In the spirit of the offseason, Alex Kozora and I have undertaken the daunting task of ranking the top 100 Pittsburgh Steelers players in the history of the franchise. And we mean the complete history – 1933 to today. Alex and I first came up with our own lists and then worked together to come up with one “master” group. So you’ll see that one reflected below each player ranking, with a quick side note of where each player was at in our personal rankings. That way, you all have something to be outraged over.
If you missed our previous posts in this series, you can find them at the links below:
The Pittsburgh Steelers Top 100: 100-90
The Pittsburgh Steelers Top 100: 89-80
The Pittsburgh Steelers Top 100: 79-70
The Pittsburgh Steelers Top 100: 69-60
The Pittsburgh Steelers Top 100: 59-50
The Pittsburgh Steelers Top 100: 49-40
The Pittsburgh Steelers Top 100: 39-30
29. Andy Russell/LB – (1963,1966-1976) 50 19 69 – Drafted in the 16th round of the 1963 NFL Draft out of Missouri, Russell went on to play 12 seasons with the Steelers. After his rookie season, Russell temporarily left the Steelers for the Army and was stationed in Germany for two years. He was the Steelers team MVP in 1971 and a First-Team All-Pro in 1975. Additionally, Russell was named to the Pro Bowl seven times during his career and was a two-time Super Bowl champion in Pittsburgh. During his time in Pittsburgh he intercepted 18 passes in the 168 regular season games that he played in.
Dave’s Rank: 19th
Alex’s Rank: 50th
28. Casey Hampton/NT – (2001-2012) – Selected in the first-round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Texas by the Steelers, Hampton quickly become a dominating force in the middle of the team’s 3-4 defense at nose tackle. A perennial two-gapper, Hampton was tough to move against the run and that allowed several linebackers to rack up tackle stats as a result. Hampton made the Pro Bowl five times during his career and was named co-MVP of the team in 2005. He won two Super Bowl championships during his 12-year career in Pittsburgh while registering 373 total tackles and 9 sacks.
Dave’s Rank: 29th
Alex’s Rank: 31st
27. Aaron Smith/DE – (1999-2011) – Originally drafted by the Steelers in the fourth-round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Northern Colorado, Smith became a full-time starter at left defensive end during his second year in the league. A very unselfish player, Smith quietly became one of the best 3-4, two-gapping, 5-technique defensive ends in the league. He registered a total of 408 tackles during his 13-year career in Pittsburgh in addition to 44 sacks, which still stands as the seventh-best in the history of franchise entering the 2016 season. Smith was a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Steelers and named to the Pro Bowl in 2004.
Dave’s Rank: 30th
Alex’s Rank: 29th
26. Joey Porter/OLB – (1999-2006) – Porter was drafted by the Steelers in the third-round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Colorado State and played the next 8 seasons in Pittsburgh as an outside linebacker. He registered 60 sacks in 126 games played and was named co-MVP of the team in 2002. A three-time Pro Bowler while in Pittsburgh, Porter also earned First-Team All-Pro recognition in 2002 and was an important member of the Steelers team that won Super Bowl XL. While he would ultimately play for two other teams after leaving the Steelers, Porter returned to Pittsburgh in 2014 as a member of their coaching staff. He is currently the team’s outside linebackers coach entering the 2016 season.
Dave’s Rank: 31st
Alex’s Rank: 24th
25. Greg Lloyd/OLB – (1988-1997) – Originally drafted by the Steelers in the sixth-round of the 1987 NFL Draft out of Fort Valley State, Lloyd ultimately became a top pass-rushing threat in Pittsburgh. During his 10-year career with the Steelers, Lloyd registered 53.5 sacks in 131 games played. A five-time Pro Bowler while in Pittsburgh, Lloyd was named a First-Team All-Pro three consecutive years from 1993-1995. He was voted team MVP in 1991 and 1994.
Dave’s Rank: 27th
Alex’s Rank: 26th
24. Antonio Brown/WR – (2010-) – Drafted in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Central Michigan, Brown is currently on pace to become the best wide receiver the Steelers have ever had. In his first six seasons in the league, Brown has already caught 526 passes for 7,093 yards and 38 touchdowns. He enters the 2016 season needing just 12 catches to overtake Hall of Famer John Stallworth for third place on the Steelers all-time reception leaders’ list. He currently owns the franchise’s single-season records for receptions (136) and receiving yardage (1,834) as well. Brown has already been voted to the Pro Bowl four times during his career and has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice.
Dave’s Rank: 32nd
Alex’s Rank: 21st
23. Mike Wagner/S – (1971-1980) – Originally drafted by the Steelers in the 11th round of the 1971 NFL Draft out of Western Illinois, Wagner played safety in Pittsburgh for 10 seasons after initially being looked at as a wide receiver. Wagner’s 36 career interceptions currently has him ranked sixth-overall on the franchise’s all-time leaders list. Wagner played on four Super Bowl-winning teams during the 70s, recording interceptions in Super Bowl IX and Super Bowl X. He was voted to the Pro bowl twice during his long career.
Dave’s Rank: 21st
Alex’s Rank: 27th
22. Carnell Lake/S – (1989-1998) – After being drafted by the Steelers in the second round of the 1989 NFL Draft out of UCLA, Lake went on to play in 154 total games in Pittsburgh over the course of 10 seasons. A hard hitting strong safety, Lake recorded 21.5 sacks, 16 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries while in Pittsburgh. A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time First-Team All-Pro, Lake was named the Steelers rookie of the year in 1989. In 1997 Lake was named AFC Defensive Player of the Year, and was later named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.
Dave’s Rank: 23rd
Alex’s Rank: 22nd
21. Heath Miller/TE – (2005-2015) – Drafted by the Steelers in the first-round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of Virginia, Miller played 11 seasons with the Steelers and ultimately finished his career as one of the 12 tight ends in NFL history with over 6,000 yards receiving. His 592 career receptions currently has him ranked second-overall on the franchise’s all-time leaders list behind only Hines Ward. Miller also caught 45 touchdowns during his career and was known as one of the league’s top blockers at the tight end position for several seasons. After being named the Steelers Rookie of the Year in 2005, Miller was also named the team MVP in 2012. He won two Super Bowls with the Steelers and was twice named to the Pro Bowl. Miller retired after the 2015 season and only missed 8 games during his career.
Dave’s Rank: 24th
Alex’s Rank: 19th
20. Alan Faneca/G – (1998-2007) – The Steelers first-round selection in the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU, Faneca played 10 seasons in Pittsburgh as a guard. During his career, Faneca was responsible for opening up several running lanes for future Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis. Faneca was one of the best pulling guards in the league during his career in addition to being a very reliable pass protector. He was part of the Steelers team that won Super XL and was a seven-time Pro Bowler while in Pittsburgh and named First-Team All-Pro six times. His key block in that Super Bowl win helped spring running back Willie Parker to a 75-yard touchdown run that is currently the longest run in the history of the game. While not yet a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Faneca is likely to be elected in the coming years. In 2007, Faneca was voted to the Steelers 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Dave’s Rank: 22nd
Alex’s Rank: 17th