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Monday, June 3, 2013
Steelers sign top two draft picks

By Jamison Hensley

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't waste any time in using their recently gained salary-cap room, signing their top two draft picks Monday.

Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, the Steelers' first-round pick, agreed to a four-year deal that should be worth around $8.8 million including a $4.8 signing bonus, and running back Le'Veon Bell, a second-round pick, reached a four-year agreement that is estimated to be $4.3 million including a $1.4 million signing bonus.

Pittsburgh couldn't sign a majority of its picks until it gained $5.5 million in salary-cap space. That happened Saturday because guard Willie Colon had been designated as a June 1 cut. The Steelers were only $90,000 under the cap prior to this month.

“I think it’s a blessing," Jones told the team's official website. "I wanted to get it out of the way so I can continue to focus on my career," said Jones. "The organization and my agent did a great job of getting it out of the way so it won’t be a distraction going into training camp. I’m going to be fully focused and ready to go out there and give everything I’ve got to help my teammates.”

The next question is whether Jones and Bell will start as rookies, which has rarely happened with the Steelers. Since the Steelers selected tight end Heath Miller eight years ago, only one first-round pick (center Maurkice Pouncey) was an immediate starter for Pittsburgh.

Jones is competing against Jason Worilds for the right outside linebacker spot, and Bell is battling Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman for the starting running back job.

The Steelers now have two unsigned picks, quarterback Landry Jones and defensive end Nick Williams.