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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14. Artie Burns, 2016 first-round pick (TIED)

Based on my ranking, Artie Burns is tied for the second to last worst pick, and it is the only tie on this entire list. Thus, I made a judgment call, and while Artie Burns had a decent rookie season, his fall from grace makes him the next worst pick on this list. I opted to place him in this lowly spot.

Burns's draft story is almost as infamous as his play in Pittsburgh. The Steelers had keyed in on most major cornerbacks given their need at the position. Specifically, they wanted William Jackson, but the Bengals took him one pick sooner. The team seemingly scrambled and took their next-best cornerback on their board in Burns.

Burns was an underdeveloped prospect that had the size and athleticism of a top prospect. His technique was raw, but Pittsburgh was hoping he would overcome it. His rookie season made it seem like that could happen. Burns was productive, and while he had a few mistakes, he seemed poised to make a leap in his next season.

That never materialized, as Burns fell apart in his second season and was benched by year three. A decent start never got improved upon, and Burns was let go after his contract expired. He has bounced around as a reserve since, and his play was akin to what he ended up offering the Steelers, which certainly isn’t worth a first-round pick.