Yup, we got more rings than any other franchise, with much of the Steelers' success being in recent history (as opposed to only being able to point to the 4 Super Bowl wins from the 70s.) And even before our two new rings from the 2000s, we had lots of success throughout the 90s as well (just no rings). We have endless div. wins, play off appearances, etc.
So, all is good in Steeler Nation. The same brain trust that got us to 3 SBs in 6 years, with two rings in that same span, is currently running the ship, so we know we must be in good shape.
Or are we?
As we all know, the draft is the foundation of our success; Pgh will always be one of the least active teams in free agency, which is fine with most of us, as we realize that the team adding the most high profile free agents almost always stink. It's fine to use free agency as the mere "sprinkles on top" and it is a winning formula. The only time it pays to add a high profile free agent is when you need that "one missing piece" to attain another ring.
So, all that being said, how has our drafting been lately, keeping in mind successful drafting means everything to this team? Well, if you ask the Steelers' front office, they are genius at drafting; just ask them. But, the stark reality is, Pgh has NOT been drafting well the last 5 years, and that is starting to show. No longer is it safe to assume the Steelers will draft well, because, well, they haven't been. On the contrary, their last 5 years of drafting has been pretty damn awful. Cowher inherited a lot of solid talent in Woodson, Lloyd, Lake, Foster, Eric Green, O'Donnell (OK, not too great but serviceable for a 3rd-round pick), Justin Strzelczyk, Carlton Haselrig, Dawson, Everett, etc. And then Cowher quickly added some solid talent of his own in Kirkland, Steed, Perry, Figures, Chad Brown, Hastings, Kevin Henry, Bam Morris, Myron Bell, Earl Holmes, Roye, Faneca, Hines Ward, Townsend, Joey Porter, Marvel Smith, Hampton, Kendrell Bell and then more recent talent such as Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, Big Ben, Starks, Heath Miller, etc.
OK, so what has happened since?
2007 wasn't a total waste, with Timmons and Woodley being drafted. And, then, the Steelers' drafting falls off a cliff.
1 23 Rashard Mendenhall RB Illinois - not a bust, but never lived up to his potential.
2 53 Limas Sweed WR Texas - complete bust.
3 88 Bruce Davis LB UCLA - totally worthless.
4 130 Tony Hills T Texas - waste of space.
5 156 Dennis Dixon QB Oregon - bust.
6 188 Mike Humpal OLB Iowa - crap
6 194 Ryan Mundy FS West Virginia - can't cover my mom
2008 was virtually a worthless draft effort. Just horrible. Who ever was in charge should be shot.
1 32 Ziggy Hood DT Missouri - disappointment. Never lived up to his draft slot.
3 79 Kraig Urbik T Wisconsin - off the team by his 2nd season. FAIL.
3 84 Mike Wallace WR Mississippi - great hit, but gone.
3 96 Keenan Lewis DB Oregon State - above.
5 168 Joe Burnett DB Central Florida - bust
5 169 Frank Summers RB Nevada-Las Vegas - lame
6 205 Ra'Shon Harris DT Oregon - waste
7 226 A.Q. Shipley C Penn State - bum
7 241 David Johnson TE Arkansas State - made team but no one knows why
1 18 Maurkice Pouncey C Florida - hit, but must stay healthy
2 52 Jason Worilds LB Virginia Tech - we will see this season
3 82 Emmanuel Sanders WR Southern Methodist - OK
4 116 Thaddeus Gibson LB Ohio State - bust
5 151 Chris Scott T Tennessee - bust
5 164 Crezdon Butler DB Clemson - bust
5 166 Stevenson Sylvester LB Utah - bust
6 188 Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech - lazy
6 195 Antonio Brown WR Central Michigan - great
7 242 Doug Worthington DE Ohio State - bust
1 31 Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State - hasn't even cracked a starting job 3 years in?
2 63 Marcus Gilbert T Florida - unknown, OK rookie season and then disappeared rest of 2012
3 95 Curtis Brown DB Texas - can't cover to save his life.
4 128 Cortez Allen DB The Citadel - decent but gone
5 162 Chris Carter LB Fresno State - worthless
6 196 Keith Williams G Nebraska - who?
7 232 Baron Batch RB Texas Tech - wouldn't make any other roster in NFL
1 24 David DeCastro G Stanford - unknown
2 56 Mike Adams T Ohio State - unknown
3 86 Sean Spence LB Miami (Fla.) - horrific knee injury
4 109 Alameda Ta'amu DT Washington - madman
5 159 Chris Rainey RB Florida - cut due to being a moron
7 231 Toney Clemons WR Colorado - gone
7 240 David Paulson TE Oregon - could be a back up
7 246 Terrence Frederick CB Texas A&M - gone
7 248 Kelvin Beachum T Southern Methodist - decent for where drafted
Bottom line, Pgh has NOT been drafting well the last 5 years and the rooster is coming home to roost. As our best talent fades into being old, we have very little to turn to as a way to re-load. How ever this team now drafts, and who ever is making the decisions, they have been sucking wind bad, and we are in trouble, unless last year's draft ends up having lots of hits and they absolutely nail it this year. If not, we are looking at being at the bottom of the division for a few years at least. And it's mostly because they have been awful at drafting in recent history. THAT has to be improved. The facts speak for themselves.