Steelers Trades: Jeremy Staat was 'surprised' when Pittsburgh traded for his rights

Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett even told Jeremy Staat he wasn't a good fit after Pittsburgh executed a trade with the New York Jets for the 47th pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. The fact the Steelers took him anyway revealed a major disconnect within the team during that time period.

With the annual NFL Draft on the horizon, it brings to mind some maneuvering that paid huge dividends for all involved, while others just didn't pan out for any teams or the players who were traded.

PITTSBURGH -- In 1998, the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets swapped four picks during the NFL Draft and despite the 3-for-1 move neither team made out all that well.

The Steelers traded their second-, third- and fifth-round selections to get the Jets' third-round pick -- which they secured by sending defensive end Hugh Douglas to the Philadelphia Eagles after three seasons in New York -- and took Arizona State defensive lineman Jeremy Staat with the No. 47 overall choice. This was an odd move, because Staat was a four-three tackle for the Sun Devils, and the Steelers played a three-four defensive alignment.

"Sure, I was surprised that the Steelers picked me,'' Staat said. "I was more of a natural tackle, but they wanted me to be an end. I didn't think I played too badly for them, when I got a chance, but I don't believe I got too many chances. They really didn't give me a good shot.''

Staat noted that Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett even told him that he wasn't a good fit, which is even more curious. Staat played 29 games for the Steelers from 1998-2000 with just two starts and never recorded a sack. During the 1999 season, Staat played every game for the Steelers and had the two starts, but he didn't play well enough to stick with the club.

Staat also played a little ball for the Arena League and returned to the NFL in 2003 to play two games for the St. Louis Rams to secure a pension. But he never seemed to fit in with other NFL players and after his good friend and former college roommate, Pat Tillman, was killed overseas, Staat joined the U.S. Marine Corps and spent a tour in Iraq.

Through the Jeremy Staat Foundation, the former NFL player has made a bigger impact than he ever did on the football field. Staat speaks to children about life experiences and choices they can make and helps veterans through donations and charity events such as cycling across the country.

The Jets got little return in the three picks they received, and they lost Douglas -- a three-time Pro Bowl performer in five seasons with the Eagles. Washington State defensive end Dorian Boose was selected with the second-round pick. Kevin Williams, a safety from Oklahoma State, was taken in the third round. And Brigham Young offensive tackle Eric Bateman went in the fifth round.

Boose, who was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, spent three uneventful seasons with the Jets (1998-2000) and played 34 games, mostly on special teams. He went to the Washington Redskins in 2001 and also spent two seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2003-04.

Williams played 28 games for the Jets from 1998-2000, including 15 as a rookie with three starts (and one interception) but he also spent two games with the Miami Dolphins in 2000. In 2002, the Houston Texans signed him, and Williams played in 13 games as an extra defensive back and on special teams. He had 34 total tackles with seven solo stops that year, his final one in the NFL.

Bates never played a game in the NFL, but he spent time with the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe and in the XFL with the Las Vegas Outlaws.

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