2012 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers and the 24th Selection

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2012 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers and the 24th Selection
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

If we have learned anything from history, it is that the Pittsburgh Steelers will get a pretty good player with the 24th selection in the draft.

Over the past 10 seasons, there have been a lot of excellent talent selected at the 24th slot in the draft, including an AP Offensive Player of the Year, AP Defensive Player of the Year and NFL MVP.

But before we take a look at the good, here is the bad from the 24th selections.

Peria Jerry was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in 2009 and suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss all but two games of his rookie season. Since then, he has only started four games and has only two sacks during that time.

The New Orleans Saints took Cameron Jordan last season, and he had 31 tackles and a sack. As it is so early into his career, the grade on Jordan is incomplete.

Besides these two players, the rest of the players taken 24th have ranged from good to great.

Dallas Clark (2003), Steven Jackson (2004), Jonathan Joseph (2006), Brandon Meriweather (2007) and Dez Bryant (2010) have all developed into very good starters, some of the best in the league.

Out of this group, Meriweather could be considered the worst player, which just shows the talent drafted over the past decade.

Each of these players have been key members of their respective teams, and they have produced multiple Pro Bowl appearances.

There have been some great players as well, including Ed Reed (2002), Aaron Rodgers (2005) and Chris Johnson (2008).

Reed is one of the greatest safeties of all-time and is a sure bet for the Hall of Fame, while Rodgers is well on his way after earning a Super Bowl MVP and an NFL MVP and producing one of the best seasons in NFL history this past year.

Johnson was one of the elite running backs of his era with his threat to take it to the end zone each and every play.

Pittsburgh drafted at the 24th position in 1997, and they selected Chad Scott, who developed into a respectable cornerback.

The past decade has produced a lot of talent late in the first round, but that does not guarantee that the Steelers will get a great player just because they are drafting at 24 this season.

Given their track record in the first, though, the chances for the Steelers to continue the run of top talent from the 24th slot are pretty good.

There will be a number of talented players that the Steelers may have available on either side of the ball.

What position should the Steelers take with their first pick?

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Pittsburgh could choose to go the route of addressing one of their top needs at guard, nose tackle or inside linebacker, or they could simply go with the best available talent who will take time to develop before taking over a starting role.

No matter which direction they go in, the Steelers should find a quality prospect in Round 1, and they would like it to be one who will join the great players that the 24th draft position has produced over the past 10 years.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisG_FC

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