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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#5 John Henry Johnson, FB

Ok, this is a weird one, not because of his talent but because of how his career unfolded. The Steelers drafted him in the 2nd round in the 1953 draft; however, he never played for the Steelers until 1960. How can that be, you ask? When drafted in 1953, he opted for the Canadian football league because the money was better. He then returned to the NFL in 1954 with the San Francisco 49ers and was traded to Detroit in 1957. Detroit traded him to Pittsburgh in 1960.

He was already having a good career before joining the Steelers. In his pre-Steelers days, he rushed for a total of 2196 yards, only averaging 366 rushing yards a season. When he got to the Steelers, he rushed for 4381 yards in six seasons, averaging 730.16 yards a season and scoring 26 touchdowns. Add two that another 106 receptions for 814 yards for another six touchdowns.

He was a powerhouse player for the Steelers back in the day when they had horrible teams in general. He did make the prowl bowl three times as a Steeler. If he had not been traded to the Steelers, one could say he would not have had the chance to be as productive as he was; it might be easy to say he might not have made the Hall of Fame. Though it might be interesting to see how his career would have panned out if he had started playing for the Steelers in 1953 when they drafted him.

#4 Dermontti Dawson, C

The Steelers drafted Demontti Dawson in the 2nd round in 1988 while they still had Mike Webster. Then Webster finally left the Steelers in 1989. Leaving Dawson as the Steelers first new center since 1974, although Webster never started until 1976 but did not miss a game for 13 seasons. Having to come in and fill the shoes of Webster would be hard for any player. Webster, if anything, was known for his durability.

The Steelers somehow found lightning in a bottle twice. Assuming starting duties in 1989, Dawson went on to play in 160 consecutive games. The Steelers only had two centers over 25 seasons (three, if you count, whoever had starting duties in 1974 and 1975). That’s overly impressive. Dawson then also played in seven pro bowls and was a six-time all-pro. Not long after, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. One might wonder how he misses being number one on this list; because there are still three impressive players ahead of him.