Steelers 2014 draft picks: Steelers have six selections in rounds 4-7

Streeter Lecka

It's an area of the draft in which the Steelers have been much colder than hot over the last few years. While there are a few steals in that time, there are a lot more Ryan McBeans than Cortez Allens.

Steelers 2014 Draft Picks:
1:15 (No. 15 overall)
2:14 (No. 46 overall)
3:COMP (No. 97 overall)
4:18 (No. 118 overall)
5:17 (No. 157 overall)
5:COMP (No. 173 overall)
6:16 (No. 193 overall)
6:COMP (No. 215 overall)
7:15 (No. 231 overall)

It's a good draft to have six selections in the 118-231 range.

One of the biggest challenges the Steelers have had in the draft over the last five seasons has been identifying depth in the later rounds, let alone starters. The Steelers built a foundation for future success with picks like Jason Gildon in 1994 with the 88th pick. In 2008, they selected Bruce Davis with that same pick.

Along with that, they took a player like Keenan Lewis with the 96th overall pick in 2009, then took Curtis Brown with the 95th overall pick in 2011. Neither player is currently on the Steelers' roster, Lewis departed via free agency, and Brown was released earlier in March after what was basically a special teams career.

A franchise building block was found in defensive end Aaron Smith at pick No. 109 in 1999. A franchise embarrassment was not only found at 109 with the selection of Alameda Ta'amu, but the Steelers traded a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft for the pleasure of watching Ta'amu not play for the Steelers, get arrested and suspended and eventually earn a release.

Hope still exists for safety Shamarko Thomas, taken with the 111th pick in 2013 (and listening to many, they'll have you believe the Steelers are actually selecting him in the third round of the 2014 draft). Certainly an attention-grabbing means of selection, but not nearly as much as Dan Sepulveda was, the 112th pick of the 2007 draft.

So many mid-round picks fail to make themselves into anything, and we're quick to remember the ones that do. But considering the Steelers used to make an art of getting a starter from middle round picks, the recent misses or general lack of development has helped put the team in a .500-range funk. It used to be picks No. 128 and 131 were Larry Foote and Willie Colon. Right around the same time, they turned into Ryan McBean (132, 2007) and Orien Harris (133, 2006). There's some hope in Cortez Allen (128, 2011), but Tony Hills (130, 2008) is still staring them in the face.

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