28 years ago today, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted a future Hall-of-Famer when they selected cornerback Rod Woodson out of Purdue with the 10th overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft.
According to Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest, the Steelers were very lucky that Woodson fell to them in that draft. In fact, Labriola said in a 2011 article that Chuck Noll instructed defensive coordinator Tony Dungy to not bother with doing a detailed scouting report on Woodson, because he was so sure the Purdue defensive back would be long gone come time for the Steelers first-round selection.
Labriola goes on to say that the Cleveland Browns played a small role in Woodson falling to the Steelers as their selection of Duke linebacker Mike Junkin with the fifth overall selection was a surprise being as many analysts at that time had them taking Penn State linebacker Shane Conlan being as they had traded away Pro Bowl linebacker Chip Banks on draft day to the San Diego Chargers for the right to move up to the No. 5 spot.
The St. Louis Cardinals selection of Colorado State quarterback Kelly Stouffer with the sixth overall selection was also apparently a surprise and that also helped drop Woodson even further down the board
Labriola wrote that once Stouffer was selected, it pretty well meant that the Steelers would get a shot at either the aforementioned Conlan or Woodson being as the players the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles wanted were very well known. The key at that point was the Buffalo Bills, who owned the pick between those two teams and once they decided to draft Conlan, that meant the Steelers would get Woodson.
Woodson went on to play 10 seasons in Pittsburgh and during that span of 134 regular-season games he recorded 38 interceptions of which five he returned for touchdowns. He also returned 257 punts for 2,362 yards and two touchdowns during those 10 seasons in addition to 220 kickoffs for 4,894 yards and two touchdowns.
Woodson was named to seven Pro Bowls and voted First-Team All-Pro five times while in Pittsburgh. He left via free agency in 1997 and went on to play one season with the San Francisco 49ers, five with the Baltimore Ravens and two with the Oakland Raiders before finally retiring in 2004 with 238 career regular-season games to his credit along with 71 career interceptions.
Woodson would later be in inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 28, 2015