The Steelers took a Safety in the 11th round of the 1971 NFL draft who proved to be invaluable
When the Steelers spent an 11th round pick on a Safety from Western Illinois in the 1971 NFL draft, I am fairly certain we thought we were getting a player who would end his career being a positive contributor to the team’s success.
I would go so far as to say that Mike Wagner, the Safety from Western Illinois, was not only a positive contributor to the Steeler’s success during the decade of the 70s, he was an integral member of those Super Bowl-winning teams.
Wagner played in 119 games in his 10 seasons with the Steelers, starting 116 of those contests. Not only did Wagner play in 119 games, but he also played both Strong Safety and Free Safety over his career. Let’s not forget that Wagner started 12 games as a rookie.
To me, that showcased his versatility during an era where there really was not a whole lot of changing of positions occurring. The previously mentioned Larry Brown was another example of position versatility.
Wagner was named to the Pro Bowl only twice in his career, despite recording 36 INTs, 12 fumble recoveries, and being part of four Super Bowl-winning teams. I often think Wagner gets overlooked not only because he played on the Steelers teams of the 70s, but because he played the same position as Donnie Shell and Troy Polamalu.
Let’s keep the train going.