The ultimate goal for virtually every player who makes it into the NFL is to be a Super Bowl champion, and, ideally, to be a star player on a Super Bowl team. Failing that, it would certainly be nice to someday be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, singling you out as one of the few hundred greatest players (and counting) to over play the game over the span of a century.
It’s not quite the same thing, but making an All-Decade team is also a rather prestigious accomplishment, and typically a key building block of a Hall of Fame resume. The majority of players who end up on All-Decade teams eventually enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and the majority of Hall of Famers made All-Decade teams.
While one of them didn’t finish the decade here, two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2010 NFL Draft class were just named part of the All-Decade team for the 2010s, those being center Maurkice Pouncey, drafted in the first round, and wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was a sixth-round pick.
Since being drafted, Pouncey has been named to eight Pro Bowls—missing only in the two years he was injured—and five All-Pro teams, including two first-team All-Pro recognitions, though he has only been named All-Pro once since 2014 (in 2018).
As for Brown, he has gone on to make the Pro Bowl seven times, and the All-Pro list six times, including four first-team nods. In reality, it should be seven All-Pro teams, as he was clearly snubbed from making the team at the end of the 2018 season, with voters even saying that they took him off their ballot because of his going AWOL at the end of the year.
Brown made the Pro Bowl in every year from 2013 through 2018, and likely would have made it in 2019, as well, but he, let’s say, had an adventurous year, and ended up only playing one game before being released for the second time that offseason with his third different team.
The 2010 draft class was a pretty good one overall. Jason Worilds wasn’t the best second-round pick in the world, but he developed into a very solid edge defender before retiring prematurely. Emmanuel Sanders developed into a Pro Bowler in his own right. Even players like Chris Scott, Crezdon Butler, Jonathan Dwyer, and Stevenson Sylvester would make their contributions over the years, in some cases with other teams.
But it is those two players—Pouncey and Brown—who raise this class to an entirely different level. Those two players alone make this the best draft class of this decade for the Steelers, and the best of the Mike Tomlin era.