Ranking every Steelers first-round draft pick of the Mike Tomlin era

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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The Steelers have a long history of building through the draft. In order to successfully do this, you need to be able to land impactful and talented players early in the draft. This fills needs and keeps the roster strong. In recent years, it also keeps the roster cheaper, as rookies tend to be on cheaper contracts than established veterans.

I wanted to take the time to rank the first-round picks of the Mike Tomlin era as we head into this next draft. While rosters are built with more than just first-round picks, missing on the top selection can set the team back. Those picks are naturally the most valuable, and consistently missing on them is damaging.

I’ve compiled all 15 first-round picks of the Mike Tomlin era and ranked them in order from worst to best. There is an analytical element to this, as I took into account their stats with the Steelers, awards, and longevity with the team. This is a personal list, so I also added my personal belief about how the player was for the team. This gave me a final grade out of 100.

Important to note, even though they are newer in their Steelers career, Najee Harris and Kenny Pickett are ranked on this list. Their grades were adjusted to not focus on the longevity with the team (since they are still on their rookie deals).

Finally, any name on this list that isn’t retired could still feasibly see their rank increase. This is especially true of Harris and Pickett, but Cameron Heyward can continue to climb while the likes of Bud Dupree and Terrell Edmunds could see their ranking rise if they were to return to the team.

With all of that said, here is my ranking of every first-round pick of the Tomlin era.