A draft class like no other

January 29, 1974
The greatest NFL Draft class ever was selected

Lynn Swann. Jack Lambert. John Stallworth. Mike Webster.

All four players were selected by the team in the first five rounds of the NFL Draft on this day in 1974.

Four players who will always share a bond. Four players who made up the NFL's greatest draft class ever. Four players who were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after their careers ended.

On that January day no one could have had an inkling of the success the four Steelers' legends would have. But as is the case even until today, some tried to give their analysis.

The following was written by a sports columnist in the Jan. 30, 1974 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette following the first five rounds of the 1974 NFL Draft, after the Steelers had picked Swann, Lambert, Stallworth, cornerback Jimmy Allen and Webster:

"The Steelers seem to have come out of the first five rounds of the draft appreciably strengthened at wide receiver but nowhere else. They didn't get a tight end, and the ones remaining are more suspect than prospect. They didn't get a punter, although none of the nation's best collegiate punters went in the first five rounds. They didn't get an offensive tackle who might've shored up what could well become a weakness. What they did get was Swann, who seems to be a sure-pop to help; Lambert, who figures to be the No. 5 linebacker if he pans out; and three question marks."

Appears that Lambert and the other question marks panned out.

And while he wasn't selected on this date, a fourth member of the rookie class, Donnie Shell, is now Hall of Fame bound. Shell, who was an undrafted rookie free agent, will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year as a Seniors member of the Centennial Class of 2020.

Take a look at some photos of former Steelers Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webter.