3 first-round mistakes that continue to haunt the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have made plenty of questionable decisions on draft day, but these three mistakes continue to haunt them.

NFL Draft, Devin Bush
NFL Draft, Devin Bush / Frederick Breedon/GettyImages
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The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't become one of the most prestigious teams in NFL history by drafting poorly, but that doesn't mean that they are immune to making mistakes. Like all good franchises, the Steelers swing and miss on players at times. When they have, this has proven to set the team back from reaching their potential.

On particularly rough stretch came in late in Kevin Colbert's tenure as general manager. To stay fiercely competitive, Pittsburgh ignored the 'best player available' approach to fill major positions of need in the NFL Draft.

On occasion, the talent and the need would line up perfectly (like striking gold on T.J. Watt with the 30th overall pick in 2017). Unfortunately, this 'drafting for need' philosophy bit them hard at times, and the Steelers are still regretting these catastrophic first-round mistakes.

1. Trading up for Devin Bush in 2019

Because of the elite draft capital invested to make this selection, you could make the case that taking Devin Bush was the worst draft mistake Pittsburgh made in the modern era. Bush was not viewed as a bad prospect at the time, but the philosophy was head-scratching.

Sitting at pick 20, Colbert didn't believe that Bush was going to fall to him. In desperation and fear of missing out on one of the top two linebackers (LSU's Devin White being the other), Colbert traded up to the 10th overall pick and ran to the podium to turn their card in for Bush.

This was a costly decision. To move up this high in the draft forced Pittsburgh to hand over their first-round pick (20th overall) as well as their second-round pick in 2019 and a third-round pick in 2020.

The sting was amplified when Devin Bush didn't come close to living up to expectations. After a promising rookie season, Bush regressed and proved to be nothing close to the linebacker the Steelers thought they were getting. The worst part is knowing that this elite package of draft capital could have been used to build the foundation for this team.