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5 best Steelers who were other teams’ fifth-round picks

They didn’t start their careers in Pittsburgh after being drafted in the 5th round of the NFL draft, but a few made contributions to the Steelers.

Steelers Kevin Green Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had many great players in their history. When looking specifically at draft picks, there are many who have made a huge impact on the team. Some of those players, although selected in various rounds, were not picks of the Pittsburgh Steelers but we’re acquired either by trade or through free agency.

After looking at the best players to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers as first-round draft picks that were selected by another franchise, it was requested to keep going into other rounds. For this reason, it’s time to now look at the fifth round. The following are the top five players since the 1970 merger based on their time with Pittsburgh even though they were a fifth-round pick of another team. Rather than rely completely on my own personal opinion, I took into consideration Pro Football Reference’s approximate value (AV) along Super Bowl victories from their time with the Steelers. (Note: Only the players were selected to the Pro Bowl or All-Pro will have it listed.)

Although the top of the list is one of the greats, the beginning of the list is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

5. Cam Thomas

Defensive tackle
Draft: Pick 146 in 2010 (San Diego Chargers)
Years with Steelers: 2014-2015
AV: 6
Super Bowls: 0

NFL: SEP 20 49ers at Steelers Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Seeing how this list starts out should be the first indication for Steelers fans this is the weakest list of any covered or those that remain. Cam Thomas signed with the Steelers as a free agent in 2014 and appeared in all 32 games with 10 starts. Thomas had 29 tackles and 0.5 sacks. Not really adding much to the Steelers defensive line in two seasons, Thomas’ most notable play for the Steelers was an 11-yards return on a fumble recovery which set up a third-quarter Chris Boswell field goal in the Steelers 18–16 win in the Wild Card Round over the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2015 playoffs.

4. Jonathan Scott

Offensive tackle
Draft: Pick 141 in 2006 (Detroit Lions)
Years with Steelers: 2010-2011
AV: 8
Super Bowls: 0

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

After two seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jonathan Scott did not make the team in 2008. In December, he joined the Buffalo Bills but did not appear in any games until 2009. During the 2010 offseason, Scott signed with the Steelers and appeared in 28 games over two seasons with 14 starts. Additionally, Scott started all three postseason games in 2010 including the Super Bowl.

3. Sean Mahan

Draft: Pick 168 in 2003 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Years with Steelers: 2007
AV: 8
Super Bowls: 0

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

After four seasons in Tampa where he started 36 games, the Steelers signed Sean Mahan to a five-year, $17 million contract in 2007. Mahan started all 16 games as well as the Steelers playoff game in 2007, but wasn’t what the Steelers were looking for at center and after Jeff Hartings. Signing Justin Hartwig the next offseason, the Steelers traded Mahan back to the Buccaneers just ahead of the 2008 regular season for a seventh-round draft pick. Yes, this is the story of the Steelers third-best player drafted in the fifth round by a franchise other than Pittsburgh.

2. Oliver Ross

Draft: Pick 138 in 1998 (Dallas Cowboys)
Years with Steelers: 2001-2004
AV: 18
Super Bowls: 0

Oakland Raiders v Pittsburgh Steelers

Only appearing in two games his rookie season of 1998, Oliver Ross failed to make the Cowboys roster in his second season. After landing in Philadelphia first on the practice squad, Ross was soon added to the 53-man roster but was inactive during every game. After being sent to the Amsterdam Admirals in the spring of 2000, Ross did not make the Eagles squad that fall and landed on the Steelers practice squad in November. In 2001, Ross appeared in every game for the Steelers with eight starts at guard. Playing four seasons in Pittsburgh, Ross never missed a game and had 27 starts at tackle his last two seasons.

1. Kevin Greene

Outside linebacker
Draft: Pick 113 in 1985 (Los Angeles Rams)
Years with Steelers: 1993-1995
AV: 37
Pro Bowls: 2
All-Pro: 1
Super Bowls: 0
Gold Jackets: 1

Pittsburgh Steelers Kevin Greene Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

For this list, there’s Kevin Greene and then everybody else. Although he only played three seasons in Pittsburgh, Greene had two Pro Bowl seasons as well as one season as an All-Pro in 1994 where he led the NFL in sacks with 14.0. Already with eight years experience with the Rams before coming to Pittsburgh, Greene played 15 years in the NFL where we had five total Pro Bowl selections and two First-Team All-Pro. In Pittsburgh, Greene started all 48 games where he had 184 tackles, 35.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, and one interception. Greene also added six more starts in the postseason where we had four tackles and 1.5 sacks. Greene was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016 before he passed away in 2020 at the age of 58. Despite playing for four different franchises and only having three of his 15 seasons with the Steelers, Kevin Greene chose to have his Hall of Fame celebration in Pittsburgh.

Those are the top five players for the Steelers who were drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft but were selected by another team and acquired later by Pittsburgh. So how does the list look? Were the players placed in the proper order? Was there anyone else who should have been on the list? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.