Another in a series examining the best of 81 seasons worth of Steelers’ draft picks, designated by round. Today’s installment looks at the history of Round 7:
1951 – RAY MATHEWS: In the 1952-53 seasons, Mathews rushed for 575 yards, caught passes for 889, returned punts and kickoffs for 525 and 694, respectively. He also scored 11 touchdowns. Mathews was one of the team’s offensive stars throughout the 1950s, and in the franchise’s first-ever win over the Cleveland Browns – in 1954 by 55-27 – Mathews scored four touchdowns.
1961 – DICK HOAK: Remembered by this generation of Steelers fans as the team’s long-time running backs coach, Hoak could play a little bit of halfback himself in his day. Hoak rushed for 3,965 yards and caught passes for another 1,452 to score 33 touchdowns over 10 NFL seasons for teams that finished over .500 just twice. Five Super Bowl rings, all as a coach.
1989 – D.J. JOHNSON: He was no Rod Woodson, but Johnson was a competent starting cornerback for the Steelers during a four-season span in which he recorded 11 interceptions. After leaving the Steelers as a free agent after the 1993 season, Johnson played five more seasons with Arizona and Atlanta.
2002 – BRETT KEISEL: It’s very rare for a human being to stand 6-foot-5, weigh 285 pounds, and be as athletic as Brett Keisel. During the seasons in which Keisel learned to be a 3-4 defensive end, he contributed on special teams, often in dynamic fashion. A full-time starter beginning in 2006, Keisel has 29 career sacks and 32 passes batted at the line of scrimmage to date. Two Super Bowl rings.
2012 – KELVIN BEACHUM: At the start of his third NFL season, Beachum will go to training camp as the starting left tackle, a job he made his own early in 2013 through consistent play. Whether he remains at left tackle or ends up at another position, Beachum has already shown himself to be starter-capable.
In the accompanying video, Bob Labriola and Mike Prisuta each make a case for their top player from this particular group. Labriola picks Mathews, while Prisuta gives the nod to Keisel.
NEXT: Round 6