The Steelers have had their share of hits and misses in the NFL Draft. Here is a breakdown of each player still with the team since 2004.
The Steelers are widely regarded as one of the best organizations in all of football. When it comes to drafting talent, the Steelers have to be near the top of the list.
Despite their success in this area under general manager, Kevin Colbert, the Steelers have their fair share of misses as well. As a result, many of their recent draft classes turned out to be mediocre or just plain bad.
Ben Roethlisberger is the Steelers’ oldest and most tenured football player currently with the team. He was a first round draft choice all the way back in 2004.
Here is a breakdown of each draft class since then, and all of the drafted players still with the Steelers:
2004: 1 current player
The Steelers have just one current player remaining from the 2004 draft class (which is more than a lot of teams could say). Ben Roethlisberger is the most storied quarterback in Pittsburgh’s history and is bound for the Hall of Fame when he retires. Ricardo Colclough and Max Starks were the only other 2004 draft picks worth mentioning.
2005: 0 current players
The 2005 draft class produced one of the best tight ends the Steelers have seen in Heath Miller. Bryant McFadden was never considered a great cornerback, but was a part of the Steelers Super Bowl defenses of the early 2000’s. Chris Kemoeatu and Trai Essex were solid draft choices who contributed along the offensive line.
2006: 0 current players
The Steelers got a Super Bowl MVP out of this draft class in Santonio Holmes after trading up in the first round. However, there wasn’t a lot else to be said about this class. Willie Colon was a solid pick, but Anthony Smith and Willie Reid never lived up to their draft statuses. The Steelers have zero remaining players from the 2006 draft.
2007: 0 current player
The 2007 draft class was excellent for the Steelers and the first draft under head coach, Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh landed long-time talents in Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley in back-to-back picks. They also drafted William Gay and Matt Spaeth who both went on to have long NFL careers. However, no players remain from this draft class for the Steelers.
2008: 0 current players
What initially looked like a solid draft on paper for the Steelers turned out to be anything but. Mendenhall retired at the age of 25, while Limas Sweed and Bruce Davis were busts. The Steelers got a decent backup quarterback out of this class in Dennis Dixon for a few years.
2009: 0 current players
The Steelers didn’t exactly strike gold on Ziggy Hood back in 2009, as he played only his rookie contract in Pittsburgh. They did, however, hit on a pair of 3rd rounders in Mike Wallace and cornerback, Keenan Lewis. Both went on to have productive NFL careers. Unfortunately, no players remain from the draft class exactly one decade ago.
2010: 1 current player
This was (in all likelihood) the best draft class under Kevin Colbert, and perhaps one of the best the Steelers have seen. Pittsburgh hit on All-Pro Maurkice Pouncey in the 1st round. Though Jason Worilds chose to retire at 26 years old, Pittsburgh more than made up for his departure. They landed Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders in the 2010 draft. Both receivers went on to have excellent NFL careers, though neither are members of the Steelers anymore.
2011: 1 current player
You couldn’t have done any better with the 31st overall pick than taking a player like Cameron Heyward. This class also provided a long-time starter at right tackle in Marcus Gilbert. The rest of the class, however, isn’t worth mentioning. Heyward remains as the only player from this class still on the Steelers.
2012: 1 current player
Pittsburgh got themselves an All-Pro offensive lineman, and perhaps one of the best they have had in their storied history. They also struck gold on 7th round draft choice, Kelvin Beachum. Everything else in between was okay at best and none of them are currently playing in the NFL. Just DeCastro remains on the Steelers.
2013: 1 current player
Remarkably, the only current player on the Steelers from the 2013 draft class is a former 6th round draft choice. Vince Williams found his way in Pittsburgh early, and never looked back. He remains a key part of the defense today. Jarvis Jones was one of the worst busts in Steelers history, and Le’Veon Bell did not leave the team on good terms.
2014: 3 current Steelers
This was a great draft class for Pittsburgh and would have been even better if Martavis Bryant could keep his head on straight. The Steelers got a very good linebacker in Ryan Shazier (who is still under contract), and a solid defensive staple in Stephon Tuitt. Dan McCullers still serves as a rotational piece in Pittsburgh, but his job is not secure for the 2019 season.
2015: 2 current Steelers
The 2015 draft class was very forgettable. The Steelers took Bud Dupree in the 1st round, but he still hasn’t panned out like they had hoped. 2nd round draft pick, Senquez Golson, never even saw the field in regular season action, and Sammie Coates flamed out early. The Steelers got two solid day three players in Anthony Chickillo and Jesse James. Just Dupree and Chickillo remain with the Steelers.
2016: 5 current Steelers
Five players remain with Pittsburgh from their 2016 draft. Though they didn’t land any stars in this draft class, they got a number of solid contributors. Sean Davis and Javon Hargrave were solid draft choices who are still on the rise, while Tyler Matakevich has been a special teams standout in his first three seasons. Artie Burns had a decent rookie year, but has gone downhill as of late and his spot isn’t secure, while Jerald Hawkins remains and is fighting for a roster spot in 2019.
2017: 6 current players
The 2017 draft class was incredible for Pittsburgh, and is probably second only to the 2010 draft class as the best they have had in the Mike Tomlin era. T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Conner have each made the Pro Bowl in their second NFL seasons, and appear to be headed for stardom. Josh Dobbs looked very promising last preseason, while Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen fight to remain a part of Pittsburgh’s secondary.
2018: 6 current players
There hasn’t been enough time to ditch some players from last years draft class. Six players remain – headlined by Terrell Edmunds and James Washington. Only 7th round draft choice, Joshua Frazier, is no longer with the team. He retired from the NFL this offsesaon.
2019: 9 current players
All 9 draft choices from this year are signed and willing to prove themselves in a Steelers uniform this season. Devin Bush stands to make the biggest impact, but players like Diontae Johnson, Justin Layne, and Benny Snell may have a chance to contribute early on.
Total since 2004: 36 current players
This doesn’t seem like a very large number considering that an NFL roster is made up of 53 players. However, 36 is more than some franchises could currently boast (though many of these players are from very recent years for the Steelers).
It is interesting to note that Pittsburgh has just 5 remaining players on the team who were drafted from 2004 to 2013. Longevity with one NFL team is not something we see a lot of in today’s NFL.
The Steelers were fortunate enough to have players like Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, and Heath Miller play their entire careers in Pittsburgh. Perhaps there will be a number of others that will follow suit.