Steelers 3 biggest draft busts in Pittsburgh’s franchise history

Jarvis Jones #95 of the Pittsburgh Steelers . (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jarvis Jones #95 of the Pittsburgh Steelers . (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Dan Marino #13 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers stands behind center Jim Sweeney #53 (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Gabriel Rivera, DL (1983, Round 1)

Rivera was a very promising prospect and the future of the outgoing Steel Curtain defense. Legends of the team were retiring and it was rebuild time for this once-dominant team. Rivera was seen as one of the best defensive linemen in the class and Chuck Noll wanted to follow his past success with building around a great defense. No one can see the future and unfortunately, Rivera made a very bad decision to drink and drive one night early in his rookie season and got into a car crash. He would be paralyzed and never play the game again. He was starting to play well with getting two sacks over his first six games. Because of his fateful decision to drive that night, his career was over and it always had the Steel City asking, what if?

A couple of picks later, Pittsburgh native Dan Marino was selected by the Dolphins. Who knows what could have happened if the Steelers chose to build around Marino rather than selecting Rivera. It has weighed heavily on the minds of fans as the black and gold could’ve taken a future Hall of Famer that is from the city. He even played at the University of Pittsburgh and led them to many successful seasons. One can only wonder if Marino was chosen, could the Steelers have won more Super Bowls in the 80s and or 90s? The world will never have the answer to that question. Rivera would later pass away in 2018, it was a sad situation all around as that terrible mistake of drinking and driving cost so much.

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It is not always easy to find and develop talent and these three all had different issues that caused them to fall out of the league. Some had injury issues, some did not care to get in shape, and others made a tragic decision one night.