Many draft experts, me included, thought the Pittsburgh Steelers would try to trade up in the third round in order to improve their odds at drafting one of the top receiver prospects. They didn't, but they were still able to draft a talented wideout in Roman Wilson, a tough, gritty player who is fresh off of helping Michigan win a national title. 

Wilson caught a dozen touchdowns last year, including the game-tying score late in Michigan's eventual win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals. His 29-yard catch-and-carry, two plays earlier, set up his big score. 

"He's a good player," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Wilson, via Steel City Insider. "He's competitive. He creates separation at break points. He's battle-tested on the interior portions of the field. He comes from a winning program. You can't say enough about the winning component in terms of how it shapes the relationships with the game and what they're willing to do and their mettle. He checks a lot of those boxes."

After a decorated career at Michigan, Wilson will look to join the Steelers' rich linage of receivers who were drafted after the first round. The list includes a Hall of Famer, a Super Bowl MVP, a perennial All-Pro, and a slew of other receivers who carved out fruitful careers. 

Here's my ranking of the Steelers' best receivers drafted after the first round. Below is the criteria I used when putting this ranking together. 

  • Career accolades 
  • Career stats 
  • Individual milestones 
  • Impact on the Steelers 

1. John Stallworth (4th round, 1974) 

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (2002)
  • Steelers Hall of Honor (2017) 
  • 1984 NFL Comeback Player of the Year 
  • 12 TD catches in 12 playoff starts 
  • Steelers' all-time leader in career catches, yards and touchdowns at the time of his retirement

Stallworth made four huge plays in the Steelers' last two Super Bowl wins of the 1970s. Many argue that he should have been Super Bowl XIV's MVP after his receptions of 73 and 45 yards in the fourth quarter propelled Pittsburgh to a win over a scrappy Rams team. 

"I could name you hundreds of John Stallworth catches," Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw once said. "He made dramatic catches, great catches, one-handed catches. He was incredible."

2. Hines Ward (3rd round, 1998) 

  • Steelers Hall of Honor (2019) 
  • Super Bowl XL MVP 
  • Steelers career leader in receptions and receiving yards 

A major misconception about Ward's career is that he doesn't have good enough numbers to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That's simply not true. In fact, Ward is just one of eight receivers with at least 1,000 career catches, 12,000 receiving yards and 85 touchdowns. The other seven wideouts are in the Hall of Fame. 

Ward also has 88 catches, 1,181 yards and 10 touchdowns in the postseason, along with having the unofficial title as the greatest blocking wideout in NFL history. 

3. Antonio Brown (6th round, 2010)

  • Hall of Fame All-2010s Team 
  • 4-time All-Pro 
  • Record-holder for most catches and receiving yards over a six-year span 
  • Won Super Bowl LV as a member of Buccaneers 

Brown was a dominant player during his prime (on offense as well as on special teams as a returner), but his stats during those years tells only part of the story. Many forget that it was Brown's helmet catch during his rookie season that set up the game-winning score in Pittsburgh's comeback win over Baltimore in the 2010 divisional round. Six years later, his "Immaculate Extension" against Baltimore on Christmas Day clinched the AFC North division title. Those are just two of the big plays Brown made during his time in Pittsburgh. 

4. Buddy Dial (2nd round, 1959)

  • Steelers Hall of Honor (2018) 
  • Two-time Pro Bowler 
  • Led NFL in YPR (1969 & '63) 

Dial played a major role during what was the best season during the Steelers' first four decades of existence. In 1962, Dial average nearly 20 yards per reception while helping Pittsburgh finish with a 9-5 record. Dial caught 60 passes for 1,295 yards and nine touchdowns the next year as the Steelers posted a winning record in back-to-back years for the second time in franchise history (to that point). 

5. Emmanuel Sanders (3rd round, 2010) 

  • Two-time Pro Bowler 
  • Won Super Bowl 50 as a member of the Broncos 
  • Played in Super Bowls with three different teams 

Sanders was a role player in Pittsburgh before flourishing in Denver with Peyton Manning. While his career numbers pale in comparison to Brown's, Sanders does have the distinction of being the No. 1 receiver on a Super Bowl-winning team. Sanders also had impressive longevity despite tearing his Achilles late in his ninth season (he played three more seasons after that). 

6. Mike Wallace (3rd round, 2009) 

  • 2011 Pro Bowler 
  • Led NFL in YPC (2009) 

One of the NFL's best deep threats during his prime. Wallace parlayed that speed into becoming the Steelers' No. 1 receiver during his second season. That was the same year Wallace helped the Steelers reach their most recent Super Bowl. Wallace had solid seasons later in his career with the Dolphins and Ravens

7. Antwaan Randle-El (2nd round, 2002) 

  • Led NFL in kick off returns for TDs (2003 & 2005) 

Randle-El made several big plays during the 2005 Steelers' Super Bowl run. He caught the opening score during Pittsburgh's shocking upset over the Colts in the divisional round. Three weeks later, Randle-El, a former college quarterback at Indiana, threw the game-clinching touchdown as the Steelers snapped their 26-year title drought. 

8. Roy Jefferson (2nd round, 1965) 

  • Three-time Pro Bowler
  • 1969 All-Pro 
  • Led NFL in YPR (1966) & receiving (1968) 

An extremely gifted receiver, Jefferson is the first Steelers player to post consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Conflicts with Chuck Noll, however, led to Jefferson being traded following Noll's first season in Pittsburgh (1969). 

9. Gary Ballman (8th round, 1962) 

  • Two-time Pro Bowler 

Another standout who came to Pittsburgh just before the franchise's glory years. Despite not having much talent around him, Ballman managed to become one of the NFL's premier receivers during the mid-60s. He spent just five years in Pittsburgh before continuing his career in Philadelphia. 

Ballman's career average of 26.7 yards per kickoff return is the second-best in franchise history with players with at least 60 returns. 

10. Ron Shanklin (2nd round, 1970) 

  • Pro Bowler (1973) 
  • Led NFL in YPR (1973) 

An immediate playmaker in Pittsburgh, Shanklin appeared to be on his way to stardom before a knee injury prematurely ended his career. A year before the injury, Shanklin helped the Steelers win the franchise's first Super Bowl. 

Honorable mention: JuJu Smith-Schuster (2nd round, 2017) 

  • Pro Bowler (2018) 
  • Had NFL's longest catch in consecutive years 
  • Won Super Bowl with Kansas City Chiefs 

Smith-Schuster had one of the most memorable rookie seasons in franchise history in 2017. He followed that up with his best season that culminated in him winning the Steelers' MVP award. Smith-Schuster's career started to dip after that, but he did lead all Chiefs wide receivers in receiving yards when Kansas City won Super Bowl LVII.