Top 10 worst Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks of all-time

Jarvis Jones New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
Jarvis Jones New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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8. CB Artie Burns, 2016 (#25)

Many of you expected this player to be higher on the list. But the fact of the matter is that while Artie Burns struggled as a starting cornerback, he actually played out his rookie deal and remained in the NFL. Was he over-drafted? Certainly, and that’s part of the legend of Burns.

The Steelers were extremely high on William Jackson III out of Houston, but the Cincinnati Bengals sniped him away one pick early. Pittsburgh panicked and drafted Burns to aid a barren cornerback room featuring Antwon Blake, Ross Cockrell, and an aged William Gay. 

Burns played in all 16 games as a rookie, started 9, and intercepted three passes while breaking up 13 more. He became a full-time starter in 2017 and recorded 13 PBUs again, but only one interception. At the start of the season, Joe Haden signed with the Steelers, which should have taken some of the pressure off Burns, but he still struggled. He was essentially benched in 2018, starting five of the first six games and only getting one start near the end of the year. 

After signing Steven Nelson in 2019, the Steelers did not pick up Burns’ fifth-year option, and he only appeared in 10 more games with one start for Pittsburgh. He signed with the Chicago Bears in the 2020 offseason but missed the entire year due to injury. In 2021, he signed the Bears again, playing in 11 games with six starts. He then signed with the Seahawks in 2022 but only appeared in 3 games before becoming a free agent again this offseason.

It’s difficult to imagine a world where Burns became a lockdown corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still, maybe if he had a better secondary around him with lower expectations, he could have been less of a disappointment.