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.
Since we have already looked at the best draft picks by round, let’s take a look at the worst 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 lack of longevity a key factor in determining whether it was a bad 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.
Note: Players drafted in 2020 and beyond will not be considered unless they are no longer on the Steelers.
5: Buddy Johnson
Draft Year: 2021
NFL games played: 4
Linebacker Buddy Johnson landed on this list due to his career AV score, but the reason he was chosen as the last player in is because there still a possibility he could land somewhere in the NFL. Playing four games for the Steelers his rookie season in 2021, Johnson had two career tackles between his six defensive snaps and 59 special team snaps. Active the first two games of his career due to injuries at the position, Johnson was inactive for a number of games until two more midway through the season. Ultimately Johnson did not make the Steelers roster in 2022 yet bounced around to the 49ers and Texans practice squad. At this time, Johnson is not under contract for any NFL team.
4: Mathias Nkwenti
Draft Year: 2001
NFL games played: 2
Despite only appearing in two NFL games, offensive tackle Mathias Nkwenti was a member of the Steelers for three seasons from 2001 to 2003. Active for one game his rookie season in 2001, Nkwenti was inactive all of 2002 as well as the first five games of 2003. After appearing in the Steelers Week 6 matchup, Nkwenti landed on injured reserve and never appeared on the 53-man roster of another NFL team.
3: Doran Grant
Draft Year: 2015
NFL games played: 3
Thinking the Steelers might have had an answer at cornerback in the 2015 draft coming out of Ohio State, Doran Grant just never was able to find the field. Appearing in three games for the Steelers his rookie season, Grant only had one defensive snap along with 17 special team snaps after spending part of the season on the practice squad. Unfortunately, Grant did not make the team the following year and instead landed on the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills. Grant bounced around to several practice squads in the NFL over three seasons but never landed on another 53-man roster.
2: Thaddeus Gibson
Draft Year: 2010
NFL games played: 4
Landing this high on the list was as much as how the Steelers handed Thaddeus Gibson as it was a reflection on his career. After making the Steelers 53-man roster his rookie season 2010, Gibson was inactive to start the season and was ultimately released during the Steelers bye week. But instead of going onto the practice squad, Gibson was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco 49ers where he appeared in two games where he had three tackles and a forced fumble. Released in the middle of the preseason in 2011, Gibson was signed by the Chicago Bears late in the season where he appeared in two more games. After being released in August of the next year, Gibson was on the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans for part of 2012 but never made it to another practice squad again.
1: Fred Gibson
Draft Year: 2005
NFL games played: 0
I simply wanted to have back-to-back Gibsons by having these two in this order, but Fred Gibson with obvious choice for the number one spot as he never appeared in an NFL game. This Gibson was cut by the Steelers and signed to the practice squad of the Miami Dolphins in 2005, the year he was drafted. In all, Gibson was with five NFL franchises over three seasons but never made it above the practice squad onto a 53-man roster.
So there are the worst draft picks of the Kevin Colbert era coming from the fourth round. Make sure you check back on Thursday for the next article of the worst draft picks of the third round in the Kevin Colbert era.
In case you missed the previous articles on the top draft picks, they can be seen below:
The previous articles on the worst draft picks can be seen below: