This week we are taking 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.
Next up is the Steelers’ second-round pick, No. 56 overall, and here is look at the last five players taken in that slot.
2014: WR Cody Latimer, Denver Broncos: The former Indiana standout disappointed as a rookie, catching just two passes for 23 yards and getting most of his work on the Broncos' scout team. It is way too early to label Latimer a bust and he could make a big jump in his second season, especially with a new coaching staff in Denver.
2013: LB Arthur Brown, Baltimore Ravens: Even Ozzie Newsome makes mistakes in the draft, and Brown is looking like one after two NFL seasons. He played just four games in 2014 after seeing action in 14 as a rookie even though injuries weren’t an issue. C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith formed one of the better inside-linebacker tandems last season, but it has to be a concern that Brown could not provide depth last season, as he was a healthy scratch for 12 games.
2012: OT Mike Adams, Steelers: The Steelers removed Adams from their draft board after he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine. A face to face meeting with Steelers’ brass convinced the team to put Adams back into draft consideration and they took the Ohio State product after picking guard David DeCastro in the first round. Adams showed promise at right tackle as a rookie but flopped at left tackle in his second season. He gives the Steelers quality depth at both tackle positions but they expected more out of this pick.
2011: RB Shane Vereen, New England Patriots: Vereen never emerged as a feature back in four seasons with the Patriots but had more than 1,000 rushing and receiving yards combined in four seasons and turned in some clutch postseason performances. Vereen caught 11 passes for 64 yards in the Patriots' 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the most recent Super Bowl and has since signed a three-year, $12.35 million contract with the New York Giants.
2010: DE Mike Neal, Green Bay Packers: Neal has given the Packers good value, registering 14 sacks the last three seasons. The Steelers liked Neal coming out of Purdue and he has been solid, giving the Packers a productive and versatile player.
Analysis: This group doesn’t give the Steelers a ton of optimism that they will get an impact player in the second round of the draft. The Steelers, however, have done well in the second round since missing badly on wide receiver Limas Sweed in 2008. Since 2010 -- the Steelers traded their second-round pick in 2009 -- they have taken outside linebacker Jason Worilds, offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, Adams, running back Le'Veon Bell and defensive end Stephon Tuitt.