Best, worst 7th-round picks of Kevin Colbert’s Steelers tenure
Editor’s note: This NFL Draft will be the 20th under the eye of Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. His two-decade tenure has produced two Super Bowls and a consistent playoff contender. Colbert’s drafts mostly reflect that. Like all NFL personnel men, though, he’s had some picks he’d like to have back. In conjunction with the Trib’s coverage leading up to the April 25 start of the draft, we’ll look back at Colbert’s three best — and three worst — picks in each round over the years.
The seventh round might as well be called the “bonus round,” because anything a team gets out of it should be considered just that. Look at the Steelers’ track record in drafts since 2000: Despite being one of the NFL’s best drafting teams in that time, they have produced no more than four players with even marginal starting experience among 24 seventh-round picks in that time.
One of those four, though, became one of the franchise’s most recognizable players. Another, a hometown kid who became a longtime NFL starter.
The nature of seventh-round picks suggests a “bust” is impossible. But that doesn’t mean Colbert & Co. might not want a “do-over” or two if they had the chance.
Here’s a look at three of the good and bad over the past two decades for the Steelers during the draft’s final round:
Three best seventh-round picks
1. Brett Keisel, DE, 2002, 242nd overall
Keisel (and his beard) became a local icon. He became a two-time Super Bowl champion, an eight-year starter who played 156 games over a 13-season career. The final one of the Steelers’ eight picks that year, Keisel had the longest and arguably most productive career of any of his more-heralded 2002 draft mates.
2. Kelvin Beachum, OL, 2012, 248th overall
Beachum was not only the final offensive lineman picked in the 2012 draft, he was the fourth player alone taken from SMU. During the seventh round alone, the Steelers bypassed him three times. … until they took Beachum with their fourth seventh-round pick. All he’s done since is become a longtime NFL starting tackle.
3. A.Q. Shipley, OL, 2009, 226th overall
An alumnus of Moon and Penn State, Shipley never appeared in a regular-season game for the Steelers. But he did spend all of his rookie season on their practice squad. It wasn’t until 2012 that Shipley established himself, but when healthy he has been a starting-caliber interior offensive lineman ever since.
Three worst seventh-round picks
1. Gerod Holliman, S, 2015, 239th overall
Coming off a season in which their secondary severely lacked ball skills (sound familiar?), the Steelers were desperate for any playmaker they could find for the defensive backfield. Holliman had tied the FBS record for interceptions in a season (14) at Louisville, so it fit. One problem: Holliman couldn’t tackle. He was cut by the end of his rookie camp, not even signed to a practice squad.
2. Chris Taylor, WR, 2001, 218th overall
Just how nondescript was Taylor? His official NFL.com page doesn’t even list a position. He has no Wikipedia page. A speedster from Texas A&M, Taylor was cut during training camp and wasn’t added to the Steelers practice squad.
3. Josh Frazier, DT, 2018, 246th overall
Frazier wasn’t even a starter in college — but then again, his college was Alabama, which at times arguably had a better defensive line than some NFL teams. But even with his college position coach (Karl Dunbar) also joining the Steelers last year, Frazier never stood out. Just 44 preseason snaps, and coaches had seen enough; he hasn’t been seen since.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .