Why did the Steelers fall so far so fast?



Note:  Join Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York paper and me for a week 6 NFL preview Friday Oct. 11 at 6 PM Eastern on or catch the archives on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.


The reason the Steelers have been so bad this year is their drafts have not refilled the pipeline of starters like it did in years past.  Here is the complete list of players drafted from 2008-2011.  The last two drafts are too new to get a good evaluation.


The bottom line is the Steelers have only 4 full time starters out of 33 total picks.  That is not enough to keep the Steelers competitive.  The issue this season is not the coach.  The problem is the front office.


2008 Draft  0 starters in 2013


1          23        Rashard Mendenhall   RB       Illinois

Mendenhall started for the Steelers for just 3 seasons and was let go in free agency in 2012.


2          53        Limas Sweed             WR      Texas

He never started a game for the team and had only 7 catches in 2 seasons.


3          88        Bruce Davis                LB       UCLA

He was only a special teams player in 5 games in 2008 and was released in 2009.


4          130      Tony Hills                   T          Texas

Hills was active for just 4 games in his 3 seasons with the team.


5          156      Dennis Dixon             QB       Oregon

Dixon has started 3 games when he was the only option.  His athleticism has gotten him a lot of tryouts.


6          188      Mike Humpal             OLB    Iowa

He did not make the final roster.


6          194      Ryan Mundy               FS        West Virginia

Mundy is a special teams player that did make 5 starts over 4 years for the team.



2009 Draft 1 starter 1 part time starter in 2013.

1          32        Ziggy Hood                 DT       Missouri

Hood has become a fairly productive player and intermittent starter.


3          79        Kraig Urbik                 T          Wisconsin

He never was active for the Steelers and was released in 2010.  He did start games for the Bills.


3          84        Mike Wallace             WR      Mississippi

Wallace was a 3rd round pick because he was a head case.  While this pick was successful, the team was done with him by 2013 and let him walk in free agency.


3          96        Keenan Lewis             DB       Oregon State

Lewis was active for only 13 games in his first 2 seasons.  He did start in 2012 but was not retained.


5          168      Joe Burnett                 DB       Central Florida

He was active for 15 games in 09 but did not make the roster in 2010.


5          169      Frank Summers           RB       Nevada-Las Vegas

He was active for only 2 games in 09 and was cut.


6          205      Ra’Shon Harris            DT       Oregon

Harris never played a game for the Steelers.


7          226      A.Q. Shipley               C         Penn State

He never made the Steelers roster.


7          241      David Johnson            TE       Arkansas State

He has started 25 games but has only 22 catches in his 4 seasons.  He is a blocking TE.




2010 Draft  2 starters one of which is injured.

1          18        Maurkice Pouncey      C         Florida

Pouncey has become a solid starter.


2          52        Jason Worilds             LB       Virginia Tech

They are waiting for Worilds to become the player they thought they saw.  So far he has not.


3          82        Emmanuel Sanders     WR      Southern Methodist

Sanders has become a decent WR and has 114 catches in 4 seasons.


4          116      Thaddeus Gibson        LB       Ohio State

He was never active for the Steelers.


5          151      Chris Scott                  T          Tennessee

In 2 years with the Steelers he was active for just 2 games.  He is a starter with the Panthers.


5          164      Crezdon Butler           DB       Clemson

He was active for just 4 games and then was released.


5          166      Stevenson Sylvester    LB       Utah

He is a good special teams player.


6          188      Jonathan Dwyer          RB       Georgia Tech

Dwyer was supposed to be the starter over several seasons but has yet to develop into the guy.


6          195      Antonio Brown           WR      Central Michigan

Brown is the second best pick out of this draft.  He has become a starter with 183 catches.


7          242      Doug Worthington      DE       Ohio State

He never played a game for the team.



2011 Draft  1 below average starter in 2013

1          31        Cameron Heyward      DE       Ohio State

The team expected Heyward to become a starter.  So far he is a rotational player at best.


2          63        Marcus Gilbert            T          Florida

Gilbert is a starter on a very poor O line.


3          95        Curtis Brown             DB       Texas

Brown is a decent dime back and special teams contributor.


4          128      Cortez Allen               DB       The Citadel

Allen has started 2 games this season.


5          162      Chris Carter                LB       Fresno State

Carter has been active in about half his games since 2011.  He has 7 total tackles.


6          196      Keith Williams           G         Nebraska

Despite the desperate need at OG, Williams never made the roster.


7          232      Baron Batch                RB       Texas Tech

Batch got 25 carries in 2012.  That was all.





That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.


You can listen to the podcasts at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and hear NNR Live Mondays and Fridays at 6PM Eastern time on .  The Monday show is a review of the previous week and the Browns game.  The Friday show previews the upcoming games.


Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.  

He also edits .  

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


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