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Top 5 Steelers NFL Draft picks of the Kevin Colbert Era: 4th Round

As the new front office prepares for their first NFL draft, let’s look at some of the Steelers top picks by round by GM Kevin Colbert.

New Orleans Saints v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into a new chapter of the front office as Omar Khan and company prepare for their first NFL draft. With former Steelers GM Kevin Colbert moving into retirement following the 2022 draft, this will mark the first time the new regime has total control over their selections. How will this shape out for the Steelers moving forward? That’s what many fans are both excited and nervous to see.

With the draft nearly 3 months away, let’s take a look at the top draft picks of the Pittsburgh Steelers in each round in the Kevin Colbert era. For those who may not be certain of the dates, these will be the drafts from 2000 through 2022.

For this exercise, we will be looking at players drafted specifically by the Steelers since the year 2000. In determining how well each player performed, we will only look at their time with the Pittsburgh Steelers and not any time spent with a different team. The rankings will come according to the total AV (Approximate Value) for each player determined by Pro Football Reference (PFR) during their time with the Steelers. Exactly how PFR determines AV can be seen HERE. For players with the same AV, other considerations such as games played may be taken into account. Obviously, players who have a longer career with the Steelers have the chance of a higher score. But isn’t longevity a key factor in determining whether it was a good draft pick?

The next step as we count our way down will be players selected by the Steelers in the 4th round of the NFL draft.

5: Dan Moore, Jr.

Draft Year: 2021
AV: 15

New Orleans Saints v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m sure a number of Steelers fans would be upset seeing the Steelers left tackle make this list after only two seasons. But the numbers are what they are, and Dan Moore had a score of three points higher than Kevin Dotson and four higher than Cortez Allen. Although the Steelers have had a number of fourth-round draft picks succeed in the 2000s, players such as Aaron Smith, Deshae Townsend, and Earl Holmes were all drafted in the 90s. Therefore, after only two seasons Dan Moore made the list by starting 33 games. Even if he is only a stopgap at left tackle for a few seasons until the Steelers look to improve the position, that’s still not bad for a fourth-round pick.

4: Martavis Bryant

Draft Year: 2014
AV: 18

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers

The unfortunate story of Martavis Bryant is full of “if only...” scenarios. Only playing in Pittsburgh for three seasons where he started 16 of his 36 games, Bryant missed the entire 2016 season due to suspension. Still, he put up 1,917 receiving yards on 126 receptions with 17 touchdowns. After being traded for a third-round draft pick in 2018, Bryant played 12 games for the Oakland Raiders. But the suspensions just kept rolling and Bryant could not find his way onto an NFL field.

3: Willie Colon

Draft Year: 2006
AV: 31

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants

Despite coming in third on the list, Willie Colon could have been even more for the Steelers had it not been for injuries. Colon started all 62 games in which he appeared over seven years, as well as four postseason games including Super Bowl XLIII. Starting every game from 2007 through 2009 at right tackle, Colon then missed the entire 2010 season due to an ACL tear during training in the offseason. Despite missing the year, the Steelers signed Colon to a five-year deal the following offseason. Unfortunately, Colon only played one game the following season in 2011 after he tore his triceps in Week 1 and missed the rest of the year. In 2012, Colon played in 11 games before being placed on IR once again. After three-straight years of finishing the season on IR and playing only 12 of 48 games, the Steelers released Colon ahead of the 2013 season. Starting every game the next two years for the New York Jets, Colon ended up on IR again midway through the 2015 season and never played again.

2: Larry Foote

Draft Year: 2002
AV: 63

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Rex Brown/Getty Images

When a fourth-round draft pick plays 11 seasons, they are likely going to be one of the better picks over a 20-year span. Larry Foote played with the Steelers from 2002 through 2008, spent one season away in Detroit, and then returned to the Steelers for 2010 through 2013. Foote did play one last season with the Cardinals in 2014 after he was released by the Steelers following the 2013 season where he spent all but one game on IR. In all, Foote played in 158 regular season games with 105 starts for the Steelers with 636 tackles, 48 of which were for loss, and 21.0 sacks. Foote also had nine forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, 20 passes defensed, and three interceptions. A two-time Super Bowl champion in Pittsburgh, Foote also appeared in 16 postseason games with 10 starts where he had 56 tackles, 0.5 sacks, two passes defensed, and two interceptions.

1: Ike Taylor

Draft Year: 2003
AV: 66

Pittsburgh Steelers v Oakland Raiders

Unlike most of the other players on this list, Ike Taylor played his entire NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing 12 seasons from 2003 to 2014, Taylor appeared in 174 regular season games with 140 starts. Taylor had 636 tackles and 3.0 sacks as well as two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. Taylor also had 134 passes defensed (the Steelers all-time leader since 1999 when Pro Football Reference began tracking the statistic) and 14 interceptions with one being returned for a touchdown. Adding in another 14 playoff games with 11 starts, Taylor had 58 postseason tackles with 1.0 sacks, one forced fumble, 11 passes defensed, and three interceptions along with two Super Bowl rings. Despite being “only” a fourth-round draft pick, Ike Taylor was the Steelers top cornerback for many years.

So there are the top five draft picks of the Kevin Colbert era coming from the fourth round. Make sure you check back on Tuesday for the next article which will highlight the third-round picks.

In case you missed the previous articles, they can be seen below: