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Steelers Fantasy Island: Redrafting 1980-1984

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Part Two continues the fantasy redrafting of each of the first two rounds from 1980 to ‘84.

Welcome back to BTSC’s fantasy redraft of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This time around we visit the drafts that occurred in the aftermath of the glorious 1970’s. This time around, we only stand by one pick. Spoiler alert...It’s not 1983.

Once again, I need to reissue the disclaimer from Part One.

I realize that any changes would possibly alter the Steelers entirely and that the Steelers that we know today could look altogether different. Remember that this is merely an essay on what other possibilities existed. I only chose players drafted within 15 picks of the Steelers actual choice. I only included the first two rounds of each draft from 1975-2015. Remember to have fun as we drift into fantasy and destroy the space-time continuum altogether.

Once again, Welcome back to Steelers Fantasy Island...Part Deux

1980

Round 1 Pick 28

Actual Pick: QB Mark Malone-Arizona State

Re-Pick: LB Matt Millen-Penn State (Round 2 Pick 43)

Mark Malone had very little success in Pittsburgh, but he did lead the Steelers to the AFC Championshp Game following the 1984 season. In his career with the Steelers, Malone was 21-24 and had a completion percentage of 50.9%. In his eight, black and gold seasons, Malone threw for 60 touchdowns, but was intercepted 81 times.

The Pro Bowler at linebacker was a part of four Super Bowl winners for three different franchises. Although not a quarterback, Millen was a defensive version of the position for 12 seasons.

Round 2 Pick 35

Actual Pick: LB Bob Kohrs-Arizona State

Re-Pick: DE Rulon Jones-Utah State (Round 2 Pick 42)

Kohrs started six of 55 games for the Steelers. He accumulated 3.5 sacks in five seasons.

Jones had a long and productive career in Denver, where he picked up 52.5 sacks and recovered 10 fumbles. The team was trying to refortify their defensive line and Jones could have been the answer for the 80s.

Round 2 Pick 56

Actual Pick: DE John Goodman-Oklahoma

Re-Pick: CB LeRoy Irvin-Kansas (Round 3 Pick 70)

Goodman (not the co-star of "Roseanne") started 50 games for the Steelers at defensive end. He collected seven sacks in five seasons.

The 11-year career of Le-Roy Irvin for the Rams and Lions, saw the CB:PR/KR start 120 of his 159 games. Irvin picked-off five balls and was a good return-man.

1981

Round 1 Pick 17

Actual Pick: DE Keith Gary-Oklahoma

Re-Pick: OT Mark May-Pittsburgh (Round 1 Pick 20)

Contrary to popular belief, Gary was not a bust. He had 25 sacks in his six seasons with the Steelers. His decision to go and play in Canada for two years for Montreal instead of signing with Pittsburgh, ruffled some feathers in the organization.

May won two Super Bowls for the Redskins in his 12-year career that also saw him play in San Diego and Arizona. A starter in 142 of 159 games at both guard and tackle, May was elected to the Pro Bowl in 1988.

Round 2 Pick 44

Actual Pick: CB Anthony Washington-Fresno State

Re-Pick: DE Howie Long-Villanova (Round 2 Pick 48)

Washington started one game for the Steelers in his two seasons with the team and picked off three passes in that time. He moved on to the Redskins and picked off five more in two years.

Howie Long would have been an amazing Steeler. The Hall of Famer had 84 sacks in 13 years with the Raiders at left defensive end. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection would have been a major upgrade over Gary.

1982

Round 1 Pick 12

Actual Pick: RB Walter Abercrombie-Baylor

Re-Pick: OT Luis Sharpe-UCLA (Round 1 Pick 16)

Abercrombie was not a bad back for the Steelers, there were just more prolific options overall here. He gained 4,696 total yards as a Steeler and scored 29 touchdowns, both rushing and receiving.

The 6'5" and 275-pound Sharpe started all of his 190 games played in his 13-year career. The LT was selected to three Pro Bowls as a member of the Cardinals.

Round 2 Pick 43

Actual Pick: OT John Meyer-Arizona State

Re-Pick: WR Mark Duper-Northwestern State (Round 2 Pick 52)

Meyer injured his knee in training camp and never played in an NFL game.

Duper was a phenomenal receiver in the 1980s. He caught 511 balls for 8,862 yards and 59 TDs in his 11 seasons as a Dolphin. "Super Duper" was a Pro Bowler four-times and named as an All Pro twice.

1983

Round 1 Pick 21

Actual Pick: DT Gabriel Rivera-Texas Tech

Re-Pick: QB Dan Marino-Pittsburgh (Round 1 Pick 27)

We never will know whether or not the football brilliance that the Steelers saw in Rivera would have been validated. "Señor Sack" got off to a promising start with two sacks in six games. But sadly, a car accident while driving impaired during his rookie season left him paralyzed from the chest down. In 2012, Rivera was recognized for his gridiron greatness and inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

If only Chuck Noll and Art Jr. had more respect for John Clayton's suggestion to Dan Rooney that Marino should be the pick. The Steelers and Marino could have been a beautiful union.

Round 2 Pick 52

Actual Pick: WR Wayne Capers-Kansas

Re-Pick: CB Albert Lewis-Grambling (Round 2 Pick 61)

Capers started in four of his 25-game career with Pittsburgh. He caught 17 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown. Moving on to the Colts in 1985 and 1986, Capers more-than-doubled his production with 34 catches, 556 yards and four scores.

Lewis excelled for 11 years in Kansas City and five in Oakland. The Chiefs Hall of Famer was 3x an All Pro and 4x a Pro Bowler. Considered one of the best corners in league history, Lewis had 42 career pickoffs.

1984

Round 1 Pick 23

Actual Pick: Louis Lipps-Southern Mississippi

Re-Pick: No Change

Louis Lipps was one of the team's biggest stars of the 1980s. Lipps had 39 receiving touchdowns in his eight seasons with the team. He was also a dynamic return-man who scored three times returning punts. No. 83 ranks is the 6th leading receiver in the franchise record books.

Round 2 Pick 52

Actual Pick: TE Chris Kolodziejski-Wyoming

Re-Pick: TE John Frank-Ohio State (Round 2 Pick 56)

In his lone season in the NFL, the Steeler TE caught 5 balls for 59 yards. Not enough production for a second rounder.

Frank only played five seasons in the NFL, but he played on two Super Bowl champs, one as a reserve and one as a starter. Over his career, Frank caught 65 balls for 662 yards. Following Super Bowl XXIII, Frank retired to go to medical school. Now, John Frank is a successful hair restoration surgeon.

Join us next time for Part Three and 1985-1989