If the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers draft was made into a movie, the dramatic climax would come in the fourth round.
The Steelers traded next year’s third-round pick for the Browns’ fourth-round pick, No. 111, to draft flashy safety Shamarko Thomas. Then, four picks later, the Steelers dropped some jaws by drafting Landry Jones.
Jones is the first quarterback the Steelers have drafted in five years. The last time the Steelers went five years without drafting a quarterback was1949.
The Steelers drafted Oklahoma wide receiver Justin Brown in the sixth round, then used their compensatory sixth-round pick to take Florida State inside linebacker Vince Williams.
The fourth and sixth rounds of the Steelers’ 2013 draft were their 20th and 21st multiple-pick rounds since Kevin Colbert became director of football operations in 2000.
Like every team, the Steelers have stacked multiple picks in one round from time to time either by trading picks or through compensatory picks.
Some of those rounds have turned out better than others.
Not including the 2013 draft, we’ll look at No. 5 and No. 4 on our list of the top five multiple-pick rounds in Steelers drafts during the Colbert era.
5. 2007 Fifth Round
Guard Cameron Stephenson, taken with the No. 156 pick, didn’t make it with the Steelers and didn’t play a down in the NFL. But William Gay, taken 14 picks later with the Steelers’ compensatory pick, was a decent role player for five years and had enough of an impact to offset the Stephenson pick and make this round one of the Steelers five best multiple-pick rounds since 2000.
After playing a year in Arizona, Gay is back for a second act in Pittsburgh.
Gay’s biggest contribution came in 2011, when he started 15 games at cornerback. He made game-saving, fourth-quarter interceptions in wins over the Bengals and Browns that season. The Cardinals cut Gay after the 2012 season, and with Cortez Allen replacing Keenan Lewis as a starter, the Steelers brought back Gay to replace Allen at nickelback.
4. 2000 Fifth Round
The Steelers drafted outside linebacker Clark Haggans with the 137th overall pick. He broke out in his third season and had 32.5 sacks and 17 passes defended between 2002 and 2007. He started at least 13 games beginning in 2004 and had six sacks for the 15-1 Steelers that year. He also had one sack in both of the Steelers’ playoff games in 2004.
Haggans turned in his best season in 2005. His nine sacks and four forced fumbles during the regular season and 1.5 sacks in the postseason helped the Steelers win their fifth championship.
In the opening series of Super Bowl XL, Haggans sacked Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for a 4-yard loss on third-and-9. That forced the first of four Tom Rouen punts near midfield that could have pinned the Steelers deep in their own territory, but instead went into the end zone for a touchdown.
Haggans earned his ring.
The Steelers didn’t do so well with their other fifth-round pick. They’re among 31 teams that missed the boat on Tom Brady, the most glaring reminder being their selection of Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin with their compensatory fifth-round pick, No. 163 overall.
Martin never threw a pass for the Steelers and was gone after two years. Brady was chosen in the sixth round at No. 199, but the Steelers’ restitution for passing on Brady came when they drafted Ben Roethlisberger four years later. Still, if a round in which Tee Martin was chosen is No. 4 on this list, it doesn’t speak well of the Steelers’ ability to capitalize on multiple-pick rounds.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll look at the top three multiple-pick rounds in Steelers’ drafts since 2000.