The 2021 NFL draft is just over two months away. Each week leading up to the draft, we are going to dive into an NFL draft class starting with the Steelers 2004 NFL draft. In doing so, each player selected by the Steelers will be highlighted as to how their NFL career, or lack thereof, took shape. As we get to more recent years, some will be combined as many of those draft choices are still with the Steelers.
Part 6 of 15 will highlight the Steelers 2009 NFL draft where one player just earned a Super Bowl ring.
So let’s take a look at the nine players drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2009 NFL draft:
Evander “Ziggy” Hood
Defensive end, Missouri
Some of the best words a franchise can hear is, “with the 32nd pick in the NFL draft…” After winning the Super Bowl in 2008, the Steelers had the final pick in the first round in the 2009 NFL draft and selected Ziggy Hood. Although Hood had 11.5 of his 14 career sacks in his five years in Pittsburgh, it never really seemed as if Ziggy fit well in the Steelers defense. Perhaps better suited for a 4-3 scheme, Hood moved on from the Steelers with a year in Jacksonville and then Chicago before settling in with Washington. During the 2016 and 17 seasons, Hood saw bit of a resurgence where he started 27 games over the two seasons. Unfortunately, it did not last long as he was released partway through the 2018 season but was picked up by the Miami Dolphins for the remainder of the year. Hood spent training camp of the 2019 season with the New Orleans Saints and did not make the team and has been out of the NFL ever since.
The Pittsburgh Steelers traded back 15 spots out of the second round in the 2009 NFL draft. In return, the Steelers traded their fourth round pick with the Denver Broncos for an additional third round pick which gained them 48 spots. With the first of their three third-round picks, the Steelers drafted guard Kraig Urbik. Although making the team in 2009, Urbik was inactive most of the season and did not appear in any games. Instead, undrafted guard Ramon Foster claimed the back-up spot. Failing to make the 53-man roster in 2010, Urbik was claimed by the Buffalo Bills where he spent the next six seasons. In all, Urbik started 57 games while appearing in 84 in Buffalo. Spending the 2016 season with the Dolphins, Urbik was released the following year after sustaining a knee injury. The following offseason Urbik retired from the NFL after nine seasons.
Wide receiver, Mississippi
Once referred to by coach Mike Tomlin as a “one trick pony,” Mike Wallace made the Pro Bowl in 2011 as part of his four years with the Steelers. Compiling over 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns, Wallace was mainly known as a deep threat. When declining an offer from the Steelers which was then given to Antonio Brown, Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins where he played two somewhat disappointing seasons before bouncing around to the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, and Philadelphia Eagles. His final year in the NFL with Philadelphia in 2018, Wallace suffered a fractured fibula in Week 2 although he did return at the very end of the season.
Defensive back, Oregon St.
The final of the Steelers three third-round draft picks in 2009, Keenan Lewis eased his way into a role with the Steelers only appearing in 13 games in his first two seasons. In his third year, Lewis appeared in all 16 regular season games and started one and had an interception. It was his fourth and final year in Pittsburgh where Lewis started all 16 games at cornerback and had 23 passes defensed and 71 tackles. Lewis cashed in with a big pay day with the New Orleans Saints where he started every game for two straight seasons and had six interceptions. In 2015 Lewis only appeared in six games and started none and was placed on injured reserve with a leg injury. During the offseason, Lewis had hip surgery and started off training camp with the Saints on the physically unable to perform list. Being activated too soon, Lewis practice one day before being out again with the injury and was released mid training camp. The Steelers looked twice into the possibility of bringing Lewis back, but it appeared the injury was too much and ultimately ended his career.
Defensive back, Central Florida
Believed to possibly be their return specialist, Burnett did not win the job and was beat out by Stephan Logan. But after a stellar preseason his rookie year which included an interception and a blocked field goal, Burnett made the 53-man roster for his defensive contributions and appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and had 17 tackles. Failing to make the team in 2010, Burnett was signed to a futures contract by the Giants in 2011 but did not make the team or practice squad. Burnett ultimately spent eight years playing on various teams in the Canadian Football League.
Running back, UNLV
The Steelers made back-to-back picks in the fifth round of the 2009 draft as they had a compensatory draft pick. Summers played the first two games of 2009 for the Steelers as their full back and was credited for starting one of the games. Unfortunately, these were his only two games in Pittsburgh as he was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. The following season, Summers did not make the 53-man roster but landed on the practice squad. Following the season, he was signed by the San Diego Chargers but did not make the team. After a year out of football, Summers signed with the Buffalo Bills where he played for nearly 2 seasons and had two touchdowns on 18 carries. Released towards the end of the 2014 season, Summers officially announced his retirement from the NFL.
Defensive tackle, Oregon
Failing to make the Steelers 53-man roster his rookie season, Harris was claimed off of waivers by the Carolina Panthers where he appeared in two games and had two tackles. Harris only lasted the first month of the season on the 53-man roster of the Panthers as he was released and then signed to their practice squad. Shortly after, the Steelers signed Harris back from the Panthers practice squad to add depth after the injury to Aaron Smith. Harris never appeared in a game for the Steelers and failed to make the team in 2010. Signed shortly to the Bills practice squad, Harris landed back with Steelers as part of their practice squad later that season. Harris spent the next several seasons in training camp with the Houston Texans but never appeared in an NFL game outside of his rookie season.
Center, Penn St.
The Steelers picked up an extra seventh round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by trading center Shaun Mahan. With the pick, the Steelers selected A.Q. Shipley who is the only member of the Steelers 2009 draft class who played during the 2020 season. Playing his first season in Pittsburgh on the practice squad, Shipley was signed in the offseason by the Philadelphia Eagles to a three-year contract, although he failed to make the team in 2010 and landed on their practice squad. After failing to make the Eagles team in 2011, Shipley was not signed again until the following offseason by the Indianapolis Colts. Making the 53-man roster, Shipley appeared in 14 games and started five in his first season in Indianapolis. In the offseason, the Colts traded Shipley to the Ravens for a seventh-round draft pick and he started nine games for Baltimore in 2013. After being waived by the Ravens at the end of training camp in 2014, Shipley ended up back with the Colts and started five games in 2014. Shipley‘s next stop was in Arizona for the 2015 season where he started three games before starting every game at center for the next three years. In 2020, Shipley signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he appeared in five games while starting two before landing on injured reserve in what may be a career-ending neck injury.
Tight end, Arkansas St.
The Steelers final pick in the 2009 draft was tight end David Johnson, who also played fullback. Johnson spent his first five seasons in Pittsburgh but missed the 2012 season due to a torn ACL during a preseason game. In his first stint with the Steelers, Johnson had 22 receptions for 216 yards and his only career touchdown. Johnson also spent two seasons with the San Diego Chargers in 2014 and 2015 before returning to the Steelers for one last season in 2016. Johnson failed to make the team in 2017.