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Pittsburgh Steelers rank first in draft success since 1996

In the last 20 years, no team has drafted better than the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

While fans and pundits are busy hyperanalyzing each potential draft pick and coming up with their final predictions ahead of Thursday night's NFL Draftthe Washington Post has ranked all 32 NFL teams on their success in the draft over the last 20 years.

The Pittsburgh Steelers came out ahead of all other teams. The Washington Post used Pro Football Reference's draft value metric, explained here. According to that methodology, the Steelers average draft value of 16.37 is well ahead of the Indianapolis Colts who rank second with an average draft value of 15.27.

The Cleveland Browns rank dead last with an average draft value of 9.55, which comes as no surprise. After all, the Browns introduced the world to first-round draft busts Johnny Manziel, Trent Richardson, and Tim Couch, among other NFL disappointments.

The secret to the Steelers success in the draft? Mel Kiper, ESPN's resident draft guru, cited stability. The Cleveland Browns, lack stability. "Cleveland is a snake pit. Look at all the top picks that have failed over the last 10 or 15 years," Kiper expounded via The Washington Post. "If you're picking early year after year and you can't get players that are franchise changers, then something's wrong."

Rounding out the bottom five are the Detroit Lions, St. Louis turned Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, and Oakland Raiders. As for the rest of the AFC North, the Ravens rank fourth on the list, just behind Green Bay, and the Bengals are 11th.

The Steelers are one of the most stable teams in the entire league and have very low turnover in the front office and on the coaching staff. The team has had just three coaches since 1969 and have been owned by the Rooneys for the better part of a century. Stability pays big dividends when it comes to the draft, and in free agency. When OLB Arthur Moats joined the team last year from the Buffalo Bills, he remarked via the Post-Gazette, "When I came here, just the continuity as a team, from the front office to the coaching staff to the players, it was so stable."

Mike Tomlin recognized the importance of stability back in 2009, saying via USA Today, "We believe that there's value in continuity. It's easy to be stable when you win."