Mitchell to Make Changes?
One of the reasons why no one expected the Steelers to draft a defensive lineman early comes down to simple math.
- Rookies do not start for Johnny Mitchell.
- The problem is, the Steelers situation at defensive line might not allow them the luxry of a 2-3 year apprenticeship that Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward enjoyed.
Tuitt vs. Steelers Second Round History on Defensive line Picks
The last time the Steelers took a defensive lineman in the second round of the draft it was when Tom Donahoe traded up to pick Jeremy Staat in 1998. Staat became known for his battle against dsyleixa and exotic hairstyles, but started two games in 3 years for the Steelers.
They had slightly better luck with 1994’s second round pick Brentson Buckner, who started five games as an injury replacement for Gerald Williams. While Buckner played well as a rookie, he lacked the commitment a focus necessary to be a starter, something which he admitted later in his career.
- The Steelers also took Kenny Davidson in the second round of the 1990 draft, who was decidedly average in his two seasons as a starter.
Tuitt vs. History of Fighting Irish in Pittsburgh
Notre Dame might be one of the most storied college football programs in history, but the Steelers have not had much luck drafting players from the Fighting Irish of late (“late” = since the late 1980’s or so.)
The last player the Steelers drafted from Notre Dame was wide receiver Malcolm Johnson whom they picked in the 6th round of the 1999 draft. Johnson played in two games as a rookie, catching two passes for 26 yards. He opened the Steelers 2000 1st preseason game, but got cut during the season, only playing in 4 games.
- In 1991 the Steelers drafted Andre Johnson in the 6th round and Johnson who fittingly played 6 games and then was done.
However, Lanza stuck with the team and has the ignominious distinction of authoring the errant snap to Bubby Brister, which ended the 1989 Steelers shot at upsetting the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisonal Playoffs at Mile High.
- Going even further back and into even more ominous history Willie Fry was a defensive end drafted out of Notre Dame 1978 who failed to make the team…