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Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Review: the class of 2010

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The 2015 NFL Draft is weeks away, and we continue our review of draft classes under head coach Mike Tomlin. Today, the class of 2010.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our journey back in time analyzing the Pittsburgh Steelers draft classes under head coach Mike Tomlin. We have already analyzed the '07, '08 and '09 classes, and today we take a look at the class of 2010 which saw many bright spots come to the city of Pittsburgh.

2010 Steelers Draft Class:

1st Round: Maurkice Pouncey, C
2nd Round: Jason Worilds, OLB
3rd Round: Emmanuel Sanders, WR
4th Round: Thaddeus Gibson, OLB
5th Round: Chris Scott, G
5th Round: Crezdon Butler, DB
5th Round: Stevenson Sylvester, OLB
6th Round: Jonathan Dwyer, RB
6th Round: Antonio Brown, WR
7th Round: Dough Worthington, DT

Although highly criticized for the earlier draft classes in the Tomlin era, GM Kevin Colbert had a tremendous draft class in 2010. Armed with 10 picks, Tomlin and Colbert addressed more than just team needs, but found some gems who still are contributing to the Steelers team in 2015.

In the first round, taking Maurkice Pouncey to be the anchor of your offensive line might have been the smartest decision the franchise could have made. Since Jeff Hartings' retirement, the team had struggled to find a center who could own the interior of the offensive line. Pouncey fit the bill from day one, being named to his first Pro Bowl as a rookie. Pouncey received a new contract prior to the 2014 season which will keep him in Pittsburgh for years to come.

Jason Worilds was the next player selected, and although never fully living up to the second round label, Worilds produced for the Steelers. He was a quality backup at the OLB position dealing with injuries early in his career, but when given the chance to start in 2013, he showed he was capable of contributing as an every down player. 2014 was a disappointing season for Worilds which ended in his sudden retirement, but Worilds' contributions to the team were certainly better than some previous 2nd round picks in the Tomlin era.

The third round saw Emmanuel Sanders be drafted, and the 'Young Money Crew' was starting to form as Sanders joined Mike Wallace as one of the many young, fast and crafty wide receivers to be drafted between '09-'10. Sanders was a solid and consistent contributor at the wide receiver position while also sharing in kickoff and punt returns throughout his tenure with the Steelers. Following the 2013 season, Sanders hit the free agent market and eventually chose to play with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

In the fourth round the Steelers went after another pass rusher in Thaddeus Gibson from Ohio State. Gibson was touted with tons of potential which never seemed to come to fruition as Gibson failed to make the Steelers' roster and later spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears before leaving the NFL in 2012.

Then started a stretch of three 5th round draft picks for the Steelers. Their first 5th round selection was picking Chris Scott, a versatile lineman who stayed with Pittsburgh until 2012 before leaving for the Buffalo Bills and is currently on the Carolina Panthers roster. With their second 5th round selection, the Steelers took Crezdon Butler, a defensive back. Butler stuck with the Steelers until 2010 before becoming a journeyman cornerback which had him playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. The final 5th round pick was spent on Stevenson Sylvester, another athletic linebacker. Sylvester spent the majority of his tenure with Pittsburgh as a special teams player, and stayed with the Steelers until going to the Bills in 2014.

The Steelers had two 6th round selections, and they made the most of these picks. RB Jonathan Dwyer was selected with their first 6th round pick and produced nearly 1,000 yards in his years with the Steelers. Dwyer left Pittsburgh before the 2014 season to play for the Arizona Cardinals and Bruce Arians. It was there he was arrested on charges of domestic violence and was released from the organization. The Steelers' second 6th round pick in 2010 might be one of the greatest late-round picks in Steelers, or NFL, history as WR Antonio Brown was taken. Brown has become more than just a Pro Bowl wide out, but one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Brown has consistently improved year after year, and 2014 saw him shatter many receiving records for the Steelers. A late round gem by drafting Brown would be a huge understatement.

In the 7th round, with their final draft pick, the Steelers with DT Doug Worthington. Worthington spent the majority of his career with the Washington Redskins before a brief stint with the St. Louis Rams in 2014.

BTSC Draft Overview:

If there is a draft class for Tomlin and company to hang their hat on, it would be the 2010 draft class. Between Pouncy, Worilds, Sanders, Dwyer, Brown and even Sylvester they drafted players who contributed to the Steelers in a big way. Free agency is a reality in today's NFL, and keeping all producing players simply isn't a reality anymore. Nonetheless, the Steelers made the best of their 10 picks in 2010 with some key contributors and only 2 of the 8 who aren't in the NFL today.

Overall Grade: A