5 worst Steelers draft picks of the Kevin Colbert era
The Steelers drafted a running back to replace ‘Fast Willie’ Parker, but was he the right choice?
In the first round of the 2008 NFL draft, the Steelers selected Rashard Mendenhall, RB out of Illinois, to ostensibly become the heir apparent to ‘Fast Willie’ Parker, an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina, whom the Steelers signed in 2004.
Over six seasons, Parker would become a two-time Pro Bowler as well as a two-time Super Bowl champ; not too shabby for an undrafted free agent. Mendenhall, over five seasons, would become a Super Bowl champ once, having made no Pro Bowls during his Steelers tenure.
The reason why I state that Mendenhall is a ‘miss’ is this: Drafted with the very next pick was someone who ran a 4.24 second 40-yard dash-Chris Johnson, who would go on to become a three-time Pro Bowler, a one-time All-Pro and would be named the 2009 Offensive Player of the Year.
Oh, and Johnson rushed for at least 1000 yards in six consecutive seasons; Mendenhall amassed only two 1000 yard rushing seasons. Now I know what some of you may be thinking: ‘You can’t compare a player the Steelers drafted to a player we didn’t draft’.
To that, I would say this: For a team that would eventually have to replace a running back whose nickname was ‘Fast Willie’, would it not stand to reason to draft another fast running back? Mendenhall was a good running back for us, but he was not as fast as Johnson. He was also not as productive as Johnson. If the Steelers wanted to draft a running back in the first round, Johnson would have been a better choice.
Let’s continue to take a look at some of the other ‘misses’ drafted under Colbert.