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Kevin Colbert's most underrated draft class

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Later this month, Colbert will be a part of his 22nd draft with the Steelers and for the most part, he has put together solid draft classes. When looking at the 21 drafts that Colbert has constructed with the Steelers, he has really been consistent in getting at least two long-term starters from a single draft class. Usually, if you can get three long-term starters in a draft, that's considered a successful draft.

Colbert's most underrated draft class and perhaps his best overall when it comes to depth was the 2002 draft class when he selected guard Kendell Simmons (first round), wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (second round), safety Chris Hope (third round), inside linebacker Larry Foote (fourth round) and defensive end Brett Keisel (seventh round). All five players played 84 games or more in each of their careers, mostly for the Steelers except for Hope who signed with that Titans in free agency in 2006. Randle El also kind of had a split career with the Steelers and Washington -- playing five years in Pittsburgh and four in Washington.

All five players had a role in the Steelers winning a Super Bowl title in 2005. Simmons, Randel El, Hope and Foote were all starters in Super Bowl XL and Keisel was a special teams contributor at the time. The biggest moment in Super Bowl XL came when Randel El completed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward on a reverse play to give the Steelers a 21-10 lead in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks, a lead which they wouldn't squander.

Three years later when the Steelers won their second championship in Super Bowl XLIII, Keisel joined Foote as a starter. Simmons was on injured reserve that year after suffering an Achilles tendon injury in Week 4, while Hope was in Tennessee and Randle El was in Washington.

The Steelers' 2002 draft class wasn't flashy, but it's arguably Colbert's deepest draft class when it comes to containing quality starters and contributors.


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