In case you missed it, we’re counting down the five best multiple-pick rounds in Pittsburgh Steelers drafts since Kevin Colbert started running the draft in 2000.
After revealing No. 4 and No. 5 in Part 1 of this series (click here), we’ll unveil the top three here.
Prosportstransactions.com was used for information on draft trades.
3. 2002 Seventh Round
The Steelers likely will continue to reap the benefits of the 2002 draft in 2013. Seventh-rounder Brett Keisel figures to be with the Steelers for at least another year.
Keisel began making an impact in 2005 with three sacks. He became a starter at defensive end the following year. He’s had 25 career sacks, broken up 31 passes, forced six fumbles and recovered seven fumbles in his career.
Keisel made the Pro Bowl and helped the Steelers get to the Super Bowl in 2010.
The Steelers’ third-best multiple-pick round of the Colbert era also comes with subtle infamy. Before taking Keisel with the 242nd pick, the Steelers traded kicker Kris Brown to the Houston Texans for the top pick in the seventh round. With the 212th pick, the Steelers drafted LaVar Glover. The defensive back appeared in two games in 2002. The problem was that it was with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Steelers couldn’t be blamed for dealing Brown, who missed 14 of 44 field-goal attempts in 2001. However, Brown kicked a field goal to help the Texans stun the Steelers 24-6 at Heinz Field in 2002. That loss to the 4-12 Texans cost the Steelers home-field advantage in the playoffs, where they lost at Tennessee in overtime in the divisional round.
2. 2010 Sixth Round
Now we get to multiple-pick rounds that actually include more than one productive pick.
The Steelers selected running back Jonathan Dwyer with their original sixth-round pick, No. 188. Dwyer hasn’t exactly been Franco Harris, but at least he’s more than just a forgettable name in the Steelers’ draft archives.
Dwyer started six games for the Steelers in 2012 and led the team with 623 rushing yards. He also caught 18 passes. The Steelers drafted Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell in the second round last month and he’ll get every chance to start as a rookie. But Dwyer is projected to provide depth.
Seven picks after taking Dwyer, the Steelers knocked their next pick out of the park by drafting Antonio Brown at No. 195. The Steelers traded a 2010 fifth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals to acquire Bryant McFadden and the pick that was used for Brown.
Brown’s breakout moment in his rookie year came in the AFC divisional playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens. He pinned a 58-yard Ben Roethlisberger pass to his helmet on third-and-19, setting up the winning touchdown.
Brown was the Steelers’ Most Valuable Player in 2011. He caught 69 passes, two for touchdowns, and returned a punt for a touchdown. He was second in the NFL with 2,211 all-purpose yards and led the league with 16.6 yards per touch.
Last season, Brown caught 66 passes, including five touchdowns. He fumbled four times, however, and will need to fix that problem in 2013.
1. 2009 Third Round
Even though the Steelers no longer will enjoy the fruits of this round, it’s still the best multiple-pick round in any Colbert draft.
As defending Super Bowl champions, the Steelers picked last in every round in 2009. So they traded their second- and fourth-round picks, Nos. 64 and 132, to the Denver Broncos for their two third-rounders.
With the 79th pick, the Steelers chose guard Kraig Urbik. He doesn’t factor into these rankings because a player’s career with another team isn’t considered. The Steelers let Urbik go after one year, and he’s started 28 games for the Buffalo Bills over the past three seasons.
Five picks later, however, the Steelers chose Mike Wallace with the other pick they acquired from the Broncos.
Wallace caught 39 passes as a rookie and led the NFL with 19.4 yards per reception. He was instrumental in the Steelers’ Super Bowl run in 2010, catching 60 passes for 10 touchdowns. He was second in the league with 21 yards per catch.
Wallace made the Pro Bowl in 2011 with a career-high 72 receptions, including eight touchdowns. After catching 64 passes and scoring another eight touchdowns in 2012, Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent. The Steelers would have kept him if it weren’t for salary cap restrictions.
The Broncos, meanwhile, chose tight end Richard Quinn with the second-round pick they got from the Steelers. He’s now with the Cincinnati Bengals, his third NFL team, and has one career reception. In the fourth round, Denver took Seth Olsen. The guard has five starts under his belt and joined his third team when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason.
With their original third-round pick, No. 96 overall, the Steelers drafted cornerback Keenan Lewis. He was slow to develop, starting just one game in his first three seasons.
Then in 2012, Lewis emerged as a shutdown corner, starting all 16 games and breaking up 23 passes, second in the NFL. The Steelers felt Cortez Allen was ready to become a starter and let Lewis go to the New Orleans Saints as a free agent.
It’s telling that the Steelers’ best multiple-pick draft round since 2000 is one with a four-year expiration date.
It’s a lot easier to find five multiple-pick rounds where the Steelers whiffed.