The AFC North side used the 17th overall pick to select the linebacker, who had predicted that he would be drafted no lower than 17th.
The team's head coach told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "I think it's a daunting task for rookies to start in any system and play and perform well.
"Obviously it is difficult when you have established veteran players like we have with a lot of continuity.
"We are not going to close the door on him or anyone else on earning an opportunity, and that is what this is about. This is about people taking advantage of opportunities, so he'll be given that."
The Steelers have not started a rookie linebacker since Keith Butler, who is the team's coach for the position, joined the franchise in 2003.