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What if the Steelers drafted the players who were selected one pick later?

Would the Steelers be better or worse if they drafted the players selected just one spot after the player they chose?

NFL: SEP 17 Vikings at Steelers Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the best drafting teams in the NFL throughout general manager Kevin Colbert’s tenure. But have the Steelers ever dodged a bullet by avoiding a massive bust by one pick, or have they ever missed out on a All-Pro type player the past five years? Today we’ll look back at the Steelers last five draft classes (whom have already played in a season, sorry 2020 class) and the players immediately taken just one spot after them.

2015

22. Bud Dupree
23. Shane Ray, OLB, Broncos

56. Senquez Golson
57. Rob Havenstein, OT, Rams

87. Sammie Coates
88. Danielle Hunter, DE, Vikings

121. Doran Grant
122. Za’Darius Smith, OLB, Ravens

160. Jesse James
161. Neiron Ball, LB, Raiders

199. L.T. Walton
200. Quandre Diggs, CB, Lions

212. Anthony Chickillo
213. Kennard Blackman, TE, Packers

239. Gerod Holliman
240. Corey Robinson, OT, Lions

Ouch, this class just hurts to look at. While the Steelers definitely nailed their first round pick, the quartet of Havenstein, Hunter, Smith, and Diggs are all impact players that have had fruitful NFL careers. While the Steelers selections of Golson, Coates, and Grant fizzled out or never actually appeared an NFL game.


2016

25. Artie Burns
26. Paxton Lynch, QB, Broncos

58. Sean Davis
59. Roberto Aguayo, K, Buccaneers

89. Javon Hargrave
90. C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks

123. Jerald Hawkins
124. Deon Bush, S, Bears

220. Travis Feeney
221. Ted Karras, G, Patriots

229. Demarcus Ayers
230. Daniel Braverman, WR, Bears

246. Tyler Matakevich
247. Zac Brooks, RB, Seahawks

This wasn't a particularly good draft by the Steelers, however when you look at the names of the players drafted immediately after you can see it could have been even worse. Hargrave was by far the best player the Steelers drafted in 2016, and he’s also the best player out of all the names listed above.


2017

30. T.J. Watt
31. Rueben Foster, LB, 49ers

62. JuJu Smith-Schuster
63. Dion Dawkins, OT, Bills

94. Cameron Sutton
95. Lano Hill, S, Seahawks

105. James Conner
106. Amara Darboh, WR, Seahawks

135. Josh Dobbs
136. Sean Harlow, C, Falcons

173. Brian Allen
174. Eric Saubert, TE, Falcons

213. Colin Holba
214. Elijah Qualls, DT, Eagles

248. Keion Adams
249. Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks

The Steelers absolutely nailed the 2017 draft. The group features three Pro Bowl players, and one of the best defenders in the game, T.J. Watt. The only thing that could have made this draft any better would have been if the Steelers scooped up George Kittle instead of Josh Dobbs, but they still crushed this year nonetheless.


2018

28. Terrell Edmunds
29. Taven Bryan, DT, Jaguars

60. James Washington
61. D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars

76. Mason Rudolph
77. Sam Hubbard, DE, Bengals

92. Chukwuma Okorafor
93. Ronnie Harrison, S, Jaguars

148. Marcus Allen
149. Michael Dickson, P, Seahawks

165. Jaylen Samuels
166. Wyatt Teller, G, Bills

246. Joshua Frazier
247. Logan Cooke, P, Jaguars

The Steelers did okay in 2018 as they pretty much drafted in front of the Jaguars the entire distance of the draft whom, themselves, had a terrible draft. Oddly enough, the two punters drafted behind the Steelers are two of the best punters in football and to this point have been more valuable than either Marcus Allen or Josh Frazier.


2019

10. Devin Bush
11. Jonah Williams, OT, Bengals

66. Diontae Johnson
67. Jalen Hurd, WR, 49ers

83. Justin Layne
83. Khalen Saunders, DT, Chiefs

122. Benny Snell Jr.
123. Ben Powers, G, Ravens

141. Zach Gentry
142. Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Seahawks

175. Sutton Smith
176. Kaden Smith, TE, 49ers

192. Isaiah Buggs
193. Oli Udoh, OT, Vikings

207. Ulysees Gilbert III
208. Scott Miller, WR, Buccaneers

219. Derwin Gray
220. Cullen Gillaspia, FB, Texans

So far the top of the Steelers 2019 draft has been so good it is unquestioned that the Steelers out drafted the teams behind them. As we progress through the 2020 season we should see how the tail end of the 2019 draft class has developed and we can then pick a definitive winner. For right now the talents of Bush, and Johnson alone power this draft class.


Outside of 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers have done a great job of selecting a better player than that of the one draft immediately proceeding them. One thing that I found interesting when compiling this list is the frequency the Steelers picked immediately in front of the Seahawks these five seasons was at a very high rate. As long as the Steelers can continue to draft the best available players when it’s their turn to pick, this team’s championship window will remain open for a long time.

What do you think? What was the biggest hit? What was the biggest miss? Let us know down in the comments below!