Looking at the Steelers draft history for Pittsburgh’s top needs
We have already lined out the top NFL draft needs for the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into the offseason. And we have taken a stab at filling those needs in our latest seven-round mock draft. But when it comes to the draft, trends are real and we need to look back at the history of the Steelers drafts to see how likely it is for Pittsburgh to use their first-round pick on one of those spots.
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The Steelers last drafted an inside linebacker in the first round in 2019 with the debacle that was the Devin Bush trade. The move was ill-fated from the beginning and Bush has turned out to be perhaps the biggest bust of the Kevin Colbert era.
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It seems like a given the Steelers will draft an offensive tackle in the first round this season but history says otherwise. You have to go all the way back to 1996 when the Steelers drafted Jamain Stephens for the last time it happened. And unfortunately, Stephens turned out to be a bust as well.
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The Steelers have drafted plenty of defensive linemen early going back through history but for a true interior defensive tackle as a first-round pick, you look to 2001 when the Steelers draft the iconic Casey Hampton. If Pittsburgh could get another Hampton in this draft, it would be huge for the franchise.
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The Steelers went nearly 20 years without drafting a cornerback in the first round when they spent a top pick on Artie Burns in 2016. Burns was yet another first-round bust. In fact the only cornerback the Steelers have drafted that actually turned out in recent memory is Cameron Sutton who was a third-round pick.
The Steelers are known for finding great wide receivers outside of the first round so we don’t look for them to change that formula. But for reference, the last first-round receiver the Steelers took a chance on was in 2006 with Santonio Holmes. Holmes had a solid career with the Steelers and will forever be known as the player who made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history.
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Drafting an edge rusher in the first round has been a mixed bag for the Steelers in recent years. But forgetting about Bud Dupree and Jarvis Jones, we look at the choice of T.J. Watt in the first round in 2017 as one of the best Steelers picks in the last decade.