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Analyzing the Steelers second-round draft picks since 2000

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How have the Steelers fared when selecting players in the second round of the NFL draft in the Kevin Colbert era?

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the Pittsburgh Steelers already using their 2020 first-round pick in the NFL draft on Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers will be making their first selection in the second round unless they pull off an unlikely trade. Although the player will be selected on the second day, it will feel much more like a first-round pick for the Steelers as it will be their top choice in the draft. Of course expectations will be high from fans, but what should we expect?

Going back to the year 2000, the Steelers have drafted 17 players in the second round. When looking at the statistics from Pro Bowls, season started, games played, and game started, the information is quite interesting. Rather than look at the players production while with the Steelers, all of their NFL statistics will be included. With that in mind, the following is the statistical data from all the Steelers second round draft selections in the Kevin Colbert era:


Pro Bowlers and All-Pro

Of the 17 players, five have been selected to the Pro Bowl. In all, there of been seven Pro Bowl selections as Le’Veon Bell was selected three times. Additionally, he is the only Steelers second round pick since 2000 to be named All-Pro which he has done twice. The other Pro Bowlers were Marvel Smith, Kendrell Bell, Lamar Woodley, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.


Seasons as a primary starter

Two players drafted by the Steelers in the second round since 2000 were listed as the primary starter for seven seasons in their career. These players were Marvel Smith and Lamar Woodley. Of the 17 players, four of them were never a primary starter in their career. These players are Alonzo Jackson, Ricardo Colclough, Limas Sweed, and Senquez Golson. The average season started by all draft choices were 2.94 per player for their career.


Games Played

The most games played of any of the 17 players was 143 by wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. The only selection to not play in any games was Senquez Golson. The second fewest number of games played was 18 by linebacker Alonzo Jackson. The average of all players was 65.71 games which comes out to a little more than four seasons. If we ignore the Steelers second-round draft choices from the last three seasons since they would not have as much of a chance to play as many games, the average would go up four games to 69.73 games played in their career.


Games Started

Surprisingly, a different player has started the most games of any second-round draft pick by the Steelers since 2000. Marvel Smith started 108 games in his career to lead all Steelers’ draft choices with Lamar Woodley coming in second with 93 games. As we have all figured out by now, Senquez Golson did not start a game since he never played in an NFL game. Additionally, Limas Sweed did not start a game in the NFL either. Alonzo Jackson and Ricardo Colclough each started one game in the NFL career. Of all the Steelers’ second-round draft picks, the average was 45.41 game started which is almost 3 seasons. Once again, leaving out any player drafted since 2016, the number goes up slightly to 48.27 average games started.


Miscellaneous

Of the 17 second round draft picks by the Steelers since 2000, eight players were on offense while nine played on defense. The Steelers have selected three offensive linemen (all tackles), four wide receivers, and one running back. On defense, they selected four defensive backs, two inside linebackers, two edge rushers, and one defensive end. One interesting defensive stat is the Steelers’ second-round draft choices have a total of 23 career interceptions. Seven of the nine players drafted on defense have registered at least one interception with Alonzo Jackson and Senquez Golson being the only players not to get at least one pick.


Highs and Lows

They are definitely a number of players who the Steelers have selected in the second round who have played fairly well in the NFL while others have not. Being the only player selected as an All-Pro, Le’Veon Bell has to be the Steelers best pick from the second round in the last 20 years. Other quality picks include JuJu Smith-Schuster, Lamar Woodley, and Marvel Smith. Other players who could easily go in this category are Stephon Tuitt, Marcus Gilbert, Antwaan Randle El, and Kendrell Bell. When it comes to the worst selections by the Steelers, the obvious choice is Senquez Golson as he was never able to play a game in the NFL. Other second-round picks who did not pan out were Limas Sweed, Ricardo Colclough, and Alonzo Jackson.


It will be interesting to see how the 2020 draft works out for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their second-round selection. While choosing a transcendent player is pretty unlikely, the Steelers do you have a history of finding players who can contribute positively for several seasons. Hopefully several years down the road, Steelers’ fans can look back at the 2020 draft and see a great pick coming out of the second round.