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The best draft picks by selection in Steelers history: 11-20

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Part 2: The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the greatest drafting teams in NFL history, but who are the best picks by number selected.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Part two of discovering the best draft selections in the Steelers first round history highlights a different era in Pittsburgh football. The names from here on up are made up of entirely post merger players, which coincides with the franchise developing into one of the leagues premier organizations.

Over the course of 88 seasons, the organization has made 78 first round picks at almost every possible drafting position in the first round. So let’s break down every overall selection of the first round, in three parts. Today’s article will highlight selections 11-20


11th Overall
Ben Roethlisberger

2004, Quarterback, Miami (OH)

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

When all is said and done, Big Ben will go down as the greatest QB in franchise history. Sure Bradshaw has won more titles, but Big Ben making it to three and winning two within the free agency era is just as impressive. Time will tell if Ben is even done winning titles yet as the time of writing this the team has loaded up a roster capable of making run if Roethlisberger can come back from season ending elbow surgery.

His name is plastered all over the Steelers record books and in the next few years will find himself in the top 5 (ish) of every statistical passing record. Big Ben will be a first ballot Hall of Famer, and is the unquestioned greatest number 11 selection in team history.


12th Overall
Walter Ambercrombie

1982, Running Back, Baylor

Pittsburgh Steelers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images

In 6 seasons on the Steelers roster, Ambercrombie showed steady improvement. Putting up a respectable 3,357 career rushing, and 1,351 career receiving yards, he would never see the same success as he did in college. Ambercrombie re-wrote the record books for every career rushing statistic, but he couldn’t reach the same level of production with the Steelers. He was never being named to a Pro Bowl or All-Pro roster.


13th Overall
Franco Harris

1972, Running Back, Penn State

Super Bowl IX - Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings - January 12, 1975 Photo by Sylvia Allen/Getty Images

The Steeler all-time leading rusher, Franco Harris kick-started the Steelers dynasty with his ‘Immaculate Reception’. He would also help lead the team to 4 Super Bow championships, the first of which saw the ‘Italian Stallion’ take over the game on his way to MVP honors. Franco would put up 100 career total touchdowns, nearly 15,000 total yards, was named to 9 Pro Bowls, and was named NFL Man of the year (1976). One of the most beloved members of the team in his era, Franco was an easy choice for the best 13th overall selection.


14th Overall

N/A

The only spot of the first round the Steelers never found themselves in. Let’s just hope it’s a long time before the team picks this high again.


15th Overall TIE
Lawrence Timmons

2007, Linebacker, Florida State

Ryan Shazier

2015, Linebacker, Ohio State

NFL: DEC 25 Ravens at Steelers Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Since there was no 14th selection, having two at number 15 seems to be appropriate.

Lawrence Timmons was the back bone of one of the best defenses in recent memory. The man in the middle racked up 1,065 career tackles and helped deliver a 6th Lombardi trophy to the Steel City. The first ever draft pick of the Tomlin era was one good enough to make the list.

His brother-in-arms comes in with him.

Ryan Shazier was on pace to becoming one of the all-time great Steelers defenders. A revolutionary type linebacker with corner type speed and range, Shazier played all over the field. His tragic (and likely career ending) injury halted a career on an upward assent which likely would have heard Shazier’s name spoken with the best defenders in football.


16th Overall
Troy Polamalu

2003, Strong Safety, Southern California

Miami Dolphins v Pittsburgh Steelers

The 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee was one of the most entertaining and dangerous players of his era. Polamalu will be remembered for some of the most mind-blowing interceptions, jumping over O-Lineman for sacks, his creativity, and being one of the best players in the NFL. Again I bring you these insane career achievements:

Super Bowl champion (XL, XLIII)
8× Pro Bowl (2004–2008, 2010, 2011, 2013)
4× First-team All-Pro (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011)
2× Second-team All-Pro (2004, 2007)
NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2010)

If it wasn’t for Troy, who knows if the Steelers would have even made a Super Bowl the in past 25 years.


17th Overall
Keith Gary

1981, Defensive End, Oklahoma

Steelers Keith Gary Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Keith Gary would famously spur the Steelers after the draft by signing with the Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League. The defensive end would eventually come to terms with Pittsburgh 2 years later. He went on to play 6 years in Pittsburgh, but he is perhaps most famously known for ripping off the face mask of Bengals Quarterback Ken Anderson leaving the QB temporarily paralyzed.


18th Overall
Maurkice Pouncey

2010, Center, Florida

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Maurkice Pouncey has kept alive a streak of unbelievably good Center play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dating back to Hall of Famer ‘Iron’ Mike Webster, then to Hall of Famer Dermonti Dawson, through to a decade of dominance for the current Steelers center. Whether or not Pouncey joins his contemporaries in the hall is yet to be known, but he has been an integral part of one of footballs best O-Lines the past decade.


19th Overall
Casey Hampton

2001, Nose Tackle, Texas

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

One of the All-time great run stuffing nose tackles, Hampton was an integral part of the defense which brought Super Bowls XL and XLIII back to Pittsburgh. ‘Big Snack’ would go on to play 157 regular season games, register 350 tackles and accumulated 9 sacks. His efforts would land Hampton on 5 Pro-Bowl teams and a spot on the Steelers ‘All-Time Team’.


20th Overall
Darryl Sims

1985, Defensive End, Wisconsin

Pittsburgh Steelers Darryl Sims Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Darryl Sims played in all 32 games of his 2 year career with the Steelers. Never living up to the hype of a 1st round pick, Sims would retire after spending another two seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Two picks later the Chicago Bears drafted William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, it’s probably fair to say this is one pick the Steelers would probably want back.


We are officially 2 parts through this 3 part series. Come back tomorrow for our final installment! If you haven't already you can read part 1 right HERE.

Who’s the biggest steal to this point? Let us know in the comments below!