It is commonly said from NFL Draft experts the value of draft picks in round 2-4 can be just as great as the team's first round draft choice. In looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers' draft history under Mike Tomlin, the team has accomplished some extremely successful late round draft picks, but have often times struggled in the mid-range draft picks. In fact, in every draft class since Tomlin took the reigns of the organization, there have been questionable draft choices in the prime rounds of the draft.
In 2007, Tomlin's first draft class, it was the questionable drafting of punter Daniel Sepulveda in the 4th round which left many fans and experts scratching their heads. Sure, Sepulveda wasn't a bust from the start, but spending a 4th round draft choice on a punter is certainly a questionable decision at best.
In 2008 it was Limas Sweed in the 2nd and Bruce Davis in the 3rd which certainly left the team searching for answers in years to come. 2009 saw the team draft Kraig Urbik in the 3rd round. Although Urbik remains in the NFL, he didn't play a meaningful down with the Steelers.
In 2010, Thaddeus Gibson was drafted in the 4th round and didn't play a meaningful snap not just in Pittsburgh, but in the NFL. 2011 had the Steelers select defensive back Curtis Brown in the 3rd round. In 2012 it was the draft pick of Alameda Ta'amu in the 4th round, who after spending time with the Steelers his rookie year departed a year later.
In 2013 it was fan favorite Landry Jones drafted in the 4th round to the dismay of fans around the globe. Although Jones remains on the team's roster, he has yet to be an active member on the roster for a game day. In 2014 the Steelers shocked the fan base by selecting Dri Archer in the 3rd round.
I realize not every draft choice is going to be a home run, but you hope with the value which is built around these mid-round draft picks they would at least hit a single or double on occasion. Sure, Kevin Colbert and Tomlin have looked like geniuses drafting Antonio Brown in the 6th round and Kelvin Beachum in the 7th, but when it comes to the draft choices in rounds 2-4, the Steelers must be better.
There is an obvious trend when looking at the team's draft history in terms of them missing on these valuable draft picks. Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, the Steelers are fortunate that the draft's deepest positions are the biggest needs for the Steelers. The team needs to bolster the depth at the outside linebacker, cornerback, safety and wide receiver positions. All have solid players to be selected in those mid-range rounds. Teams get better by taking advantage of there top draft picks, and the Steelers have had some head scratchers in those areas under Tomlin. Let's hope this trend reverses itself in the 2015 NFL Draft which is just days away.