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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3. Panicking with the Artie Burns pick in 2016

Mike Tomlin nor Kevin Colbert will ever come out and say it, but I am fully convinced that this team hit the panic button when they were on the clock with the 25th overall pick in 2016. Throughout the pre-draft process, it was easy to see that the Pittsburgh Steelers had their hearts set on drafting a cornerback they could pair with William Gay.

That's exactly what they ended up doing... but it wasn't the guy they wanted. The Steelers seemed to be enthralled with Houston's William Jackson III. Jackson was a long, gritty cornerback who fit what the team was looking for in a CB1 on the outside of their defense.

However, when Jackson was snatched up by the Bengals just one pick prior to being on the clock, the Steelers had to dig down their draft board for the next best option at the position. To them, it was Miami's Artie Burns.

Everyone thought this was a reach at the time, and they proved to be correct. Though Burns had quality size and good speed, he was viewed as a Day 2 prospect who ended up going too high in the draft.

Burns started 9 games as a rookie and emerged as a full-time starter in Year 2, but the results were far from desirable. Early in his third season in 2018, Burns was benched and never reclaimed his starting job. In his fourth season (the final year of his rookie contract) Burns was a healthy scratch for the team over their final six games of the season.

The Steelers got tunnel-vision and were so set on drafting a cornerback with their first pick in 2016 that they ignored better prospects who were on the board with the 25th overall pick like DT Kenny Clark, DL Chris Jones, and LB Myles Jack. Even their cornerback evaluation was off, as players like Xavien Howard and James Bradberry went one round after Burns -- both of whom proved to have excellent NFL careers.

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