Ranking Kevin Colbert’s Draft Picks (Part Four): The 7th Round Void

Part four of a new series I’ll be exploring over the next several weeks. Kevin Colbert is calling it a career as GM, or de facto GM, of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His career has so much in it, running the team since 2000s. Lots of highs, two Super Bowls added to the trophy case, and the occasional low, but overall, a fantastic career for a – by all accounts – fantastic person.

What I’ll continue doing today is recapping and ranking all the draft picks Colbert made in his tenue with the team. Every. Single. One. That’s 176 picks from 2000 to 2021. I am, obviously, leaving out the 2022 draft class since they are impossible to judge in any capacity. But the rest are fair game. We’ll revisit and remember the best picks, the first round studs, Day Three steals to the busts and the guys who simply never did anything in Pittsburgh.

There’s a slight method to my madness. In creating the rankings, I considered *only* what the player did in a Steelers’ uniform. Even if the selection had a good or great career elsewhere, and you’ll see examples of that, it is excluding from consideration. The player may have worked out but not to Pittsburgh’s benefit and that’s the only thing that matters. What we won’t consider are circumstances that led to a player’s success of failure. If a player got hurt or traded or cut or whatever, we’ll accept it without examining it. Players struggle for different reasons but it’s too subjective trying to make those kinds of excuses.

I also weighed the round/selection the player was drafted in, slight consideration to positional value, the process in which the player was picked, and of course, the quality of the players Steelers’ career.

We’ll work down this list #176 to #1, meaning we’ll begin with the worst selection Colbert’s ever made until we get to his best pick. There may be some surprises, controversy, and plenty of blasts from the past along the way. These articles will include roughly 15 names at a time, though the number may sometimes change based on the grouping.

In part four of the series, we’ll work through 19 names today, #129 to #111. If you want to check out part three, click the link here. 

#129 Frank Summers/FB UNLV – Round 5, 169th Overall (2009)

Summers is a largely nondescript fifth round pick but he did at least appear in games for the Steelers. Just two of them and he never touched the ball but he spent his rookie year with the team. He likely would’ve played more had it not been for an injury that landed him on IR. The Chargers signed him away in the offseason and he made his biggest mark with the Bills several years later.

This listing might be a little generous for Summers but again, he made the team and saw a bit of action. That’s more than you can say about a lot of guys on this list.

#128 Devin Bush/LB Michigan – Round 1, 10th Overall (2019)

Bush is one of the hardest players on this link to rank. In part because he’s still active, one of the first we’ve had on here, and the uncertainty over his future. Certainly things aren’t going well and he’ll need to bounce back in a big way in 2022 to salvage his Steelers and potentially NFL career. Bush started 15 games his rookie year though his play was just average. He made real progress in 2020 before blowing out his knee and though he got healthy in 2021, he looked a shell of himself. Pittsburgh declined his 5th year option, making 2022 the final year of his rookie deal.

The worst part is the fact Pittsburgh traded up for him, sending a 2nd and future 3rd to move up ten spots to draft him. He was supposed to be the next Ryan Shazier. He’s anything but. Still, his final place on this list could change – in either direction – based on how he plays in 2022. But if you wanted to slot him as a higher, worse ranking, you’d have a fair argument.

#127 Jerald Hawkins/OT LSU – Round 4, 123rd Overall (2016)

Hawkins was a difficult man to rank. He did play in 18 games, making one start (as a tackle-eligible, if memory serves). But he was often injured and didn’t provide much ROI as a fourth round pick. Overall, he played 124 offensive snaps for the Steelers across 2017 and 2019. Pittsburgh did net a small draft pick for him too in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sending Hawkins and a 7th for a 6th round pick. I initially had him nearly 20 spots lower on this list but moved him to here at the last moment, above all the did-nothing seventh rounders.

#126 Gerod Holliman/FS Louisville – Round 7, 239th Overall (2015)

Now we reach the slate of 7th rounders who came and went. Most of this group will be ordered by their overall selection but I’m making an exception for Holliman. The ultimate example of box score scouting, Holliman had a prolific college career from an interception standpoint, picking off an incredible and NCAA record 14 passes in 2014. On paper, that’s hard to ignore. But his tape didn’t match the numbers. The INTs weren’t high-quality and he was an awful tackler in effort and success.

Despite those issues and poor testing, Pittsburgh took a shot on him with their final pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Holliman made about one tackle in training camp practices, wasn’t the center field ballhawk he was in college, and the Steelers released him at final cutdowns. He spent another year with the Bucs before falling out of the league. At last check, Holliman was a member of the IFL’s Louisville Xtreme team, though they were kicked out of the league last year for failing to “meet league obligations.”

Like others you’ll see on this list, Holliman was a seventh round dart throw. But it really felt like Pittsburgh went, “he had 14 INTs last year, how bad could he be?” They sure found out.

#125 Eric Taylor/DT Memphis – Round 7, 212th Overall (2004)

Only a short blurb here on Taylor, who spent very little time with the Steelers. He spent most of his pro career in the CFL, finding some success up north. He appeared in one NFL game with the Minnesota Vikings in 2005. Truthfully, that’s all I have to say.

#124 Lavar Glover/DB Cincinnati – Round 7, 212th Overall (2002)

Glover and Taylor were both drafted 212th overall but Glover was the earlier pick and I give the slightest amount of grace to Colbert for his earlier picks so Glover “wins” the tiebreaker here. Not that it makes much of a difference. Glover was released his first year in and signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. He actually played pro ball for several years. Like Taylor, most of that came in the CFL. Glover returned home to Dayton and is part of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. 

#123 Chris Taylor/WR Texas A&M – Round 7, 218th Overall (2001)

Another solidly obscure name I wouldn’t have been able to tell you a thing about, even the fact he was drafted by Colbert, until writing this article. A speedy, fluid wideout who ran a 4.40, he had a solid college career as a receiver and punt returner. Here’s an old and brief PPG blurb on him after being drafted. We’ve come a long way.

#122 Nick Williams/DL Samford – Round 7, 223rd Overall (2013)

Williams was a small-school shot in the seventh round and someone d-line coach John Mitchell seemed impressed by. The coaches saw differently and Williams spent just 1 1/2 years with the team, lost to the Chiefs in November of 2014.

To his immense credit, Williams has had an excellent NFL career considering his 7th rounder status. In fact, he’s still playing today for the Detroit Lions and has made 35 career starts, all coming over the last three years. If we were considering a player’s entire NFL career for this list, Williams would be in a much better place on this list. But we’re not and the fact Williams seemed to be a talented player the Steelers failed to develop makes it hurt all the more.

#121 AQ Shipley/OC Penn State – Round 7, 226th Overall (2009)

Shipley has a similar story and arc as Williams. Shipley lasted just one season in Pittsburgh and signed with the Eagles during the 2010 offseason. He overcame a lack of size and length to become a multi-year starter for Arizona across the 2016, 2017, and 2019 seasons before a spinal cord injury recently ended his NFL career. Shipley turned out to be a seventh round gem but they were rewards Pittsburgh didn’t benefit from. For the Steelers, he never played a game, which feels like a mistake in hindsight.

#120 Shaun Nua/DL BYU – Round 7, 228th Overall (2005)

No such luck for Nua as thee was for Williams and Shipley. Nua did manage to hang around the Steelers’ practice squad for multiple seasons during an era where practice squad lifers were common. He did earn a Super Bowl XL ring with the team but he never made the 53 nor appeared in a game. He’s gotten into coaching and landed jobs at high profile places like Michigan and most recently, USC.

#119 Rob Blanchflower/TE UMass – Round 7, 230th Overall (2014)

A semi-interesting tight end with a slew of injury issues out of college, he couldn’t get off the trainer’s table in the NFL either. He made tit through his rookie year on the team’s practice squad but got hurt the next camp, landing on IR. He was released in early 2016, never playing a down in the league.

#118 Toney Clemons/WR Colorado – Round 7, 231st Overall (2012)

A local product from Pittsburgh, Clemons’ good size didn’t serve him well in Pittsburgh. He didn’t last long with the Steelers before latching on with Jacksonville, where he caught his only three passes and saw his lone NFL action. For the Steelers, he was a nice story but nothing more.

#117 Cedric Humes/RB Virginia Tech – Round 7, 240th Overall (2006)

Not a lot to say with Humes. He landed on IR during his rookie season and ended with the Giants in late December, playing for their NFL Europe team. He now works for Coca-Cola. 

#116 Doug Worthington/DL Ohio State – Round 7, 242nd Overall (2010)

Worthington had Buckeye pedigree but it didn’t help him once he got into the NFL. He failed to make the team and though he landed on the practice squad, his stint there listed a literal three days. From there, he bounced around practice squads and offseason rosters but recorded just three tackles in eight career games, most coming with Washington.

#115 JT Wall/FB Georgia – Round 7, 242nd Overall (2010)

A fullback in the era where those guys existed, he came and went in the blink of an eye and didn’t have much of a NFL career. Football though has remained his profession and he’s been an extremely successful high school coach, winning Georgia state championships three years running. His team hasn’t lost a game since 2018, and that defeat came in the state title.

#114 Josh Frazier/NT Alabama – Round 7, 246th Overall (2018)

Frazier seemed to be Karl Dunbar’s choice as a seventh round guy, coaching him in college. But Frazier didn’t work out and not only failed to make the 53 but also the practice squad. The rest of his career was spent with the Detroit Lions but it didn’t amount to much.

#113 Terrence Frederick/CB Texas A&M – Round 7, 246th Overall (2012)

One of the many corners who never panned out though as a 7th round pick, expectations for Frederick weren’t very high. To his credit, he actually made three starts for the New Orleans Saints in 2014 but with Pittsburgh, he was one-and-done. He followed that up with a stint in the CFL.

#112 Keion Adams/EDGE Western Michigan – Round 7, 248th Overall (2017)

Adams was a 7th round MAC dart throw who tested reasonably well in the pre-draft process. But injuries quickly did his Steelers’ career in, landing on IR with a shoulder injury in the late summer of his rookie year. He spent the season on IR and 2018 on the practice squad but was cut in May of 2019, never doing anything more than appearing in a handful of preseason contests.

#111. Derwin Gray/OL Maryland – Round 7, 219th Overall (2019)

A more recent and familiar name though the lack of success is all the same. Gray was a tackle in college who the Steelers tried to play inside at guard. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and briefly spent time on the 53 man roster in 2020 but was released late in his second season. He officially made five appearances with the Steelers. Those appearances push him above the other seventh rounders.

Kevin Colbert’s Draft Rankings

#176. Senquez Golson
#175. Alonzo Jackson
#174. Fred Gibson
#173. Danny Farmer
#172. Kraig Urbik
#171. Bruce Davis
#170. Artie Burns
#169. Orien Harris
#168. Alameda Ta’amu
#167. Dri Archer
#166. Limas Sweed
#165. Thaddeus Gibson
#164. Nathaniel Adibi
#163. Willie Reid
#162. Ricardo Colclough
#161. Doran Grant
#160. Tony Hills
#159. Ryan McBean
#158. Mathias Nkwenti
#157. Jarvis Jones
#156. Terry Hawthorne
#155. Cameron Stephenson
#154. Shaq Richardson
#153. Charles Davis
#152. Omar Jacobs
#151. Wesley Johnson
#150. Mike Adams
#149. Joe Burnett
#148. Sammie Coates
#147. Colin Holba
#146. Sutton Smith
#145. Bo Lacy
#144. Roger Knight
#143. Mike Humpal
#142. Jordan Zumwalt
#141. Keith Williams
#140. Drew Caylor
#139. Marvin Philip
#138. Jason Gavadza
#137. Ra’Shon Harris
#136. Quincy Roche
#135. Travis Feeney
#134. Chris Scott
#133. Brian St. Pierre
#132. Shamarko Thomas
#131. Chris Rainey
#130. Anthony Smith
#129. Frank Summers
#128. Devin Bush
#127. Jerald Hawkins
#126. Gerod Holliman
#125. Eric Taylor
#124. Lavar Glover
#123. Chris Taylor
#122. Nick Williams
#121. AQ Shipley
#120. Shaun Nua
#119. Rob Blanchflower
#118. Toney Clemons
#117. Cedric Humes
#116. Doug Worthington
#115. JT Wall
#114. Josh Frazier
#113. Terence Frederick
#112. Keion Adams
#111. Derwin Gray

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