Move out of the way round one: the second round picks are coming through!
I know I may sound borderline crazy (or totally crazy, but that's my take) at times, and I'm going to offer up another wild one for "yinz" today: we all expect first round picks to pan out and be great players. But how about giving a big hand to Steelers GM Kevin Colbert and company for how they've done with their second-round picks in recent years?
Traditionally the Steelers have built through the NFL Draft since Chuck Noll came to town and installed his philosophy in the team. Unlike other franchises, Pittsburgh is nary a player in free agency and opts to instead re-sign their own homegrown prospects over another team's retreads.
In that regard, it's been important that the Steelers nail their drafts. As mentioned, a first-round pick should play like a first-round pick. While that doesn't always happen (with any round pick for that matter), second round selections have propped up the Steelers success in recent years.
2018 second round pick, Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington, hopes to join the ranks of other prosperous players listed below. Let's take a look at those players taken following the first round, in the last decade, and how they've had an impact with the team.
Last year's second-rounder was supposed to be a luxury pick.
"Unnecessary" was the word thrown around more than most, but Smith-Schuster made Martavis Bryant expendable. In his rookie season with the Steelers, JuJu caught 58 passes for 917 yards and 7 touchdowns: both second on the team in those categories.
But Smith-Schuster also infused fun and intensity into his new team. Fans will talk for years about his touchdown celebrations, stolen bike story, and how he laid out Bengals enforcer Vontaze Burfict.
If that's not an impact, I don't know what is. (And I can't wait to see what else is to be written in JuJu's future.)
Davis is an interesting case study, as when he was drafted no one was sure of what position he would play.
Entering 2018, we still don't know!
The versatile college cornerback and safety started as a slot corner with the Steelers during his rookie season but was eventually moved into the strong safety role midway through the year. He's also an ironman, seldom missing snaps and playing in every game for the Steelers thus far in his career.
Well, there is this pick, which sadly for both parties, didn't work out.
Golson was unable to ever play a snap in three seasons for the Steelers... even in the preseason. The much-needed cornerback kept getting hurt in training camp, which made him expendable last season.
If there's one thing Golson was good for, it's that he the staff's eyes on his college counterpart Mike Hilton, who joined Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent and is now their starting nickel corner.
Tuitt was the second-round steal before JuJu became a second-round steal.
As a player many gave a first-round grade, Tuitt entered the 2014 NFL Draft as an accomplished college player. I recall seeing his name come up on day two of the draft and completely forgetting he was still available.
Defensive linemen are seldom exciting picks, but Tuitt has helped anchor the other side of the Steelers line, bookending captain Cam Heyward. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2015, Tuitt has 99 tackles and 14.5 sacks. His play has been so solid that the team rewarded him with a $60 million deal last offseason.
Controversial but a complete, All-Pro back, Le'Veon Bell is currently attempting to redefine the running back market by contract terms, but has already done so with his play.
Back in 2013, teams were shying away from the position. No running backs were selected in the first round of the draft. It took 37 picks for a franchise to bite on one when the Cincinnati Bengals selected Giovani Bernard.
11 picks later the Steelers would select Bell, who would go on to turn heads in the Steel City with his dual-threat ability as a runner and receiver. In five seasons, Le'Veon has tallied 5,336 rushing yards and 2,660 receiving yards, along with a total of 42 touchdowns.
He twice broke Pittsburgh's single-game postseason rushing record... and in back-to-back games.
No matter how his contract negotiations, and future, turn out, Bell will long be considered one of the team's greatest second-round picks.
Filed under the Golson category of "incomplete", this Ohio State tackle was thought to be an incredible value for where he was taken in the draft.
Unfortunately, Adams career didn't turn out for the better. Unable to anchor the left side of the line, and losing his job to a 7th round pick (Kelvin Beachum) Adams was no more than a backup swing tackle since our next name secured the starting job on the right side of the line.
While he doesn't have the fancy honors and Pro Bowl selections to back up this statement, Gilbert has been nothing short of great since being taken in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Many consider Gilbert one of the best right tackles in the game. He's also been rather consistent, starting in 82 of the 83 games he has appeared in and helping pave the way for the Steelers potent offense over the last several seasons.
A defensive end at Virginia Tech, Worilds was a conversion project who was to be the next great sack master.
And he nearly was.
When the team was debating on what to do with an injured LaMarr Woodley, it was Worilds who rose to the occasion to become a starter. He flashed the potential to get to the quarterback, getting 8 sacks in 2013 before signing his transition tag in 2014 and getting another 7.5.
With everyone wondering if the Steelers could retain Worilds for the 2015 season and beyond, the outside linebacker instead surprised everyone by announcing his retirement during the second day of a free agency period where he was expected to cash in on a big contract. He left pro football following five seasons with 25.5 career sacks.