History of Pittsburgh Steelers First-Round NFL Draft Picks All Time

Few teams have been more consistently exceptional with their NFL Draft first-round picks across eras than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here's their full history.

Across eras, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the NFL’s most routinely successful franchises, and the team’s ability to develop and maximize first-round picks is a big reason why. Take a glimpse into the Steelers’ NFL Draft history in Round 1, and see why they’ve been so consistent on the professional stage.

Pittsburgh Steelers First-Round Draft Picks Throughout History

Two things are readily apparent when surveying the Steelers’ history of first-round picks. First off, they take their swings. Since 1968, Pittsburgh has only missed Round 1 once — in 2020, when they traded for Dolphins’ All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. And second, the Steelers know how to identify and build up talent.

Since the franchise’s very first draft showing, the Steelers have selected nine future Hall of Famers with their first-round selections. From 1969 to 1974 alone, Pittsburgh added Mean Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, and Lynn Swann.

Pittsburgh’s modern draft history has been just as strong. Around half of Pittsburgh’s Round 1 selections since the turn of the century have earned Pro Bowl honors. T.J. Watt, David DeCastro, Cameron Heyward, and Maurkice Pouncey have all fielded All-Pro honors more than once and are all potential Hall of Fame candidates in the future, along with two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Ben Roethlisberger.

2024

  • Troy Fautanu | Pick 20
    OT, Washington

2023

  • Broderick Jones | Pick 14
    OT, Georgia

2022

  • Kenny Pickett | Pick 20
    QB, Pittsburgh

2021

  • Najee Harris | Pick 24
    RB, Alabama

2020

The Steelers traded away their 18th pick to the Miami Dolphins.

2019

  • Devin Bush Jr. | Pick 10
    LB, Michigan

2018

  • Terrell Edmunds | Pick 28
    S, Virginia Tech

2017

  • T.J. Watt | Pick 30
    OLB, Wisconsin

2016

  • Artie Burns | Pick 25
    CB, Miami (FL)

2015

  • Bud Dupree | Pick 22
    OLB, Kentucky

2014

  • Ryan Shazier | Pick 15
    LB, Ohio State

2013

  • Jarvis Jones | Pick 17
    LB, Georgia

2012

  • David DeCastro | Pick 24
    G, Stanford

2011

  • Cameron Heyward | Pick 31
    DE, Ohio State

2010

  • Maurkice Pouncey | Pick 18
    C, Florida

2009

  • Evander Hood | Pick 32
    DE, Missouri

2008

  • Rashard Mendenhall | Pick 23
    RB, Illinois

2007

  • Lawrence Timmons | Pick 15
    LB, Florida State

2006

  • Santonio Holmes | Pick 25
    WR, Ohio State

2005

  • Heath Miller | Pick 30
    TE, Virginia

2004

  • Ben Roethlisberger | Pick 11
    QB, Miami (OH)

2003

  • Troy Polamalu* | Pick 16
    DB, USC

2002

  • Kendall Simmons | Pick 30
    G, Auburn

2001

  • Casey Hampton | Pick 19
    NT, Texas

2000

  • Plaxico Burress | Pick 8
    WR, Michigan State

1999

  • Troy Edwards | Pick 13
    WR, Louisiana Tech

1998

  • Alan Faneca* | Pick 26
    G, LSU

1997

  • Chad Scott | Pick 24
    DB, Maryland

1996

  • Jamain Stephens | Pick 29
    OT, North Carolina A&T

1995

  • Mark Bruener | Pick 27
    TE, Washington

1994

  • Charles Johnson | Pick 17
    WR, Colorado

1993

  • Deon Figures | Pick 23
    DB, Colorado

1992

  • Leon Searcy | Pick 11
    OT, Miami (FL)

1991

  • Huey Richardson | Pick 15
    LB, Florida

1990

  • Eric Green | Pick 21
    TE, Liberty

1989

  • Tim Worley | Pick 7
    RB, Georgia

1989

  • Tom Ricketts | Pick 24
    G, Pittsburgh

1988

  • Aaron Jones | Pick 18
    DE, Eastern Kentucky

1987

  • Rod Woodson* | Pick 10
    DB, Purdue

1986

  • John Rienstra | Pick 9
    G, Temple

1985

  • Darryl Sims | Pick 20
    DE, Wisconsin

1984

  • Louis Lipps | Pick 23
    WR, Southern Miss

1983

  • Gabe Rivera | Pick 21
    NT, Texas Tech

1982

  • Walter Abercrombie | Pick 12
    RB, Baylor

1981

  • Keith Gary | Pick 17
    DE, Oklahoma

1980

  • Mark Malone | Pick 28
    QB, Arizona State

1979

  • Greg Hawthorne | Pick 28
    RB, Baylor

1978

  • Ron Johnson | Pick 22
    DB, Eastern Michigan

1977

  • Robin Cole | Pick 21
    LB, New Mexico

1976

  • Bennie Cunningham | Pick 28
    TE, Clemson

1975

  • Dave Brown | Pick 26
    DB, Michigan

1974

  • Lynn Swann* | Pick 21
    WR, USC

1973

  • J.T. Thomas | Pick 24
    DB, Florida State

1972

  • Franco Harris* | Pick 13
    RB, Penn State

1971

  • Frank Lewis | Pick 8
    WR, Grambling State

1970

  • Terry Bradshaw* | Pick 1
    QB, Louisiana Tech

1969

  • Joe Greene* | Pick 4
    DT, North Texas

1968

  • Mike Taylor | Pick 10
    OT, USC

1967

The Steelers traded away their ninth pick to the Green Bay Packers.

1966

  • Dick Leftridge | Pick 3
    FB, West Virginia

1965

The Steelers traded away their third pick to the Chicago Bears.

1964

  • Paul Martha | Pick 10
    DB, Pittsburgh

1963

The Steelers traded away their 11th pick to the Chicago Bears.

1962

  • Bob Ferguson | Pick 5
    FB, Ohio State

1961

The Steelers traded away their sixth pick to the San Francisco 49ers.

1960

  • Jack Spikes | Pick 6
    FB, TCU

1959

The Steelers traded away their eighth pick to the San Francisco 49ers.

1958

The Steelers traded away their eighth pick to the San Francisco 49ers.

1957

  • Len Dawson* | Pick 5
    QB, Purdue

1956

  • Gary Glick | Pick 1
    DB, Colorado State

1956

  • Art Davis | Pick 5
    DB, Mississippi State

1955

  • Frank Varrichione | Pick 6
    OT, Notre Dame

1954

  • Johnny Lattner | Pick 7
    HB, Notre Dame

1953

  • Ted Marchibroda | Pick 5
    QB, Detroit Mercy

1952

  • Ed Modzelewski | Pick 6
    FB, Maryland

1951

  • Butch Avinger | Pick 9
    FB, Alabama

1950

  • Lynn Chandnois | Pick 8
    HB, Michigan State

1949

  • Bob Gage | Pick 6
    DB, Clemson

1948

  • Dan Edwards | Pick 9
    DE, Georgia

1947

  • Hub Bechtol | Pick 5
    DE, Texas Tech

1946

  • Felix (Doc) Blanchard | Pick 3
    FB, Army

1945

  • Paul Duhart | Pick 2
    HB, Florida

1944

  • Johnny Podesto | Pick 10
    HB, St. Mary’s (CA)

1943

  • Bill Daley | Pick 7
    FB, Columbia

1942

  • Bill Dudley* | Pick 1
    HB, Virginia

1941

The Steelers traded away their third pick to the Chicago Bears.

1940

  • Kay Eakin | Pick 3
    HB, Arkansas

1939

The Steelers traded away their second pick to the Chicago Bears.

1938

  • Whizzer White | Pick 4
    HB, Colorado

1937

  • Mike Basrak | Pick 5
    C, Duquesne

1936

  • Bill Shakespeare | Pick 3
    HB, Notre Dame

*Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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