Three Defensive Draft Picks the Pittsburgh Steelers Wish They Could Do Over


Hindsight is always 20/20, but with the NFL Draft nine weeks away and the Pittsburgh Steelers potentially targeting a defensive player in the first few rounds, let’s take a look at three players the Steelers could have selected on defense in their past few drafts.

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2014 Draft: LB, Ryan Shazier, Ohio State – 1st round, 15th pick

2014 Re-Draft:  LB, C.J. Mosley, Alabama (Actually drafted 1st round, 17th overall)

After only one season it appears the Steelers made a mistake by drafting Ryan Shazier with the 15th overall pick last year instead of selecting C.J. Mosley.  The Ravens certainly have benefitted from this Steelers decision because as a rookie Mosley was named to the second All-Pro team and the Pro Bowl.  Mosley started in all 16 games last season, while Shazier only appeared in nine games due to injuries. Mosley also had three sacks, two interceptions, and 99 tackles compared to Shazier’s 27 tackles and one pass defended.

Obviously, both players are still very young and Shazier should not be considered a bust just yet.  However, it does sting that two picks after the Steelers selected a fast but somewhat unproven college linebacker out of Ohio State the Ravens drafted a stud from Alabama, who appears to be the real deal.

2011 Draft: CB, Cortez Allen, The Citadel – 4th round, 128th overall

2011 Re-Draft: CB, Richard Sherman, Stanford (Actually drafted 5th round, 154th overall)

Just about all 31 teams in the NFL wish they could have their 2011 fourth or fifth round draft picks back to select Richard Sherman.  Whether you despise him or not, Sherman is clearly one of the best cornerbacks in the game.  Sherman has 24 interceptions in four years and he has been named to three All-Pro teams.  Not a bad start to a career.

In the same draft the Steelers decided to select Cortez Allen 26 picks ahead of Sherman.  Entering this season the Steelers chose to give Allen a four-year, $24.6 million extension.  That move hasn’t exactly worked out considering Allen got benched near the end of the season before being placed on IR.  Writing this out is making me sick.  The Steelers cornerback situation is a mess heading into the draft with only William Gay, B.W. Webb, and Allen under contract.  To think that the Steelers could possibly have Richard Sherman on their roster is depressing to say the least.

2010 Draft: DE, Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State – 4th round, 116th overall

2010 Re-Draft: DL, Geno Atkins, Georgia (Actually drafted 4th round, 120 overall)

I’m sure you all remember the great Thaddeus Gibson right?  Four career NFL games, no career tackles, never played a game for the Steelers.  This draft pick didn’t exactly work out.  What makes this pick worse is that the Cincinnati Bengals selected a 3-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman four picks after Thad Gibson became a Steeler.  Casey Hampton was still on the Steelers at the time, but he was 33 years old.  Had the Steelers selected Geno Atkins instead of Gibson, they would have secured their future interior defensive lineman.

Atkins had a career high 12.5 sacks in 2012, which is 3.5 more sacks than Hampton had in his entire career. Clearly, Atkins and Hampton are different players but Atkins would have been a better replacement for the Big Snack than Ziggy Hood turned out to be.

There you have it Steelers Nation.  Sorry to make you think about what could have been on defense.

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