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Steelers Fantasy Island: Redrafting 2005-2009

BTSC continues the “ifs and buts” of a fantasy redrafting of Steeler drafts from 1975-2015. This time around we journey back to 2005-2009.

AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's time for the latest installment of BTSC's redrafting of the first two rounds of drafts occurring between between 1975 and 2015. This time around we revisit the drafts of the half-decade that landed a Super Bowl hero, a Super Bowl scapegoat and a man that inspired his name to be chanted during games even after his retirement.

But first, we need to review the guidelines with the following disclaimer that still isn't all that effective.

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.

Now welcome back to Steelers Fantasy Island and 2005-2009.


Round 1 Pick 30

Actual Pick: TE Heath Miller

Re-Pick: No Change

One of Steeler Nation's all-time favorites at the TE position in the history of the team, Miller played 11 seasons in Pittsburgh and chants of "Heeeeeeeath" still emanate in Heinz Field when a tight end makes a catch. The third-ranked player in Steeler history in terms of catches with 592 grabs and fourth with 6,569 yards had 45 TDs, but also excelled as an esteemed blocker at the position. Miller went to two Pro Bowls and won two rings as a Steeler.

Round 2 Pick 62

Actual Pick: CB Bryant McFadden-Florida State

McFadden is a 2x Super Bowl and a 2x Steeler. No. 20 spent four years playing in Pittsburgh, left for Arizona for a year, then returned until his release in 2012. In seven seasons, the Florida Stater had 294 tackles, 54 passes defended and nine interceptions, all nine as a Steeler.

Re-Pick: DE Justin Tuck-Notre Dame (Round 3 Pick 73)

Like BMac, Tuck is also a 2x champ. The 2x Pro Bowler and 2x All Pro was a top-shelf pass rusher for 11 seasons (nine with the Giants, two with the Raiders). The Notre Dame alum had 510 tackles, 66.5 sacks, 22 forced fumbles and three interceptions. A member of the Giants Ring of Honor, Tuck retired after the 2015 season and started working on his MBA at Wharton in 2016.


Round 1 Pick 25

Actual Pick: WR Santonio Holmes-Ohio State

Holmes can't be replaced here due to his Super Bowl XLIII MVP performance for the Steelers. Santonio is the 12th-leading receiver in Steeler history with 3,835 yards and tied for 11th with Mike Wallace with 235 receptions. The veteran of nine seasons in the NFL spent four with the Steelers. Off-the-field missteps led to the trade of No. 10 to the Jets (for a fifth-rounder) after a career year in 2009, in which Holmes had 79 catches for 1,248 yards.

Re-Pick: No Change

Round 2 Pick 64

Actual Pick: No Pick (due to trade-up with the New York Giants for Holmes)

Re-Pick: No Change

I'm cool with the loss of a pick to acquire Holmes. The best available player here was Eric Winston of Miami (FL), a very accomplished lineman, but the trade was necessary to replace a departed Antwan Randle-El and losing a second-rounder for a SB MVP trophy is well worth it.


Round 1 Pick 15

Actual Pick: LB Lawrence Timmons-Florida State

Re-Pick: No Change

Timmons gave the Steelers ten seasons of quality at ILB from 2007-2016. "The Law Dog" went to a Pro Bowl after the 2015 season and started 158 games and accumulated 988 tackles, had 35.5 sacks and picked-off 12 passes. The 2016 season was one of LT's finest when he posted his sixth out of seven seasons with 100-plus tackles and represented the heart and soul of the defense. The Steelers did not retain Timmons and he signed with Miami in March.

Round 2 Pick 46

Actual Pick: LB LaMaar Woodley-Michigan

Re-Pick: No Change

The Steelers went linebacker again in the second round with LaMaar Woodley, a dominating force on the outside for seven seasons with the Steelers. With 57 career sacks in the regular season, No. 56 added another 11 in the postseason, including an NFL record streak of seven-consecutive games. Woodley's health became an issue and shortened his 1x All Pro and Pro Bowl career.


Round 1 Pick 24

Actual Pick: RB Rashard Mendenhall-Illinois

Re-Pick: RB Chris Johnson-East Carolina

(Round 1 Pick 25)

Mendenhall always seemed somewhat disinterested in football, but he was very talented nonetheless. Legend has it that his rookie year, Mendy was allegedly the victim of a bounty hit by Ray Lewis that cost him most of his rookie season and a spot in Super Bowl XLIII. In five seasons as a Steeler, No. 34 rushed for 3,549 yards and 29 TDs. His finest season was 2010 when he gained 1,273 yards and had 13 rushing TDs. Steeler Nation somewhat soured on Mendenhall for a crucial fumble (in fairness, not many guys would have held on to the ball after that vicious hit) in the Super Bowl loss, not showing up to a game in which he was deactivated and for his disagreeable comments surrounding 9/11. His final season as a Steeler was marred by injury and poor play. He moved on to Arizona, where he scored eight touchdowns in one season, but quit after one season at age 26 to "travel the world and write". Mendenhall is currently a story editor and writer for the football comedy on HBO, "Ballers".

One normally wouldn't replace a player that was productive as was Mendenhall, but Johnson was picked in the very next spot. Still in the league, CJ2K has rushed for 9,537 yards in nine seasons, including 2,003 in 2009. Add in 2,212 receiving yards and nine more TDs, the Titan/Jet/Cardinal has 64 total. In Johnson's 2009 season, he set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage with 2,509 yards. The 3x Pro Bowler and 1x All Pro was NFL Offensive Player of the Year and the league's leading rusher in 2009.

Round 2 Pick 53

Actual Pick: WR Limas Sweed-Texas

Re-Pick: TE Martellus Bennett-Texas A&M (Round 2 Pick 61)

Sweed was a highly-celebrated selection coming from the University of Texas, but his penchant for dropping passes hindered his career with the Steelers. In only two seasons, Sweed had seven receptions for 69 yards in twenty games.

The 6'7" Bennett is a newly-crowned Super Bowl champ. A Pro Bowler in 2014, Marty is entering his 10th season as a professional with Green Bay, his fifth stop. Previously he has played for Dallas, the Giants, Chicago and New England and has tallied 4,287 yards and 30 TDs. Bennett was a key contributor in the Patriots championship season.


Round 1 Pick 32

Actual Pick: DE Evander "Ziggy" Hood-Missouri

Re-Pick: DE Connor Barwin-Cincinnati (Round 2 Pick 46)

Because of the Super Bowl XLIII victory, Pittsburgh picked last in the first round. Ziggy Hood was the result. No. 96 had 11 sacks and 144 tackles in five seasons as a Steeler. He moved on to Jacksonville in 2014, spent '15 in Chicago and reemerge as a starter Washington in 2016. Hood was a starter in Super Bowl XLV against Green Bay.

Now a Los Angeles Ram, Connor Barwin is still an effective pass rusher in the league. Between four seasons each with both Houston and Philadelphia, the 30 year-old Pro Bowler had 50.5 sacks in his eight years in the NFL.

Round 2 Pick 64

Actual Pick: Traded to Denver with Round 4 Pick 132 for Round 3 Picks 79 and 84

Re-Pick: No Change

The best the Steelers could have done here was probably G Louis Vasquez, RB Shonn Greene or DT Terrance Knighton. However, the trade netted the Steelers WR Mike Wallace and OL Kraig Urbik, who are both still in the league. It was a good move.

Stop by next time for the final installment of Steelers Fantasy Island and 2010-2015.