Steelers trades: Troy Edwards a lesson in college production not matching pro ability

The Steelers missed out on three wide receivers before selecting Troy Edwards with the 13th overall pick in 1999. They got pennies in return for him just a few years later.

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 -- The Pittsburgh Steelers hit the big time when they selected future franchise quarterback Terry Bradshaw from tiny Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La. with the No. 1 overall pick during the 1970 NFL Draft.

The club attempted to find another gem from the Bulldogs football program in North-Central Louisiana when it selected speedy wideout Troy Edwards with the 13th overall pick in the first round during the 1999 NFL Draft. The Steelers believed they found one in Edwards, among the most prolific college receivers.

This draft wasn't loaded with wideouts, as the St. Louis Rams selected Torry Holt from North Carolina State with the No. 6 overall pick after three quarterbacks and two running backs were taken 1-5. After the Washington Redskins picked cornerback Champ Bailey from Georgia at No. 7, the Arizona Cardinals made Ohio State wideout David Boston the No. 8 pick.

Edwards was the next receiver taken, but he was far more productive than the others in college. He hauled in 10 touchdown catches as a sophomore at Louisiana Tech, but went wild the following season with 102 catches for 1,707 yards and 17 touchdowns. And as a senior in 1998, Edwards started strong with 21 receptions for 405 yards against defending national champ Nebraska and kept on rolling. He finished with 140 catches (11.5 per game) for 1,996 yards and an amazing 27 touchdowns.

His production in the NFL never approached his college numbers, even though Edwards had a decent rookie season with 61 catches for 744 yards and five touchdowns. He tallied just 18 and 19 catches, respectively, during the 2000-2001 seasons with no touchdowns. The Steelers picked wideout Plaxico Burress with their first-round pick in 2000, so Edwards was expendable. They sent him to the Rams for a future sixth-round pick.

Edwards had 18 catches and two touchdowns for the Rams in 2002, but moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-04 and tallied 85 total catches for 1,020 yards and four touchdowns. He played in just three games for the Detroit Lions in 2005 and had two catches for 15 yards and no scores. So, his NFL totals of 203 catches for 2,404 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven seasons and 92 games was less than one-fourth of his production in three college years.

The future pick the Steelers received in the sixth round in 2004 turned into former Penn State tight end Matt Kranchick, and he lasted just three NFL seasons. But Kranchick rarely played, just six games for the steelers from 2004-05, two for the New York Giants, also in 2005, and none for the New England Patriots in 2006. Kranchick had just one career catch for six yards during his one start for the steelers in 2005.

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