10 all-time greatest Pittsburgh Steelers second-round picks in the NFL Draft

Oct 1, 1961; Los Angeles, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ernie Stautner (70)
Oct 1, 1961; Los Angeles, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ernie Stautner (70) / David Boss-USA TODAY Sports
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#7  Levon Kirkland, LB

How can Kirkland not be considered for this list? Bill Cowhers 2nd round pick in his first NFL draft, and he found a gold nugget right off the bat. Kirkland went off to play 144 games for the Steelers, starting 124. He played in two pro bowls and was a one-time all-pro. By some, he's considered one best Steelers linebackers of the ‘90s. He had 11 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, one for a touchdown, and 18.5 sacks. Add to that 849 combined tackles and 531 solo tackles.

He was a dominant linebacker for Bill Cowher and a significant reason they made it to Superbowl XXX. Where does he rank among all-time great linebackers for the Steelers? He would arguably have to be considered in the top 10. Nonetheless, he is one of the best Steelers draft choices to come out of the 2nd round.

#6 Carnell Lake, DB

Honestly, Carnell Lake is probably one of the most underrated safeties to play in the NFL; for a player that made five pro bowl appearances was a one-time all-pro. Chuck Noll found him in the second round in 1989 and drafted him to give Rod Woodson more help in the secondary. He certainly provided much need help, no doubt about it.

He played 10 seasons, starting 154 games, only missing six games in that span. He had 16 interceptions returning three for touchdowns. Add to that 15 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries, and two additional fumble recoveries for a touchdown. He had 732 combined tackles but is only credited with 361 solo tackles. He had way more solo tackles, but solo tackles were not an official stat until 1994; thus, we don’t know how many solo tackles he had in the first five years of his career.

Lake's performance and playing in the same backfield as Rod Woodson and the Steelers having Levon Kirkland helps explain why the defense helped propel them to Superbowl 30 in 1995. He would also have to be considered one of the unsung heroes of the Steelers. He deserves more recognition from the NFL, for sure.