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The Pittsburgh Steelers recent history with Day 3 NFL Draft picks is reason to watch

The Pittsburgh Steelers have found contributors on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

Las Vegas Raiders v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers and their loyal followers are preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft, and there is a large contingent of the fan base who believes the three day selection process is more like a two day selection process. In other words, you watch on Thursday, Round 1, and Friday, Rounds 2 and 3, but on Saturday when Rounds 4, 5, 6, and 7 are announced many tune off.

I get it, the odds of some of these players being every day contributors to the team are slim, but when you look at the Steelers’ recent history of Day 3 draft picks you see they have more contributors than they have players who have fallen flat. In fact, there are even a couple current starters who were Day 3 picks in the last four drafts.

Let’s take a look at the draft classes, and if these players are starters, contributors to the current team in some way, or off the team...

*- Starter
+- No longer on the team
^- Contributor

2021

Dan Moore Jr. *
Buddy Johnson
Isaiahh Loudermilk ^
Quincy Roche +
Tre Norwood ^
Pressley Harvin III ^

Last season was a special season for the Steelers’ rookie class, not necessarily out of anything other than necessity. Nonetheless, when you have a starting left tackle, an asset in the secondary, a special teams starter and a depth piece along the defensive line on Day 3 of the draft it is a pretty good haul.


2020

Anthony McFarland Jr.
Kevin Dotson *
Antoine Brooks Jr. +
Carlos Davis ^

Anthony McFarland’s role, or lack thereof, remains unknown at this point, but getting a starter in Kevin Dotson and a contributor, when healthy, in Carlos Davis was more than solid in a draft class which only had six players selected throughout all three days.


2019

Benny Snell Jr. ^
Zach Gentry ^
Sutton Smith +
Isaiah Buggs +
Ulysees Gilbert III ^
Derwin Gray +

You may not like Benny Snell, but he still brings value to the team. Not necessarily as a runner, but on special teams Snell is noticeable. On top of that, Zach Gentry has turned himself into a valuable piece of the team’s offensive puzzle as a blocking tight end. Buggs had some nice moments with the team, and Ulysees Gilbert continues to try and carve a role for himself on the roster. Sutton Smith never panned out, while Derwin Gray was valued and eventually found a job elsewhere.


2018

Marcus Allen ^
Jaylen Samuels +
Joshua Frazier +

Some are shocked Marcus Allen still has a role with the Steelers, but he finds himself as a special teams player and depth piece as a linebacker/safety hybrid player. Jaylen Samuels had a nice role for himself during his time with the Steelers, but he and Frazier are still looking for their next opportunity.


I’ve always believed the following should be true, as it pertains to a team’s draft picks:

Round 1: Should be heavy contributors in Year 1
Rounds 2-3: Should be contributors, but might take time to develop
Rounds 4-7: Developmental players, not a guarantee to even make the roster

When I look at the Steelers’ Day 3 picks the last few years, they’ve found some tremendous value with these picks, especially in Round 4. Considering the team has found starters in these rounds is more than reason to keep a close eye on these Day 3 picks. Sure, some of these players might be nothing more than special teams players, but the value of those players still exists.

What is your approach to Day 3 of the NFL Draft? What are your expectations for these picks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft and the rest of free agency.