A draft is more about adding talent for the future than it is adding it to the present. The result of the Steelers' drafts since 2008 have been more negative than positive, but each round appears to have a different reason based on the decisions the team has made. We explore each round and get to the root problem of each one. Read the first round analysis here.
Round 2: Misses
Heartburn is generated from looking at the list of Steelers' second round draft picks since 2008.
2008 - Limas Sweed
2009 - None
2010 - Jason Worilds
2011 - Marcus Gilbert
2012 - Mike Adams
2013 - Le'Veon Bell
This list is so incredibly diverse, the last one chosen, Bell, is probably the best, with the second (Worilds) and third (Gilbert) not having earned a long-term extension and the lack of a selection in 2009 is better right now than the bottom two (Adams and Sweed).
Of the seven draft rounds since 2008, this one is by far stocked with the most significant fails. Sweed will live forever in the minds of Steelers fans as a flat-out bust, one who gave us so many tantalizing glimpses of potential.
Arguably the safest move the Steelers made in this round, in fact, was trading down with Denver in 2009. The Broncos apparently had to have tight end Richard Quinn, who is currently out of football with one career catch for nine yards. Denver cut him after two seasons there. Pittsburgh had also dealt its fourth round pick in the deal, giving the Steelers two third round picks that year. They selected Mike Wallace and Kraig Urbik (Ed. note: more on the third round Thursday).
Worilds was largely considered a reach in 2010, with the urban legend floating around that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin all but pounded his shoe on the war room table demanding they select the Virginia Tech edge player. Until the second half of the 2013 season, Worilds had shown little more than the ability to be a capable back-up player. He came on big time over that span, earned at worst a one-year big-money deal with the Steelers under the transition tag and looks to land a long-term deal with the team. He would become only the second Steelers second-round pick to earn a multi-year contract extension of the 12 players Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has drafted in his time with the team (nine of those 12 either reached the end of their rookie contracts, or had them terminated, and 2005 second-round pick Bryant McFadden and 2002 second-round pick Antwaan Randle-El left before coming back to Pittsburgh).
Gilbert has become the very definition of passable starter. He's bounced between the left side and right side, never having shown the ability to become a dominant player, but has plenty of evidence suggesting he's a decent enough NFL starter. His future is in question, however, as injuries have plagued him in each season except 2011, his rookie year. His performance this year will greatly impact the amount of money he's able to command next year.
Gilbert's counterpart, 2012 second-round pick Mike Adams, has been far more drama than dominator. He miserably failed the team's experiment with him at left tackle through the team's first four games of the 2013 season - a stretch of play in which pretty much every member of the organization failed in some way. He played solid football as a right tackle his rookie year, but hit the bench after a disastrous four-sacks-allowed performance against the Minnesota Vikings, the Steelers' fourth consecutive loss to open the year. He didn't see the field as a starter again, and has already been passed on the depth chart by fellow 2012 draft classmate, seventh-round pick Kelvin Beachum.
Both Adams and Gilbert will get to play with their third offensive line coach in the last three years, as Mike Munchak is replacing Jack Bicknell Jr., who replaced Sean Kugler in 2012.
Bell appears to be the golden child of a rough string of picks. After setting a Steelers' rookie record with 1,259 yards from scrimmage, he looks to be a big part of the Steelers' offense in 2014. He had some injury concerns early in his career, but the team had enough confidence in him to give him 244 carries in 13 games, appearing to run stronger with each one. He may end up as the team's best second round pick in the Colbert Era.
But that may not be saying very much, either.