Biggest Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Busts of the 2010s

Steelers Draft Busts

Every team will have some misses with draft picks. It’s the nature of the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers are no different. In the previous decade, the Steelers have made some great draft picks (Antonio Brown in the sixth round and Kelvin Beachum in the seventh come to mind). Over that same time period, though, they’ve made their fair share of bad draft picks. Below are some of the worst Steelers draft busts of the past ten years, in no particular order.

Steelers Draft Busts in the Past Decade

Dri Archer

Dri Archer was drafted with the 97th overall pick of the 2014 draft by the Steelers. They had one thing in mind when they made the selection: speed. The Kent State product ran a blazing 4.26 40 yard dash at the combine that year. With his speed and athleticism, the thought was that Archer would be able to produce in the NFL as a receiver, running back, and returner. Instead, he ended up not being able to produce in any aspect of the game.

In his two seasons with the Steelers, Dri Archer played in 20 games and totaled just 53 offensive snaps, 50 of which came in his rookie season. He racked up 17 total touches in his career, ten rushes and seven receptions. Archer tallied 4o rushing yards and 23 receiving yards while never finding his way into the end zone. He returned 23 kicks in his career with an average of 22.4 yards per return. The highlight of Archer’s career was a 38 yard kickoff return. After doing essentially nothing in the NFL, Dri Archer is easily one of the biggest Steelers draft busts in recent years.

Senquez Golson

Steelers fans who don’t follow the NFL draft might not even know who Senquez Golson is. The cornerback was selected out of Ole Miss 56th overall in the 2015 NFL draft. At the time, the pick seemed to make sense. Golson was a bit undersized (5’9″), but was coming off a tremendous season for the Rebels. He started all 12 games his senior year and tied a program record with ten interceptions. One of the nation’s best ball hawks, Golson was unanimously voted an All-American and also made the All-SEC first team.

How could Steelers fans never have heard of such a promising prospect? Well, Golson wound up never playing a snap in an NFL game. He missed his entire rookie year due to a shoulder injury suffered in late August 2015. The following year, Golson injured his foot in training camp which would up being a Lisfranc injury. There was optimism that he would return halfway through the season, but that never came to fruition. In 2017, Golson was injured again in camp, missed the entire preseason, and was ultimately cut by the Steelers. Because he never played a snap, it can be argued that Senquez Goslon is the biggest of the 2010s Steelers draft busts.

Artie Burns

When the Steelers drafted Artie Burns out of Miami 25th overall in 2016, it was a bit of a surprise. Burns wasn’t a bad player in college, but wasn’t expected to be drafted so highly. The athletic potential was there, but his college tape didn’t scream “first round pick.” They knew they were taking a chance, and the Steelers ended up missing big time with this pick.

Burns was an average player in his first two NFL seasons. He definitely wasn’t first round pick worthy, but he showed the potential that the Steelers knew he had. All four of his career interceptions, and 26 of his 27 passes defended came in those first two seasons. Burns played over 75% of the snaps his rookie year and 99% in his second season. Year three is when things really unraveled for Burns. His playing time decreased and he couldn’t cover anyone. In 2018, he allowed a completion percentage of 64% when targeted, and a passer rating of 143.2. In 2019, those numbers shot up to 100% and 158.3, respectively, both as high as they can possibly go. Needless to say, Artie Burns didn’t pan out the way Pittsburgh had hoped.

Jarvis Jones

Of all these Steelers draft busts, Jarvis Jones might be the biggest of all because of his expectations. He wasn’t the worst player on this list, but his problem is that he was supposed to be a really good player. Jones was the highest pick of any of these players; he was selected 17th overall in the 2013 draft. In his senior year at Georgia, Jones achieved the following honors: consensus All-American, first team All-SEC, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and Jack Lambert Trophy recipient (given to the nation’s top linebacker). He recorded 14.5 sacks, forced seven fumbles, and totaled 85 tackles in just 12 games that year. Based on his college career, the high expectations for Jarvis Jones were warranted.

When he got to the NFL, Jarvis Jones turned out to be nothing but wasted potential. In four seasons with the Steelers, he appeared in just 50 of 64 possible games, starting just 35 of them. Over those four years, Jones managed to accumulate just six sacks and QB hits. For reference, Bud Dupree (who was considered a bust through his first four seasons) totaled 20 sacks and 33 QB hits in 54 games through his first four years. Jarvis Jones only played over 50% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps in one of his four seasons. When his expectations are considered, Jones was a huge disappointment for the Steelers.

Curtis Brown

“Who is Curtis Brown?” you might be asking. He was a third round pick out of Texas in the 2011 NFL draft. He played three seasons with the Steelers and never appeared in the NFL again. The cornerback didn’t make an impact on defense, but did have a role for Pittsburgh on special teams. Brown appeared in 34 games over his three seasons in the black and gold. Snap count numbers aren’t available for his rookie year. In 2012, he played just 80 defensive snaps. That decreased all the way to one in 2013. Between those same two seasons, he played a combined 327 snaps on special teams. Brown went on to finish his career with one pass defended, a forced fumble, and 49 tackles. He’s not a bust of Limas Sweed‘s caliber (remembered for the wrong reasons). Instaed, Brown was a draft bust simply because he was a third round pick but isn’t remembered at all.

Sammie Coates

Sammie Coates is probably the least bust-y of all these Steelers draft busts. If you don’t like labeling players “busts” due to injuries, then you probably don’t consider him a bust at all. Coates was the 87th overall pick out of Auburn in 2015. In his rookie year, Coates didn’t have a role on the team. He appeared in just seven games and had less than 50 total snaps between offense and special teams.

In year two, Coates started to show some promise. Ben Roethlisberger started to like throwing to Coates, who was targeted 49 times that season. The problem? Coates only had 21 receptions on those 49 targets. Following a hand injury, Coates had serious problems catching the ball. The biggest shame is that his injury occurred in his best career game, when he had 139 yards on six receptions and two touchdowns in a win over the New York Jets. His career long reception of 72 yards came in that game, too. Coates finished the 2016 season averaging over 20 yards per reception. He wound up with just 446 yards and two touchdowns on 22 receptions in a Steelers uniform.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images