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Top 5 Worst Draft Picks- Pittsburgh Steelers

Updated on May 6, 2015

These guys were brought in to help the team win, but couldn't accomplish anything on the field. Today I rank the top five worst draft picks by the Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Mark Malone

He was brought in to replace a legend, but he couldn't step up to the challenge.

As a two year starter at Arizona State, Mark Malone proved to be a great runner as much as he was a passer.

Malone was selected 28th overall in 1980. The team drafted him in hope that he would be the heir to Terry Bradshaw. Needless to say he didn't become that. Steelers fans still lament the team's decision to not use their first pick in 1983 on Dan Marino. Along with Terry Bradshaw and longtime backup Cliff Stoudt, the team didn't feel there was a pressing need at quarterback. However, as anybody who saw Stout and Malone play in the ensuing years, the team was very wrong and it was a mistake the team wouldn't fully overcome until Ben Roethlisberger's arrival in 2004.

4. Gabriel Rivera

Pittsburgh drafted him to be the next Joe Greene, but a severe injury cost him a promising career.

In his four years at Texas Tech, Gabriel Rivera recorded 321 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 11 pass deflections, and six fumble recoveries. His senior year, he was named the SWC player of the year. He went on to be a first round pick in 1983, by Pittsburgh in a hope to rebuild the Steel Curtain defense. In his first six games, he recorded two sacks.

In October of 1983, Rivera was driving drunk and crashed his car. The crash sent him through the back of his car and severed his spine, paralyzing him from the waste down. With his combination of size and speed, Rivera could have been the new standard for defensive tackles, but instead it just gave more power to those in the organization who said they should have drafted Pittsburgh native and future Hall of Famer Dan Marino.

3. Limas Sweed

He was thought to be the teams next great receiver, but didn't have the hands to match.

As a junior at Texas, Limas Sweed collected 46 receptions for 801 yards and 12 touchdowns. By catching a touchdown pass in seven straight games, he broke Roy Williams' record for consecutive games with a touchdown catch.

Sweed was selected in the second round in 2008. During training camp as a rookie, Sweed discovered that he had astigmatism in both eyes which affected his depth perception. His time in Pittsburgh was plagued by drops and injuries. His play got so bad, he slipped to sixth on the depth chart. He was released by Pittsburgh after 2010.

2. Rashard Mendenhall

He put up some nice numbers, but just couldn't hang on to the ball.

At Illinois, Rashard Mendenhall was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year as a junior after rushing for over 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Mendenhall was selected 23rd overall in 2008. Despite having two 1,000 yard rushing seasons, he did have one fatal flaw. Mendenhall fumbled 13 times in his Pittsburgh career. Including one that ruined the Steelers' chances of a win in Super Bowl XLV against Green Bay on the first play of the fourth quarter. He spent one year in Arizona before injuries forced him out of football.

1. Huey Richardson

He was the last first rounder drafted by Chuck Noll, and he was a bust.

At Florida, Huey Richardson totaled 26.5 sacks and 50.5 tackles for a loss, still third and fourth on the Gators' all-time record lists.

Richardson was selected 15th overall in 1991. The so called physical specimen only appeared in five games with three tackles as a rookie. Pittsburgh played a 3-4 defense, and Richardson didn't have the build to play defensive end in that scheme. The Steelers made him a middle linebacker, and he didn't make the adjustment at all. When Bill Cowper was hired as head coach, he traded Richardson to Washington for a seventh round pick after failing to convert to outside linebacker.

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    • profile image

      Kevin Goodwin 

      3 years ago

      Sweed did nothing in the NFL.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Mendenhall was a great back on most levels, but you just can't be effective in the NFL if you cough the ball up,


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