The 2021 NFL Draft is just over two months away. Each week leading up to the draft, we will dive into an NFL draft class beginning with the Steelers’ 2004 NFL Draft. In doing so, each player selected by the Steelers will be highlighted in terms of how their NFL career took shape, or lack of it. As we get to more recent years, some will combine as many of those draft options are still with the Steelers.
Part 6 of 15 will highlight the 2009 Steelers NFL draft, where a player just won a Super Bowl ring.
So let’s take a look at the nine players selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2009 NFL draft:
Evander “Ziggy” Hood
Defensive end, Missouri
Some of the best words a franchise can hear are, “With the 32nd pick in the NFL draft …” After winning the Super Bowl in 2008, the Steelers had the final pick in the first round of the NBA draft. 2009 NFL and selected Ziggy Hood. Although Hood had 11.5 of his 14 career sacks in his five years at Pittsburgh, Ziggy never seemed like a good fit on the Steelers defense. Perhaps better suited for a 4-3 scheme, Hood left the Steelers with a year in Jacksonville and then Chicago before settling with Washington. During the 2016 and 17 seasons, Hood saw a small revival in which he started 27 games over the two seasons. Unfortunately, he didn’t last long as he was released midway through the 2018 season, but the Miami Dolphins picked him up for the rest of the year. Hood passed training camp for the 2019 season with the New Orleans Saints and did not make the team and has been out of the NFL ever since.
The Pittsburgh Steelers traded 15 spots in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft. In exchange, the Steelers traded their fourth-round pick with the Denver Broncos for an additional third-round pick that earned them 48 spots. With the first of their three third-round picks, the Steelers selected guard Kraig Urbik. Although he joined the team in 2009, Urbik was inactive for most of the season and did not appear in any games. Instead, undrafted guard Ramon Foster claimed the backup spot. Not making the 53-man roster in 2010, the Buffalo Bills reclaimed Urbik, where he spent the next six seasons. In total, Urbik started 57 games while appearing in 84 at Buffalo. After spending the 2016 season with the Dolphins, Urbik was released the following year after sustaining a knee injury. The following offseason, Urbik retired from the NFL after nine seasons.
Wide receiver, Mississippi
Once referred to by coach Mike Tomlin as a “one-trick pony,” Mike Wallace made the Pro Bowl in 2011 as part of his four years with the Steelers. Compiling over 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns, Wallace was primarily known as a deep threat. Turning down an offer from the Steelers that was later given to Antonio Brown, Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins, where he played two somewhat disappointing seasons before rebounding against the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles. His last year in the NFL with Philadelphia in 2018, Wallace suffered a fibula fracture in week 2, although he returned at the end of the season.
Defensive back, Oregon St.
In the final of the Steelers’ three third-round picks in 2009, Keenan Lewis worked his way to a role with the Steelers appearing in just 13 games in his first two seasons. In his junior year, Lewis appeared in all 16 games of the regular season and started one and had an interception. It was his fourth and final year at Pittsburgh, where Lewis started all 16 games at cornerback and had 23 passes defended and 71 tackles. Lewis cashed in a big payday with the New Orleans Saints, where he started every game for two straight seasons and had six interceptions. In 2015 Lewis only appeared in six games and did not start any and was placed on injured reserve with a leg injury. During the offseason, Lewis underwent hip surgery and began training camp with the Saints on the physically disabled list. Being activated too early, Lewis practiced a day before coming out again due to injury and was released midway through training camp. The Steelers twice considered bringing Lewis back, but it seemed the injury was too much and he ultimately ended his career.
Defensive back, Central Florida
Believed to possibly be their returns specialist, Burnett did not win the job and was defeated by Stephan Logan. But after a stellar preseason in his rookie year that included an interception and a blocked field goal, Burnett made the 53-man list for his defensive contributions and appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and had 17 tackles. Unable to make the team in 2010, Burnett signed a futures contract with the Giants in 2011, but did not make the team or practice squad. Burnett eventually spent eight years playing for various teams in the Canadian Football League.
The Steelers made back-to-back picks in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, as they had a compensatory draft pick. Summers played the first two games of 2009 for the Steelers as their winger and was credited with starting one of the games. Unfortunately, these were his only two games at Pittsburgh, as he was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. The following season, Summers did not make the 53-man roster, but landed on the practice squad. After the season, he was signed by the San Diego Chargers, but did not make the team. After a year out of football, Summers signed with the Buffalo Bills, where he played for nearly 2 seasons and had two touchdowns on 18 carries. Released towards the end of the 2014 season, Summers officially announced his retirement from the NFL.
Defensive tackle, Oregon
Failing his rookie season on the Steelers’ 53-man roster, Harris was claimed by the Carolina Panthers, where he appeared in two games and had two tackles. Harris only lasted the first month of the season on the Panthers’ 53-man roster when he was released and later signed with his practice squad. Soon after, the Steelers signed Harris back from the Panthers practice team to add depth after Aaron Smith’s injury. Harris never appeared in a game for the Steelers and was unable to make the team in 2010. Signed shortly with the Bills practice team, Harris landed back with the Steelers as part of their practice team later that season. Harris spent the next few seasons in training camp with the Houston Texans, but never appeared in an NFL game outside of his rookie season.
Downtown, Penn St.
The Steelers picked up an extra seventh-round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by Shaun Mahan Mall. With the election, the Steelers selected AQ Shipley, who is the only member of the 2009 Steelers draft class to play during the 2020 season. In his first season in Pittsburgh on the practice team, Shipley was signed on the season. He is dropped by the Philadelphia Eagles on a three-year contract, though he couldn’t make the team in 2010 and landed on their practice team. After failing to make the Eagles team in 2011, the Indianapolis Colts didn’t re-sign Shipley until the following offseason. On the 53-man roster, Shipley appeared in 14 games and started five in his first season at Indianapolis. In the offseason, the Colts traded Shipley to the Ravens for a seventh-round pick and he started nine games for Baltimore in 2013. After being fired by the Ravens late in training camp in 2014, Shipley ended up back with the Colts. and started five games in 2014. Shipley’s next stop was Arizona for the 2015 season, where he started three games before starting every game at center for the next three years. In 2020, Shipley signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he appeared in five games while starting two before landing on injured reserve in what could be a career-ending neck injury.
Closed end, Arkansas St.
The Steelers’ last pick in the 2009 draft was tight end David Johnson, who also played fullback. Johnson spent his first five seasons in Pittsburgh, but missed the 2012 season due to a torn ACL during a preseason game. In his first season with the Steelers, Johnson had 22 receptions for 216 yards and the only touchdown of his career. Johnson also spent two seasons with the San Diego Chargers in 2014 and 2015 before returning to the Steelers for a final season in 2016. Johnson was unable to make the team in 2017.