Steelers biggest draft regrets over the past ten years
Drafting Burns over Howard in 2016
This list starts with 2016 (one of two years to have two regrets), with the Steelers making one of the most erogenous reaches when they drafted Artie Burns in the first. While the Steelers were desperate for CB help, Burns was a second-round prospect with athletic upside but a lot of technical issues. Worse yet, a higher rated prospect went just a few picks later to the Dolphins and has gone on to be a better pro.
That player is Xavien Howard, who the Dolphins got with the 38th pick. While Burns had the better rookie season, Howard has developed into a quality starter with serious ball skills. While both looked like raw prospects coming out of college, Howard was slightly more refined as a prospect, and although he would need development, seemed to have the higher upside of the two.
No one can blame the Steelers for targeting a CB (they used William Gay and Ross Cockrell as their starters that season), but the team was too focused on athleticism over ability and upside. Even Howard would have been considered a minor reach in the first, but he was farther along in his development than Burns. Had the Steelers hit, they could have escaped secondary purgatory sooner than last year once they finally got Burns off the field.