Our drafts since 2002 - successes and failures





Hey guys, I did a little research on and found out some interesting stuff about our drafts during the last several years.  My analysis at the end may come off as being critical of Colbert, but I think Colbert is great.  We have won two Superbowls since he has been here and we are good year in and year out.  That being said, it is really interesting to look at who we have drafted lately and the success that they had.


For convenience I will break this up into guys drafted in rounds 1-2 and guys drafted in rounds 3-7.  I have omitted guys drafted in 2008 because I think it is too early to judge their performance.


Here are our 1st and 2nd rounders between 2002 and 2007:


Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

1            15            Lawrence Timmons            LB            Florida State

2            46            LaMarr Woodley            LB            Michigan



Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

1            25            Santonio Holmes            WR            Ohio State



Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

1            30            Heath Miller            TE            Virginia

2            62            Bryant McFadden            DB            Florida State



Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

1            11            Ben Roethlisberger            QB            Miami (Ohio)

2            38            Ricardo Colclough            CB            Tusculum



Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

1            16            Troy Polamalu                        DB            USC

2            59            Alonzo Jackson            LB            Florida State



Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

1            30            Kendall Simmons            G            Auburn

2            62            Antwaan Randle El            WR            Indiana


The first thing that one notices about the listed players above is that they are really good.  There are only two “busts” in this group: Alonzo Jackson and Ricardo Colclough.  Everyone else was a major contributor or starter on one or both of our Superbowl teams.  Based on the list above I believe Colbert has excellent judgment in drafting 1st and 2nd rounders.


Here are our 3rd round and after between 2002 and 2007:


2007 - 6

Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

3            77            Matt Spaeth            TE            Minnesota

4            112            Daniel Sepulveda            P            Baylor

4            132            Ryan McBean            DE            Oklahoma State

5            156            Cameron Stephenson            G            Rutgers

5            170            William Gay            CB            Louisville

7            227            Dallas Baker            WR            Florida


2006 - 8

Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

3            83            Anthony Smith            DB            Syracuse

3            95            Willie Reid            WR            Florida State

4            131            Willie Colon            T            Hofstra

4            133            Orien Harris            DT            Miami (Fla.)

5            164            Omar Jacobs            QB            Bowling Green State

5            167            Charles Davis            TE            Purdue

6            201            Marvin Philip            C            California

7            240            Cedric Humes            RB            Virginia Tech

2005 - 6

Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

3            93            Trai Essex            T            Northwestern

4            131            Fred Gibson            WR            Georgia

5            166            Rian Wallace            LB            Temple

6            204            Chris Kemoeatu            G            Utah

7            228            Shaun Nua            DE            Brigham Young

7            244            Noah Herron            RB            Northwestern


2004 - 6

Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

3            75            Max Starks            T            Florida

5            145            Nathaniel Adibi            DE            Virginia Tech

6            177            Bo Lacy            T            Arkansas

6            194            Matt Kranchick            TE            Penn State

6            197            Drew Caylor            C            Stanford

7            212            Eric Taylor            DT            Memphis


2003 - 3

Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

4            125            Ike Taylor            CB            Louisiana-Lafayette

5            163            Brian St. Pierre            QB            Boston College

7            242            J.T. Wall


2002 - 6

Rd            Sel #            Player            Position            School

3            94            Chris Hope            DB            Florida State

4            128            Larry Foote            ILB            Michigan

5            166            Verron Haynes            RB            Georgia

6            202            Lee Mays            WR            Texas-El Paso

7            212            LaVar Glover            CB            Cincinnati

7            242            Brett Keisel            DE            Brigham Young



Clearly, there are some contributors on here too, but I am amazed at the attrition rate.  There are 35 guys on this list.  Here are the ones who have received decent amounts of playing time for the Steelers:


Hope, Foote, Haynes, Keisel, Taylor, Starks, Kemo, Essex, Colon, Anthony Smith, Spaeth and Gay.  12 guys.


Of those 12 who have played I think the following guys have played well:

Hope, Foote, Haynes, Keisel, Taylor, Starks and Gay. 7 guys


The others have either struggled to find PT or been mediocre: Essex and Kemo

Or have flat-out stunk up the joint:  Colon, Smith and Spaeth.


Basically in those 35 picks we got 7 good football players.  From 2004-2007 we have got 2 good players out of 26 picks in the later rounds.  I haven’t compiled similar totals for other teams, but I can’t imagine that 2/26 is very good over a 4 year period. 


I will concede that both Anthony Smith and Willie Reid were talented football players, and I had no problem with either of those picks at the time.  I despised the Spaeth, Sepulveda and Dennis Dixon picks.


Given our recent (2004-present) failures in drafting talent in the later rounds I am very surprised that we traded down rather than up in this years draft.  Perhaps salary cap restraints deterred us from taking on the more expensive contracts that 1st and 2nd round picks usually command.  Perhaps this year we feel that there is a ton of talent available in round 3.  Still, given the excellent track record of our management in selecting quality players in rounds 1 and 2, I would have expected us to try to maximize the number of selections we have in those rounds, rather than minimize them.  I think Hood was a good pickup.  BPA and at a position of need, he also won’t just be given a starting job either; he will have to earn it over time.  IMO, that is good for a player’s development.


To wrap things up, I hope we have done a better job scouting late-round talent this year than in the recent past.  OK that’s enough rambling from me.  What do you think?


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