The Steelers selected a Running Back in the first round of the 1979 draft who just did not ‘pan out’
Following our Super Bowl victory in 1978, the Steelers selected a RB out of Baylor in the first round of the 1979 NFL draft. Greg Hawthorne, the aforementioned RB whom we drafted in the first round, played with us for five seasons.
Throughout those five seasons, Hawthorne played in 59 games, starting 11 of them, had 136 rushing attempts, amassed 522 rushing yards, scored 7 TDs, had 55 receptions for 710 yards and added 3 receiving TDs.
I don’t know about you, but I would say that those statistics are very underwhelming. I would also say that Hawthorne was a RB who may have better in the passing game than he was in the running game, but you can’t ignore the fact that he was a first-round pick.
Maybe it wasn’t his fault that he was seemingly unproductive, but, again he was a first-round pick of the Super Bowl champion Steelers. While it was not the norm for rookies or even second-year players to start back then, it was not unheard of either.
Listed at 6’2″ and 228 LBS, Hawthorne was by no means a ‘scatback’ type of RB; he was in the same mold as Franco Harris, sans the production. Hawthorne was so underwhelming as a RB that the Steelers drafted another RB three seasons later.
That’s a nice segue into the next player on our list.