- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
- 0 Shares
This week we'll take a look at the caliber of player the Pittsburgh Steelers could get with their first five picks in the NFL draft with a review of recent history.
First up is the Steelers' No. 22 pick, assuming they keep it. Here's a look at the past five players taken in that slot.
2014: QB Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns -- The Browns created a stir when they picked Johnny Football, but it remains to be seen if they will get any more than headaches and drama from that selection. Manziel looked overmatched in the two starts he made as a rookie. He also struggled off the field and the former Heisman Trophy winner put himself in rehab. Manziel is already facing a make-or-break season with the Browns.
2013: CB Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons -- The Steelers may be poised to use their first-round pick on a cornerback for the first time since 1997. If they do, they would love it if they got a player the caliber of Trufant. The 6-foot, 190-pounder has already established himself as cornerstone of the Falcons' defense and Trufant has intercepted five passes in his first two seasons. Pro Football Focus named Trufant its NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 after he recorded 70 tackles and intercepted two passes while breaking up 17 of them.
2012: QB Brandon Weeden, Browns -- The Browns showed how desperate they were at quarterback by taking a player who put up prolific numbers at Oklahoma State but was already 28 years old when they drafted him. Weeden started 15 games as a rookie and completed just 57.4 percent of his throws with 14 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. He started five games in his second season and the Browns released Weeden after 2013.
2011: OT Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis Colts -- The Boston College product has established himself as a fixture at left tackle, starting every game there the past three seasons. The Colts have a lot of trust in Castonzo protecting quarterback Andrew Luck's blind side, though Steelers fans will remember how James Harrison schooled the 6-7, 311-pounder last October. Harrison gave Castonzo fits and dropped Luck twice in the Steelers' 51-34 win. Those were Harrison's first two sacks since coming out of retirement and showed that the five-time Pro Bowler could still bring it as a pass-rusher.
2010: WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos -- Thomas is one of the premier wide receivers in football and has averaged over 1,000 receiving yards in his first five seasons. The three-time Pro Bowler already holds a handful of Broncos records, including most consecutive 100-yard receiving games (seven) and has caught 41 touchdown passes. The Broncos did a lot better with this pick than the one they made at No. 25 overall in 2010: quarterback Tim Tebow.
Analysis: Thomas and Trufant were big hits by the Falcons and Broncos, respectively. Castonzo was a nice get by the Colts considering his durability and where they picked him. The Browns missed big on Weeden -- they could have taken Russell Wilson in the second round -- and Manziel is on a path to Bustville.
First up is the Pittsburgh Steelers' No. 22 pick, assuming they keep it. Here's a look at the past five players taken in that slot.