing for 89 yards on 18 carries. But offensive coordinator Todd Haley said a few missed blocking assignments held him back a bit. Conner said he's improving in those areas, though.

Grade: Somewhere between average and above average

Joshua Dobbs, QB, fourth round: Dobbs is working in the shadows, which is exactly what the Steelers want. He's the third-string quarterback and probably won't be on the field in 2017. Dobbs has made mistakes, but the Steelers like how he learns from them. Dobbs completed 38-of-64 passes for 406 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in the preseason.

Grade: Bring on 2018

Brian Allen, CB, fifth round: The Steelers kept Allen on the 53-man roster because of his intriguing skill set as a 6-foot-3 corner with adequate speed and pass-catching ability as a former receiver at Utah. He has had bright spots in practice, including an interception of Ben Roethlisberger, but he's not in the fold this season.

Grade: Incomplete

Colin Holba, LS, sixth round: Holba was drafted to replace Greg Warren but was outplayed by Kameron Canaday and is now out of the league.

Grade: Incomplete

Keion Adams, OLB, seventh round: The pass-rusher showed some natural quickness in offseason workouts but is missing the entire 2017 season because of a torn labrum. The Steelers will give him a chance to crack the rotation next season.

Grade: Bring on 2018