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Steelers History

Who is the Biggest Draft Bust in Steelers History?



Steelers LB Jarvis Jones

While the Steelers have drafted numerous All-Pros and Hall of Famers since their founding in 1933, the team has also drafted its fair share of “busts.”

With the 2023 NFL Draft right around the corner, some teams will be drafting future Pro Bowlers and All-Pros with their first round selections. Other teams will be drafting players that do not work out in the long run, sometimes labeled as a bust. 

According to a graphic posted by The 33rd Team, the Steelers biggest draft bust was defensive end turned linebacker Huey Richardson.

The Steelers drafted Richardson with the 15th overall selection in the 1991 NFL Draft. Richardson was Hall of Famer Chuck Noll’s final first round draft pick. Noll retired after the 1991 season and then the team signed Bill Cowher to be next head coach. 

Cowher dealt Richardson to the Washington Redskins after failed attempts of repositioning him. The Redskins cut Richardson after four games and then he signed with the New York Jets to end the 1992 season. Richardson retired from the NFL after he appeared in only 16 career games. 

The Steelers missed out on good players as a result of the Richardson pick. Cincinnatti selected a Pro Bowl linebacker three picks later. The Atlanta Falcons selected Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Farve later in the draft.

Bleacher Report suggested a few other players as the Steelers biggest draft bust in a 2012 article. Such players include running backs Walter Abercombie (1982) and Tim Worley (1989), defensive lineman Darrly Sims (1985), wide receiver Troy Edwards (1999), and offensive tackle Jemain Stephans (1996). 

Since the 2012 Bleacher Report article, the Steelers, like every other team, have drafted more busts. Those players include outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (2013), cornerback Artie Burns (2016), and inside linebacker Devin Bush (2019). 


The obvious choice for the Steelers worst draft pick since the turn of the century is Jarvis Jones. The Steelers selected Jones with the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft after being a two-time Consensus All-American at the University of Georgia. 

Jones played in only four seasons in Pittsburgh as he failed to develop into an NFL pass rusher. Jones finished with six sacks for the Steelers throughout his four seasons. The Arizona Cardinals signed and then cut Jones in 2017 before he ultimately retired. 

As Richardson and Jones will always be remembered for all of the wrong reasons, the Steelers will look to add to the “other side” of history as they make their first round selection at pick No. 17 this year.