The 2021 NFL draft is less than 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 7 of 15 will highlight the Steelers 2010 NFL draft where the Steelers just said goodbye to the final member remaining.
So let’s take a look at the ten players drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 NFL draft:
The former Steelers offensive captain called it a career following the 2020 season. Maurkice Pouncey spent 11 seasons in Pittsburgh and made the Pro Bowl nine times with the only seasons missed were where he played zero snaps and eight snaps on the season due to injury. Pouncey also finished first team All-Pro twice and will be a name floated around years down the road when it comes to enshrinement in the Pro football Hall of Fame.
Linebacker, Virginia Tech
It’s quite the strange story surrounding outside linebacker Jason Worilds. In his first four seasons with the Steelers, he started a total of 21 games with 2013 reaching 11 starts with 8.0 sacks, 63 tackles, and 23 quarterback hits. Worilds’ success to finish out his rookie deal earned him a transition tag for the 2014 season where he started 16 games and had an interception, two fumble recoveries, 7.5 sacks, 59 tackles, and 22 quarterback hits. Set to be a free agent, Worilds announced his retirement on March 11 of 2015. It was widely speculated at the time that Worilds chose to retire in order to dedicate his life more as a Jehovah’s Witness.
Wide receiver, SMU
One of two wide receivers taken in the 2010 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Emmanuel Sanders saw better success beyond his time in Pittsburgh. In his four years in the Steel City, Sanders had 161 receptions for 230 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season. In his six years with the Denver Broncos, Sanders more than doubled his touchdown output as well as earning Pro Bowl honors in 2014 and 2016. After being traded to the 49ers during the 2019 season, Sanders played with the New Orleans Saints in 2020 where he had 61 receptions for 726 yards and five touchdowns. Sanders is currently under contract with the Saints for 2021 but could save $4 million against the salary cap if released as New Orleans is in a desperate salary cap situation.
Linebacker, Ohio St.
Outside linebacker Thaddeus Gibson made the Steelers 53-man roster his rookie season only to be waived midway through the season. He was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco 49ers where he appeared in two games. Gibson was released in the middle of training camp by the 49ers in 2011 and landed with the Chicago Bears late in the season. Spending most of training camp with the Bears in 2012, Gibson was released and signed midseason by the Tennessee Titans to their practice squad. Once again waived during training camp in 2013, Gibson was claimed by the Dallas Cowboys but did not make the team. Not landing anywhere else for the season, Gibson played the next two seasons in the Canadian Football League.
Making the Steelers roster his rookie season, Scott did not appear in a game for the Steelers until 2011. After two games on the active roster, Scott was waived and signed to the practice squad for the remainder of 2011. Failing to make the team in 2012, Scott signed with the Green Bay Packers on their practice squad but only lasted part of the season. Scott bounced from the practice squad’s of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and Buffalo Bills for the remainder of 2012. In 2013, Scott landed with the Carolina Panthers where he ended up for four seasons and appeared in 45 games with 12 starts. Being placed on injured reserve to start the 2017 season, Scott was released 10 days later. Landing with the New York Giants in 2018, Scott failed to make the team has been out of the NFL ever since.
Defensive back, Clemson
The first of the Steelers three compensatory draft picks in 2010, Crezdon Butler made the 53-man roster as a rookie where he appeared in four games with the Steelers. Failing to make the team in 2011, Butler was claimed off waivers by the Arizona cardinals but suffered a dislocated ankle after only appearing in one game. Over the next five seasons, Butler played for seven different clubs. The only team were Butler started any games was for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014 when he made three starts. After the 2016 season, Butler went on to play in the CFL where he is still a member of the Toronto Argonauts.
Just as interesting about this draft selection was the fact the Steelers gained the compensatory pick from the free-agent loss of Byron Leftwich. The Steelers actually traded their seventh-round pick of the 2010 draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and reacquired Leftwich.
A career special-teams player and reserve linebacker, Stevenson Sylvester made the Steelers 53-man roster from 2010 to 2012. After not making the Steelers in 2013, Sylvester was brought back to the team in October. Following the 2016 season, Sylvester signed with the Buffalo Bills. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury during the preseason which ended not just his 2014 campaign but his NFL playing career.
Another compensatory pick in the fifth round, this choice was from the Steelers losing cornerback Bryant McFadden who was also reacquired by the Steelers in a trade which will be outlined later.
Running back, Georgia Tech
Making the Steelers 53-man roster his rookie season, Dwyer did not appear in a game until Week 17 where he rushed for 28 yards on nine attempts. Dwyer made the team his first three seasons in Pittsburgh and even had two rushing touchdowns in 2012. Going into 2013, Dwyer did not make the final roster for the Steelers but was re-signed before Week 2 after the Steelers lost LaRod Stephens-Howling to an ACL injury. Dwyer signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 but only appeared in two games where he had 16 carries for 51 yards and one touchdown. Dwyer was arrested for domestic violence against his wife and 18-month-old child on September 17 of 2014 and was placed on the non-football injury list. Dwyer never played in the NFL again.
Wide receiver, Central Michigan
The Steelers acquired an extra sixth-round pick in the 2010 draft by first gaining a fifth-round selection by trading Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets. During the draft, the Steelers traded the pick to move back to the sixth round. In the trade with the Arizona Cardinals, the Steelers also acquired Bryant McFadden who had just left the previous season as a free agent.
As for the draft pick itself, the Steelers had over 11,000 yards and 74 touchdowns in nine seasons from Antonio Brown before things fell apart. With seven Pro Bowl selections and four first team All-Pro awards, Brown was arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL during his time in Pittsburgh. After forcing a trade during the 2019 offseason, Brown maneuvered his way out of the Oakland Raiders as well and appeared in one game for the New England Patriots before being released due to multiple off-field legal issues. After being suspended for the first eight games of the 2020 season, Brown signed with the Tampa Bay buccaneers and caught a touchdown in Super Bowl LV.
Defensive tackle, Ohio St.
They can’t all make the 53-man roster, can they? The Steelers final compensatory draft pick in 2010 was initially signed to the Steelers practice squad his rookie year only to be released the next day. Picked up in November by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on their practice squad, Worthington was signed to the active roster for the very end of the season. Worthington landed with the Washington Redskins during training camp in 2011 and was signed to the practice squad. Also landing on the practice squad in 2012 in Washington, Worthington ended up on the active roster and appeared in six games. Spending the 2013 season on injured reserve with a biceps injury, Worthington was released during training camp in 2014. After spending some time with the San Diego Chargers, Worthington was out of the NFL until mid December when he landed on the Rams practice squad. Worthington appeared in two games in 2015 for the St. Louis Rams before heading back to the practice squad and then ultimately on injured reserve.