Well, looks like the article I wrote a couple of weeks ago regarding Limas Sweed’s status with the Steelers means nothing now. On Wednesday Limas’ tenure with the Steelers was effectively ended when he was placed on waivers. With 5 WR’s in front of him that were just simply healthier, and most of all better, Limas could no longer stay on the active roster. But it was thinking about Sweed’s brief yet unspectacular career in the Black and Gold that got me wondering about other players that the Steelers had drafted over the last decade that never quite lived up to their supposed potential. The reasons are numerous for why Steeler draft busts like Sweed and others didn’t succeed. They range from them being either hurt, outplayed, mistake prone, or simply not as good as advertised. Many now in Steeler Nation are taking polls and discussing who they feel are the biggest draft busts selected during the first decade of the Colbert regime. So for this article I’ve constructed a list of who I feel are the 10 biggest Steeler Draft Busts that were selected in Colbert’s first decade (2000 to 2009) as Director of Football Operations (G.M.).
Before I begin this list I would like to lay out the following criteria that I considered when putting this list together. First, these players that I have deemed “busts” can only have been selected in the first 4 Rounds. Anything below means the expectations weren’t very high to begin with and therefore their chances of making the team and contributing greatly would have been low enough to begin with to even consider them busts at all. Next, the Round that the player was selected in does matter when taking into account how big of a bust the player is. Thus, a 4th Round bust will more than likely be less detrimental to a team than a 1st Rounder, however there may be exceptions between 2nd’s and 3rd’s, 1st’s and 2nd’s and vice versa. Finally, the aftermath and ultimate outcome at the position of the players departure must be taken into account. If a player is a “bust,” did his shoddy play ultimately mean the team’s fortunes at the position go downhill? Were the Steelers able to recover from the player being a failure? Or have they still not been able to address said position adequately through Free Agency and the Draft? Anyways, lets get to the list shall we:
10. Danny Farmer
Apparently the Steelers were pretty unhappy with the state of their Wide Receivers heading into the 2000′s. I guess that Hines Ward wasn’t good enough, because in 1999 they drafted Troy Edwards in the 1st Round, and in 2000 they drafted Plaxico Burress in the 1st Round and the guy listed above in the 4th: Danny Farmer out of UCLA. Why did I choose Farmer? Because he never played a regular season down for the Steelers. Farmer was waived by the Steelers after the preseason by losing out on a spot as a backup WR to guys like Bobby Shaw, Courtney Hawkins, Malcolm Johnson, and Will Blackwell. Let me repeat, he never played a down in the regular season for the Steelers after being beat out by those guys for a backup spot! What makes this worse is that Farmer had an incredible career at UCLA where the 6’4″ star helped to rewrite many of the Bruin record books, was their all-time leading receiver in yards, and helped lead the team to two Rose Bowls. A guy like Farmer falling to the 4th Round appeared to be a blessing for a team looking to revamp their WR corp. However, Farmer couldn’t even make the team, and he ended up playing his brief NFL career mostly with Cincinnati.
9. Fred Gibson
Fred Gibson comes in at #9 on my list for the simple fact that he, like Farmer, didn’t even take a regular season snap for the Steelers. After Plaxico Burress left for New York to spoil the dreams of the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and illustrate to the world how not to practice gun safety, the Steelers at the WR position were in a bit of a bind. Despite having future H.O.F. Hines Ward on their roster, their other main WR’s in the form of Cedrick Wilson and Antwaan Randle El were both guys under 6′ tall and were not downfield receiving threats. So, Colbert did what any sensible G.M. would do, he selected a raw, tall, field stretching 6’4″ WR named Fred Gibson out of Georgia in the 4th Round of The 2005 N.F.L. Draft. Sadly for Colbert, this selection didn’t even make the team heading into the regular season. Gibson never rose to the challenge in Training Camp and the preseason as he was unable to unseat the following players for a WR spot: Rookie UDFA Nate Washington, Former Browns Draft Bust Quincy Morgan, Special Teams stud Sean Morey, and the crap-tacular Lee Mays. Had Gibson been a higher draft pick he would have inevitably landed a few spots lower on this list.