Two of the most dominant and beloved of the modern Steelers, Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis, were 1990s draft day acquisitions. Bettis came via a 1996 trade with the Los Angeles Rams; Ward was the ultimate sleeper pick, taken in the third round in 1998. Here Ward congratulates Bettis after beating the Broncos for the AFC championship in January 2006, securing a Super Bowl bid in Bettis's hometown of Detroit.
With the exceptions of Alan Faneca and Mark Bruener, the Steelers generally had little luck with first round picks -- a trend that began in the 1980s -- but reaped prime sleeper harvests in the middle rounds including Joey Porter, Aaron Smith, Deshea Townsend, Jason Gildon, Levon Kirkland and Joel Steed, and the greatest receiver in team history, Hines Ward.
The Steelers' biggest draft day move of the decade, however, came via a trade with the then-Los Angeles Rams, giving up their second round pick in 1996 and fourth round pick in 1997 for The Bus, Jerome Bettis.
Picks listed by year and round selected:
1. Edwards, Troy (WR), Louisiana Tech.
2. Shields, Scott (S), Weber State.
3a. Porter, Joey (LB), Colorado State.
3b. Farris, Kris (OT), UCLA.
3c. Zereoue, Amos (RB), West Virginia.
4. Smith, Aaron (DE), Northern Colorado.
5a. Tuman, Jerame (TE), Michigan.
5b. Johnson, Malcolm (WR), Notre Dame.
7a. Dingle, Antonio (DT), Virginia.
7b. Kelsay, Chad (LB), Nebraska.
7c. Brown, Kris (K), Nebraska.
1. Faneca, Alan (OG), Louisiana State.
2. Staat, Jeremy (DE), Arizona State.
3a. Conrad, Chris (OT) Fresno State.
3b. Ward, Hines (WR) Georgia.
4a. Townsend, Deshea (CB) Alabama.
4b. King, Carlos (FB) N.C. State.
5. Simmons, Jason (CB) Arizona State.
6a. Fuamatu-Ma'afala, Chris (FB) Utah.
6b. Olson, Ryan (LB) Colorado.
7. Rubio, Angel (DE) SE Missouri State.
1. Scott, Chad (CB), Maryland.
2. Blackwell, Will (WR), San Diego State.
3a. Wiggins, Paul (OL), Oregon.
3b. Vrabel, Mike (DE), Ohio State.
4. Choice to St. Louis (Jerome Bettis, RB).
5a. (choice from San Diego traded to San Diego).
5b. Jones, George (RB), San Diego State.
6a. Porter, Daryl (CB), Boston College.
6b. Manuel, Rod (DE), Oklahoma.
7a. Choice traded.
7b. Adams, Mike (WR), Texas.
1. Stephens, Jamain (OT), North Carolina A&T.
2. Choice to St. Louis (Jerome Bettis, RB).
3a. Conley, Steve (LB), Arkansas (choice from St. Louis).