Grading each Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft pick in the Mike Tomlin era

Lawrence Timmons was Mike Tomlin's first draft pick in 2007.
Lawrence Timmons was Mike Tomlin's first draft pick in 2007. / Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/GettyImages
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2017-2022 First-Round Draft Choice Grades

2017: A+
1 (30). T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
Pre-Draft Measurables: 6-4, 252, 4.69 40-yard, 37-inch vertical, 21 Bench
Entering his seventh season, Watt is already considered one of the best defensive players in Steelers history. Through 87 career games (and 87 career starts), he has totaled 77.5 sacks and six interceptions. The 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been named first-team All-Pro three times and has made five trips to the Pro Bowl. He tied the NFL single-season sack record with 22.5 in 2021 but only finished with 5.5 last season while missing seven games due to injury.

2018: C
1 (28). Terrell Edmunds, SS, Virginia Tech
Pre-Draft Measurables: 6-1, 217, 4.47 40-yard, 41.5-inch vertical, 32 ¾-inch arms
The Steelers shocked a lot of draft analysts and loyal fans when they selected Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was rated by most to be a second or third round pick. Still, Edmunds provided solid yet unspectacular play for Pittsburgh over his five years with the team, all as a starter. He recently signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles and has played 79 career games with 5.0 sacks and five career interceptions.

2019: D-
1 (10). Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan
Pre-Draft Measurables: 5-11, 234, 4.43 40-yard, 40.5-inch vertical, 21 Bench
The Steelers moved up to 10th overall to draft Bush, whom they thought could finally be the one to replace the injured Ryan Shazier. Bush played great as a rookie, making 15 starts and posting 109 total tackles (109 solo) along with two interceptions and four passes defended.

However, Bush suffered a torn ACL in the fifth game of the 2020 campaign and was never the same after that. He recently signed a free agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks after starting two years for the Steelers and playing in 52 career games. He finished his Steelers career with 4.0 sacks and two interceptions, along with 286 total tackles.

2020: No First-Round Draft Choice
Pittsburgh traded their first-round pick to the Miami Dolphins the year prior, in exchange for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Wide Receiver Chase Claypool was the Steelers’ first pick of the draft at number 49 overall (second round). He was traded to the Chicago Bears midway through last season.

2021: B
1 (24). Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Pre-Draft Measurables: 6-2, 230
The Steelers needed a running back and were happy to draft Harris, who has started all 34 games in his two-year NFL career. He has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Overall, Harris has 579 career rushes for 2,234 yards and 14 TDs, while adding 115 receptions for 696 yards and six touchdowns in his first two seasons.

2022: B
1 (20). Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Pre-Draft Measurables: 6-3, 217, 4.73 40-yard, 33.5-inch vertical
Following the retirement of legendary quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers looked next door to the University of Pittsburgh to find his replacement. Pickett made his Steelers debut in the second half of week four against the New York Jets and quickly made an impact with two rushing touchdowns. He went on to throw for over 300 yards in his first career start (at Buffalo) the next week.

Next. 15 all-time greatest draft picks in Pittsburgh Steelers history. dark

Picket went through rookie growing pains until the last half of the season but kept getting better as the season wore on. He capped off the 2022 campaign with back-to-back weeks of throwing the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining in weeks 16 and 17. Overall, Pickett threw for over 2,400 yards and seven touchdowns and looks like he’s the quarterback of the future for the Steelers.