Best, worst second-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.
When Kevin Colbert took over the Pittsburgh Steelers’ football operations in 2000, the team was on a run of less-than-stellar second-round picks. Do the names Will Blackwell, Jeremy Staat and Scott Shields ring a bell?
Well, over almost two decades in charge himself, Colbert has his Staat’s, too. But he also has a handful of Pro Bowl-caliber players to hang his proverbial hat on.
Paring down Steelers’ second-round draft picks of the past two decades into the three best and worst was more difficult than most other rounds. Here’s a look:
Three best second-round picks
1. Le’Veon Bell, RB, 2013, 48th overall
Bell might not be the most popular person among Steelers Nation right now, but it can’t be ignored he put together one of the finest five-year stretches to open a career for a running back in NFL history. His legacy in Pittsburgh is a complicated one — but make no mistake, Bell was one of the most talented players ever to play for the Steelers.
2. LaMarr Woodley, OLB, 2007, 46th overall
Woodley had 50 sacks (including the playoffs) over his first four seasons, including an incredible 11 in seven postseason games in that time. Though his body broke down and he didn’t have the career longevity, he ranks fifth in franchise history in sacks and trails only Hall of Famer Kevin Greene in sacks per game.
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, 2017, 62nd overall
Many will say Kendrell Bell belongs here, and it’s true Bell had a rookie season that tops almost any for a defensive player in franchise history. Also, steady-if-unspectacular longtime tackles Marvell Smith and Marcus Gilbert were second-round picks. Smith-Schuster still has a lot to prove, but through two seasons he looks like a late-second-round steal.
Three worst second-round picks
1. Senquez Golson, CB, 2015, 56th overall
Golson is emblematic of the struggles the Steelers have had in drafting corners going back to since the Rod Woodson pick more than three decades ago. Golson never appeared in an NFL game.
2. Alonzo Jackson, OLB, 2003, 59th overall
That the Steelers missed so massively on their second-round pick that year was muted and overshadowed by the big-time hit they had in their first-rounder (Troy Polamalu). The Steelers will take that kind of “trade” every time.
3. Ricardo Colclough, CB, 2004, 38th overall
The Steelers had great success in taking a raw but talented prospect cornerback from a small school in 2003 (Ike Taylor); their similar attempt a year later did not turn out as well. Colclough, from Division II Tusculum, never developed into an NFL cornerback.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .