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
6 of 6

#1 Jack Lambert, MLB

Chuck Noll, in 1974 needed a few final pieces to assemble a team that would win a championship. In the first round, he took Lynn Swann from USC. Then he drafted Jack Lambert for Kent State. If Jack Ham was the clean, polished kid, Lambert was the opposite. The grizzled-looking guy with a nasty personality.

It was one of those picks people scratched their heads over. He was too tall to play middle linebacker they said. The Steelers didn’t listen and found a way to take advantage of his size and athleticism. Bud Carson essentially created the Tampa Two defense (and was later named that when Tony Dungy employed it as the head coach for Tampa Bay), and the defense they designed gave Lambert to drop in coverage as needed or rush the quarterback.

We can have arguments about how great Lambert was, as some say Ham played the outside much better than Lambert did in the middle, but then again, Lambert transformed the middle linebacker position. He racked up 28 interceptions and 17 fumble recoveries, and 23.5 sacks. Lambert went to nine pro bowls and was a six-time all-pro and another huge reason they won four Superbowl. His interception in Superbowl XIV essentially clinched the win. It’s hard to not have Lambert ranked as the best second-round draft selection in Steelers history.

Next. Pittsburgh Steelers greatest late round draft gems of all time. dark

As time goes on, there will be future drafts that will always be a consideration for this list. In 2023 alone, you have Joey Porter Jr. and Keeanu Benton. George Pickens from 2022 could factor into the discussion, and, at some point, possibly Pat Freiermuth from the 2021 draft. Nevertheless, the Steelers generally can mine the NFL draft for juicy nuggets in the 2nd round.