Pittsburgh Steelers: 15 greatest first-round picks of all-time

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /

Steelers 1942 first-round pick: RB Bill Dudley

The No. 1 overall pick in the 1942 NFL Draft didn’t spend his entire career in Pittsburgh, but he did make the most of his time in black and yellow. The All-American out of Virginia has a rushing style like no other, and was the clear-cut choice for a Steelers team looking for someone to literally do it all.

In his rookie season, Bill Dudley rushed for 696 yards, completed 35 passes for 438 yards, punted the ball 18 times, returned 20 kicks for 271 yards and 11 punts for 298 yards. Little to be said, he was named an All-Pro in his first NFL season.

Dudley then spent three years in the army where he played for the Army Football Team during World War II.

After returning to the Steelers in 1945, Dudley didn’t miss a beat. In his first full season back in the NFL in 1946, Dudley became the league’s MVP. Along with the award, he was named First-Team All-Pro and led the league in rushing and interceptions.

Dudley was traded to the Detroit Lions the following season and finished his career with two Pro Bowl selections. He would eventually be inducted into the Steelers Legends Team.