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.
|1970||Raymond Chester||TE||OAK||0||4||10||53||172||131||Morgan St.|
|1971||Leo Hayden||RB||MIN||0||0||0||0||13||0||Ohio St.|
|1973||J.T. Thomas||DB||PIT||0||1||6||48||125||89||Florida St.|
|1974||Roger Carr||WR||BAL||0||1||7||50||115||92||Louisiana Tech|
|1975||Neal Colzie||DB||OAK||0||0||3||32||118||51||Ohio St.|
|1976||Archie Griffin||RB||CIN||0||0||4||37||98||57||Ohio St.|
|1978||Dan Bunz||LB||SFO||0||0||5||29||88||62||Long Beach St.|
|1987||Rod Bernstine||RB||SDG||0||0||3||31||84||45||Texas A&M|
|1992||Robert Jones||LB||DAL||0||0||9||53||151||128||East Carolina|
|1995||Korey Stringer||T||MIN||0||1||6||48||93||91||Ohio St.|
|1996||Eric Moulds||WR||BUF||0||3||11||76||186||157||Mississippi St.|
|2000||Ahmed Plummer||DB||SFO||0||0||5||24||70||68||Ohio St.|
|2002||Ed Reed HOF||DB||BAL||5||9||11||106||174||169||Miami (FL)|
|2004||Steven Jackson||RB||STL||0||3||10||74||160||147||Oregon St.|
|2006||Johnathan Joseph||DB||CIN||0||2||14||67||211||192||South Carolina|
|2007||Brandon Meriweather||DB||NWE||0||2||6||33||112||80||Miami (FL)|
|2008||Chris Johnson||RB||TEN||1||3||7||71||130||111||East Carolina|
|2010||Dez Bryant||WR||DAL||1||3||7||62||119||99||Oklahoma St.|
|2013||Bjoern Werner||DE||IND||0||0||1||10||38||16||Florida St.|
|2014||Darqueze Dennard||DB||CIN||0||0||0||12||85||30||Michigan St.|
|2016||William Jackson III||CB||CIN||0||0||3||16||59||48||Houston|
|2017||Gareon Conley||CB||OAK||0||0||1||9||31||26||Ohio St.|