clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Are the Steelers overrated at drafting players?

For every T.J. Watt and Ben Roethlisberger there’s a Jarvis Jones, Artie Burns, and Sean Davis.

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

When you think of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, one of the first things you might think of is the Steelers impressive ability at drafting talent. More-so you may think of the team’s nearly 20-year run without having a losing season. Those two factors alone would be cause to believe the Steelers have continued to be an elite drafting team to this day. But what if I told you only five of 51 draft picks (+6 free agents) between 2011-2017 were still under contract with the team today?

This might make you question the Steelers’ ability of adding talent during the draft. Perhaps the Steelers have righted their draft woes with 20 players on the current roster coming from the past three drafts. But how different would things be if the Steelers were able to land just one more starting caliber player in the 2011-2017 stretch? Perhaps we would be talking about another Lombardi trophy and deeper playoff runs.

Below are the last ten drafts in Steelers history along with the current status of those players. You can make your own opinions on how the team has drafted.

2020 - 6 players under contract
Chase Claypool - Star potential
Alex Highsmith - Starter potential
Anthony McFarland - Role player potential
Kevin Dotson - Starter potential
Antoine Brooks Jr. - Depth potential
Carlos Davis - Depth potential

2019 - 7 players under contract
Devin Bush - Star potential
Diontae Johnson - Jury still out
Justin Layne - Likely bust
Benny Snell - Jury still out
Zach Gentry - Borderline NFL player
Sutton Smith - Out of the NFL
Isaiah Buggs - Depth potential
Ulysees Gilbert - Depth potential
Derwin Gray - Depth potential (in Jacksonville)

2018 - 6 players under contract
Terrell Edumunds - NFL starter
James Washington - Third receiver
Mason Rudolph - Backup quarterback
Chukwuma Okorafor - NFL starter
Marcus Allen - Borderline NFL player
Jaylen Samuels - Borderline NFL player
Joshua Frazier - Out of the NFL

2017 - 1 player under contract
T.J. Watt - Superstar
JuJu Smith-Schuster - Solid number 2 - Free agent
Cameron Sutton - Fringe stater - Free agent
James Conner - Fringe starter - Free agent
Josh Dobbs - Fringe NFL player - Free agent
Brian Allen - Fringe NFL player
Colin Holba - Fringe NFL player
Keion Adams - Out of NFL

2016 - 0 players under contract
Artie Burns - Fringe NFL player
Sean Davis - Fringe NFL player
Javon Hargrave - NFL starter
Jerald Hawkins - Fringe NFL player - Free agent
Travis Feeney - Out of NFL
Demarcus Ayers - Out of NFL
Tyler Matakevich - Special teamer

2015 - 0 players under contract
Bud Dupree - NFL starter - free agent
Senquez Golson - Out of NFL
Sammie Coates - Out of NFL
Doran Grant - Out of NFL
Jesse James - Number 2 tight end
L.T. Walton - Out of NFL
Anthony Chickillo - Fringe NFL player
Gerod Holliman - Out of NFL

2014 - 1 player under contract
Ryan Shazier - Career ending injury
Stephon Tuitt - Pro Bowler
Dri Archer - Out of NFL
Martavis Bryant - Out of NFL
Shaquille Richardson - Out of NFL
Wesley Johnson - Out of NFL
Jordan Zumwalt - Out of NFL
Dan McCullers - Fringe NFL player
Rob Blanchflower - Out of NFL

2013 - 1 players under contract
Jarvis Jones - Out of NFL
Le’Veon Bell - All Pro
Markus Wheaton - Out of NFL
Shamarko Thomas - Out of NFL
Landry Jones - Out of NFL
Terry Hawthorne - Out of NFL
Justin Brown - Out of NFL
Vince Williams - NFL starter
Nick Williams - Departed starter

2012 - 1 player under contract
David DeCastro - All Pro
Mike Adams - Out of NFL
Sean Spence - Out of NFL
Alameda Ta’amu - Out of NFL
Chris Rainey - Out of NFL
Toney Clemons - Out of NFL
David Paulson - Out of NFL
Terrence Frederick - Out of NFL
Kelvin Beachum - Departed starter

2011 - 1 player under contract
Cam Heyward - All Pro
Marcus Gilbert - Departed starter
Curtis Brown - Out of NFL
Cortez Allen - Out of NFL
Chris Carter - Out of NFL
Keith Williams - Out of NFL
Baron Batch - Out of NFL

The most glaring thing to me is the stretch between 2013-2016 in which the Steelers only have Stephon Tuitt and Vince Williams currently on the 2021 roster. Four consecutive drafts netting the Steelers just two players five years later is shameful. Sure 2011 and 2012 only have a pair of players coming back in 2021 but at least those years are well past the average length of an NFL career.

But what do you think? Are the Steelers still a great drafting team? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.