Nothing certain about No. 15 pick's output heading into NFL draft
Kevin Colbert won't call this a can't-miss pick, but he almost does.
If the Steelers stay at No. 15 in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, they'll get a player comparable to a No. 7 or No. 8 selection in past drafts, according to their general manager.
When the Steelers' scouts and other football staff members began analyzing the class, Colbert said the reaction was, “We are going to be good. This is good. This is really working out good.”
“Afterwards, I'm saying there are like 19 guys that you could say, ‘Wow. We really feel good about getting him at No. 15,' ” Colbert said.
Of course, they felt the same way in 1991, one of only two previous times they were slotted at No. 15.
That pick? Florida linebacker-defensive end Huey Richardson, arguably their worst first-round selection in the last 40 years. He never started a game and was cut in training camp a year later.
The Steelers made a much better choice at No. 15 in 2007, coach Mike Tomlin's first draft with them — inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who has played on two Super Bowl teams.
But as they learned with Richardson, there are no guarantees the No. 15 pick will be a winner, even if it arrives before the midway point of the first round.
Four of the last six No. 15 picks have made at least one Pro Bowl appearance, but the 48 overall picks at that spot have combined for only 44 Pro Bowl appearances. Only one, defensive lineman Alan Page (1967) of the Vikings, made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he accounted for more than one-fifth of those Pro Bowl trips by himself.
Four No. 15 picks never started an NFL game, including Richardson, and two combined for three starts. Two No. 15 picks since 2003 were major busts: Rams defensive back Tye Hill (2006) and Eagles defensive end Jerome McDougle (2003).
No. 15 picks of recent vintage include Dolphins center Mike Pouncey (2011), Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (2010), Texans linebacker Brian Cushing (2009) and Chiefs guard Branden Albert (2008). All were selected for the Pro Bowl at least once. Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro of Texas was No. 15 last year.
Ten players chosen 15th started eight years or more in the league — but, perhaps surprisingly, the teams choosing one spot lower at No. 16 have fared better overall.
The No. 16 pick also yielded one Hall of Famer (Jerry Rice), a potential second in Troy Polamalu and 57 combined Pro Bowl appearances. And 12 started for eight years or more.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers opt for youth, speed while revamping roster
- Steelers finalize 53-man roster
- Former Steelers linebacker Harrison retires
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- Veteran Keisel settles into role with Steelers
- Preseason valuable for Steelers’ offensive line
- Steelers running back blunt about focusing on football
- Former longtime Steelers publicist Kiely dies
- Steelers cornerbacks Allen, Gay, Taylor have something to prove
- Rossi: Steelers will make small strides this season
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger