The 2022 NFL Draft is over a month away. Last offseason, we dove into a Steelers NFL draft class starting with the 2004 NFL Draft, and outlined a successive draft each week. In doing so, each player selected by the Steelers was highlighted as to how their NFL career, or lack thereof, took shape. Each year was outlined with the last three draft classes all combined into one since a large number of the players were still with the team.
Since it worked last season, and since a lot of the research has already been done, let’s look back at they players from these drafts yet again, this time looking at two different years, on separate days, each week leading up to the last week of April. For players no longer in the league, a lot of the information will be the same while others will be updated where needed.
Part 1 of 16 will highlight the Steelers 2004 NFL draft class. It seemed like a great starting point since it is the furthest back in which a member of the 2021 Steelers was drafted.
So let’s take a look at the eight players drafted by the Steelers in the 2004 NFL draft:
Quarterback, Miami (OH)
Going into the 2004 draft, many Steeler fans hoped the team could have grabbed one of the top quarterbacks, but it seemed unlikely he would make it to the 11th selection. Fortunately for the Steelers, when the Cleveland Browns passed on Roethlisberger and selected Kellen Winslow Jr., there were no teams drafting in spots seven through ten in need of a quarterback upgrade at the time. Roethlisberger fell to the Steelers and became a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Holding almost every franchise record when it comes to the quarterback position, Roethlisberger appears to be destined for Canton now that he has officially finished his NFL career. Starting 16 games for the Steelers in 2021, Roethlisberger finished off the end of his final regular season by taking down division rivals in the Browns and Ravens and sending the Steelers into the postseason with a record of 9-7-1. Unfortunately, the magic didn’t carry into the postseason as Roethlisberger played his final game in a 42-21 defeat in Kansas City.
Roethlisberger ended his Steelers career with 249 regular season games, a record of 165–81–1 in his 247 starts, 5,440 completions on 8,443 for 64,088 yards with 418 touchdowns. Roethlisberger also had 41 fourth-quarter comebacks and 53 game-winning drives.
Defensive back, Tusculum
As much as the Steelers first-round pick was a home run, the Steelers did not have the same success in round two. Trading up six spots with the Indianapolis Colts and giving up their fourth round pick, the Steelers drafted Ricardo Colclough out of Tusculum. In the spot the Steelers vacated, the Colts ended up selecting Bob Sanders who had an impressive NFL career. As for Colclough, he lasted four seasons with the Steelers, but fizzled in his last two years. Although he appeared in 16 games as a rookie, Colclough never had a start in any of his career games in Pittsburgh. In both 2006 and 2007, Colclough only appeared in three games each season. With anything but impressive numbers, Colclough had one career interception in 2005 and 2.5 career sacks. Finishing his career in Kansas City for two years in 2008 and 2009, Colclough made one start in seven games for the Chiefs before exiting the NFL.
The Steelers found gold in their third-round selection of 2004 with tackle Max Starks. Not getting any starts in his rookie season, Starks started at right tackle all 16 games in the Steelers 2005 Super Bowl campaign. Making a shift over to left tackle later in his career, Starks started 96 games for the Steelers in nine seasons including starting all 16 games in his last year in 2012. After being part of three Super Bowl teams in Pittsburgh, Starks played in two games for the St. Louis Rams in 2013 but only played a total of eight offensive snaps. In 2021, Starks took over as the sideline analyst along with Missi Mathews for the Steelers radio broadcast. Starks took over the role from Craig Wolfley who stepped in for Tunch Ilkin after he left the radio broadcast booth following the 2020 season and passed away this past September. Starks and Wolfley also host In the Locker Room with Wolf & Starks which can be heard on Steelers Nation Radio on Monday through Friday during the season.
Defensive end, Virginia Tech
Failing to make the Steelers 53-man roster his rookie season, Nathaniel Adibi was claimed off waivers by the Tennessee Titans after his release from the Steelers. Not sticking long in Tennessee, Adibi spent part of 2004 on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. Picked up by the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, Adibi landed on injured reserve during training camp and was subsequently waved. Adibi never played a game in the NFL although his younger brother Xavier spent five years in the league from 2008 to 2012 with the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, and Tennessee Titans.
The second tackle taken by the Steelers in the 2004 draft, Bo Lacy did not make the 53-man roster but was on the Steelers’ practice squad his rookie season. Poached by the Browns in late September, Lacy returned to the Steelers practice squad once he was waived by Cleveland and never appeared in a game. Poached again in December by the Chicago Bears, Lacey still did not see the field in an NFL game and was waived by the Bears following their 2005 training camp. Lacy spent time on the practice squads of the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons over the next two seasons before failing to make a squad in 2007.
Tight end, Penn St.
In the draft pick acquired for the St. Louis Rams for Troy Edwards, the Steelers drafted tight end Matt Kranchick out of Penn State. Kranchick appeared in two games his rookie season for the Steelers and also made the team in 2005 where he started one of the four games in which he appeared and had one reception on one target for 6 yards. Kranchick did not last the season in Pittsburgh and was signed by the New York Giants later in 2005 where he appeared in two games. Kranchick was released by the Giants in the offseason and spent the 2006 training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but did not make their 53-man roster. Kranchick was briefly picked up by the New England Patriots in 2006 on the practice squad which was his last stop of his NFL career.
The third offensive lineman taken in the 2004 draft, Caylor was drafted more as a long snapper than center. Failing to make the team, Caylor was briefly signed by the New York Jets but never appeared in an NFL game.
Defensive tackle, Memphis
Injured in training camp, Eric Taylor did not play with the Steelers in his rookie season. Appearing in one game for the Minnesota Vikings in 2005, Taylor bounced around between the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans never appearing on their 53-man rosters. In 2008, Taylor joined the Canadian Football League where he played until 2015 for the Edmonton Eskimos, Toronto Argonauts, and BC Lions.