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
4 of 16

13. Evander Hood, 2009 first-round pick (TIED)

While he had an identical score as Burns did, I opted to place Evander “Ziggy” Hood a spot higher. This is due to his consistency as a player. While I would argue that Burns had a better rookie season than any of Hood’s years with the team, he also never suffered the lows that Burns experienced.

Hood was a similarly consistent player at Missouri, racking up steady, never-gaudy stats. The Steelers went into that offseason with two established, but older defensive ends. Retooling the group was a wise move, and Hood would be given the necessary time to develop behind some talented veterans.

While he tested as a good athlete, Hood was on the smaller size for defensive ends in the Steelers scheme. The team has utilized bigger bodies there in the past, and Hood broke that mold. While more of a nose tackle build, he didn’t take up enough space on plays to b effective there. Instead, he had to play either of the end positions for the team.

He never developed much because of it and after five seasons of below-average play, the Steelers allowed Hood to walk into free agency. While he didn’t turn into a redemption story by any means, Hood did hang around as a reserve for quite a few more seasons. That is another testament to his steady, but mediocre, play.

Had Hood been able to string together a few highlights and carve out a few average seasons, he would be far higher up on this list. Consistency is a good thing, but when that consistency is below-average play, it makes it hard to rank Hood much higher than this.