Steelers biggest draft reliefs over the past ten years

Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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Javon Hargrave Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Going with Hargrave over Billings in 2016

Heading into the 2016 draft, the Steelers had a massive hole at NT. Steve McClendon had signed with the Jets, and they only had Daniel McCullers on their roster (sounds familiar…). The Steelers were heavily linked to Baylor NT Andrew Billings due to his stout frame and run-stopping ability. Some projections even had Billings pegged as a first-round pick, but instead, he fell to the Bengals in the fourth rounds.

The Steelers opted to draft Javon Hargrave in the third round instead that year. A lot of fans were critical of this due to Hargrave’s small school status and Billing’s higher draft rankings, yet is far and away turned out to be the better move. While Billings has become a solid run-stopper, Hargrave is emerging as an elite all-around defender, as evident by his 39 million dollar deal he signed with the Eagles this offseason.

While the pick seemed puzzling at the time due to Billings still being on the board, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers being upset with the outcome of their pick. Hargrave became a valuable piece on this defensive line, getting after the QB and taking up space in the running game. He was a gem for us, and one the team has little regrets over drafting.