Ben Roethlisberger Named Second-Best 11th Overall Pick Of All-Time (You Won’t Guess Who Is #1)

Holding the 11th pick of the 2004 NFL Draft, Ben Roethlisberger fell into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ laps. Heck, the Steelers almost passed on him, nearly selecting OG Shawn Andrews instead. But #7 was the choice at #11, and in CBS’ rankings of the best players at each first-round spot, Roethlisberger was named the NFL’s second-greatest #11 pick. The only thing surprising about that is that he wasn’t #1.

CBS’ John Breech made the list and talked about Roethlisberger’s selection and career.

“Not only is Roethlisberger a two-time Super Bowl champion, but he’s an eight-time Pro Bowler who has led the NFL in passing twice. Roethlisberger has also set multiple NFL records during his career, including being the only quarterback to throw for 500 yards or more on four different occasions (No other QB has done it more than twice). 

Three of the players on this top-five list are already in the Hall of Fame and Big Ben could soon be joining them now that he’s retired. The former Steelers quarterback will officially be eligible for enshrinement in 2027. 

Roethlisberger finished his career with the fifth-most passing yards in NFL history (64,088) and the eighth most TD passes (418). Big Ben also holds the quarterback record for the longest time spent in the NFL while only playing for one team (18 seasons).”

Roethlisberger’s accolades and resume hardly needs explaining on a site like this. A first-ballot Hall of Famer once he is eligible in 2027, he helped bring home the fifth and sixth Lombardi trophies in franchise history. The sixth was one off Roethlisberger’s arm and game-winning touchdown to Santonio Holmes. Roethlisberger began his career as Backyard Ben, able to shrug defenders off, extend the play, and endlessly pump fake defenders out of their shoes. He transitioned to a pocket passer for the second act of his career and flourished there until his arm – and his knees – gave out on him.

He’s not only the greatest 11th pick in team history but one of its greatest picks period, though it’s debatable if he’s #1 in team history. Joe Greene and other key members of the 70s dynasty all have cases to make.

Roethlisberger was also part one of the top QB classes the league’s ever seen, joining Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. Manning will likely wind up in Canton, too, thanks to his two Super Bowl wins over the New England Patriots, while Rivers has an outside chance to make it, too, though his path is harder without much playoff success.

#3-5 on CBS’ list of “best 11th overall picks” included J.J. Watt at #5, Michael Irvin at #4, and Paul Warfield at #3. So who is #1 and ahead of Roethlisberger? Frank Gifford, the 11th overall pick of the 1952 draft by the New York Giants. A receiver, runner, and kicker, he was named to the Pro Bowl eight times and the All-Pro team four times, and was inducted into Canton in 1977.

Gifford was a great player and eventually, a terrific broadcaster, but it’s debatable if he or Roethlisberger should nab the top spot. Still, Breech’s appreciation and respect for football history with Warfield and Gifford’s inclusions here are commendable.

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