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2021 NFL Draft

NFL Draft History: The Steelers Have Hit Before at Pick No. 24

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Since the NFL merger in 1966 the Steelers have had the 24th pick in the NFL Draft on four separate occasions. The Steelers’ four selections at No. 24 is tied with the Bengals, Saints, Giants and 49’ers for most during that time period (a completely pointless stat, but be sure to point that out at your virtual draft party this year.)

The Steelers can already claim a pretty strong track record with that pick as they were able to grab guard David DeCastro there in 2012. The two-time All-Pro has been one of the top players at his position in the eight years since, making the Pro Bowl six times as a starter from day one.

Also drafted at No. 24 were cornerback Chad Scott in 1997. Scott never made the Pro Bowl, but was a solid starter for the Steelers for seven years.

Going further back, the team drafted Pitt guard Tom Ricketts in 1989. Ricketts never lived up to his 1st round billing and ended up starting only five games for the team.

Finally was cornerback J.T. Thomas who was the team’s choice in 1973. Thomas was a seemingly forgotten member of the legendary Steel Curtain defense of the 70s. In eight years with the Steelers he tallied 19 interceptions, starting 89 games and winning four Super Bowls (although he missed all of 1978 with a blood disorder.) NFL.com named Thomas and Mel Blount as one of the top cornerback combinations of all time.

How has the 24th pick panned out throughout NFL history? There’s currently only one member of the NFL Hall of Fame picked there, Ed Reed (2002). The former Ravens safety will be joined in the future by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (2005) and New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan (2011) and the aforementioned David DeCastro could find themselves there someday as well.

Not making the Hall of Fame, but with successful careers under their belts include tight end Raymond Chester (1970) running back Chris Johnson (2008), tight end Dallas Clark (2003), wideout Eric Moulds (1996), and running backs Steven Jackson (2004), and James Brooks (1981). The Raiders’ 2019 selection Josh Jacobs and Carolina 2018 pick D.J. Moore look like strong picks as well. Of the 51 picks at No. 24 since the merger, 21 have made at least one Pro Bowl and seven have made 1st-team All-Pro.

All-time busts include Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich, 1999 49’ers selection Reggie McGrew, 1989 Steelers pick Tom Ricketts, Denver’s 2001 pick Willie Middlebrooks, another Raiders pick, defensive end Bob Buczkowski in 1986 and 1971 Vikings selection Leo Hayden.

While there’s no guarantees with any pick in the NFL Draft, the Steelers can take comfort knowing, they’ve hit more than they’ve missed at No. 24 and as a whole, there have been a bevy of good 24th overall picks throughout NFL history.

Every 24th pick in the NFL Draft since 1966.

YearPlayerPosTmAP1PBStCarAVGGSCollege/Univ
1970Raymond ChesterTEOAK041053172131Morgan St.
1971Leo HaydenRBMIN0000130Ohio St.
1972Larry JacobsonDTNYG00183313Nebraska
1973J.T. ThomasDBPIT0164812589Florida St.
1974Roger CarrWRBAL0175011592Louisiana Tech
1975Neal ColzieDBOAK0033211851Ohio St.
1976Archie GriffinRBCIN004379857Ohio St.
1977Bob RushCSDG0042911759Memphis
1978Dan BunzLBSFO005298862Long Beach St.
1979Jon GieslerTMIA00957126105Michigan
1980Derrick HatchettDBBAL004204944Texas
1981James BrooksRBSDG04884162116Auburn
1982Roy FosterGMIA02873165127USC
1983Ken O'BrienQBNYJ02772129110California-Davis
1984Todd ShellLBSFO001133815BYU
1985Alvin TolesLBNOR001115517Tennessee
1986Bob BuczkowskiDERAI0003213Pittsburgh
1987Rod BernstineRBSDG003318445Texas A&M
1988Craig HeywardRBNOR01638149107Pittsburgh
1989Tom RickettsGPIT00155315Pittsburgh
1990Rodney HamptonRBNYG0265410485Georgia
1991Todd MarinovichQBRAI000388USC
1992Robert JonesLBDAL00953151128East Carolina
1993Leonard RenfroDTPHI0003232Colorado
1994Thomas LewisWRNYG00193415Indiana
1995Korey StringerTMIN016489391Ohio St.
1996Eric MouldsWRBUF031176186157Mississippi St.
1997Chad ScottDBPIT0054710895Maryland
1998Shaun WilliamsDBNYG0053310472UCLA
1999Reggie McGrewDTSFO0001240Florida
2000Ahmed PlummerDBSFO005247068Ohio St.
2001Willie MiddlebrooksDBDEN0004562Minnesota
2002Ed Reed HOFDBBAL5911106174169Miami (FL)
2003Dallas ClarkTEIND11951143118Iowa
2004Steven JacksonRBSTL031074160147Oregon St.
2005Aaron RodgersQBGNB3912151197190California
2006Johnathan JosephDBCIN021467211192South Carolina
2007Brandon MeriweatherDBNWE0263311280Miami (FL)
2008Chris JohnsonRBTEN13771130111East Carolina
2009Peria JerryDTATL002146429Mississippi
2010Dez BryantWRDAL1376211999Oklahoma St.
2011Cameron JordanDENOR161087160159California
2012David DeCastroGPIT26868125124Stanford
2013Bjoern WernerDEIND001103816Florida St.
2014Darqueze DennardDBCIN000128530Michigan St.
2015D.J. HumphriesTARI005275959Florida
2016William Jackson IIICBCIN003165948Houston
2017Gareon ConleyCBOAK00193126Ohio St.
2018D.J. MooreWRCAR003254639Maryland
2019Josh JacobsRBOAK012162828Alabama
2020Cesar RuizCNOR0005159Michigan

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