5 best value picks for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the Kevin Colbert era

Defensive lineman Brett Keisel #99 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Defensive lineman Brett Keisel #99 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /
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William Gay #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

4. William Gay, Round 5

William Gay was a longtime Steelers cornerback and was clearly a steal in the draft for Kevin Colbert. The Louisville product was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 class, with the 170th overall pick. This was Mike Tomlin’s first draft partnered with Colbert and was a successful one as they selected Lawrence Timmons and Lamarr Woodley in the first two rounds, and then bolstered the secondary late in the draft finding a hidden gem in Gay.

Gay spent 11 years in the NFL, 10 of which were in Pittsburgh, one in Arizona. During his time in Pittsburgh, Gay appeared in 160 games, starting 86 of them, and tallying 11 interceptions, 520 tackles, 5 defensive touchdowns, 6 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 81 pass deflections, according to Pro Football Reference.

Early in his career, Gay was mostly a slot cornerback as he spent time behind Ike Taylor, and a combination of Deshea Townsend and Bryant McFadden, while making some starts. However, after he returned from Arizona following the 2012 season, Gay was a regular starter. His second stint with the Steelers came when the Steelers were severely lacking in the secondary, and his presence was integral as he was the steadiest presence for several years when the Steelers had some weak cornerback play.

Gay was a Super Bowl XLIII champion with the Steelers and even returned to the team as a coaching intern in 2019, before moving to college football. Anytime a late-round pick lasts past a first contract the pick can be seen as a massive success, and Gay more than surpassed that.