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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3. FB Bob Ferguson, 1962 (#5)

The 1960s were one of the worst decades of football for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They only reached a winning record once in the decade, posting a -51 point differential in 1962 while finishing 9-5. Before that season, the Steelers selected fullback Bob Ferguson with the fifth overall pick. Ferguson was an All-American at Ohio State University and reportedly was never tackled for a loss in his collegiate career. He was drafted with top 10 selections by both the NFL and the AFL but accepted Pittsburgh’s offer to join the NFL.

Unfortunately, Ferguson was hampered by head injuries throughout his career, forcing him to end his professional career after only three years. He only appeared in 18 games for the Steelers, with three starts, before joining the Minnesota Vikings. He finished his career with the Dayton Colts of the Midwest Football League. To make matters worse, Ferguson was not the worst fullback selected by the Steelers in the top five during the 1960s. 

2. FB Dick Leftridge, 1966 (#3)

There’s a strong argument to be made that Dick Leftridge is the worst draft pick in the history of the  Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s certainly the frontrunner for the distinction in the “modern” era. Leftridge owns the prestigious honor of being the first African-American to play football at West Virginia University.

But his professional career is much less interesting. Leftridge was selected by the Steelers with the third overall pick of the 1966 NFL Draft, the first by head coach Bill Austin. But he only played in one more game than his draft slot. He left the Steelers and professional football with eight career carries for 17 yards.

To make matters worse, only three picks later, the Dallas Cowboys selected guard Tom Niland who played in 138 games, made nine Pro Bowls, and was a three-time First-Team All-Pro. It’s hard to argue whether Niland would have had the same success with the Steelers, but it’s not hard to argue that he would have been better than Ferguson.