The Game Before the Money Podcast discussed the 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft class that produced 4 Pro Football Hall of Fame members, including Lynn Swann. We learned that the Dallas Cowboys might have been ready to draft Swann — in Episode 47 of the football history podcast.
Who Did the Steelers Draft in 1974?
In the 1974 NFL Draft, the Steelers drafted four future Hall of Famers. Receiver Lynn Swann was their first-round pick. Linebacker Jack Lambert was their second-round choice. Receiver John Stallworth was selected in the fourth round. Center Mike Webster was Pittsburgh’s fifth-round pick. Then, the Steelers scored another Hall of Famer as an undrafted free agent, defensive back Donnie Shell.
How many future Hall of Famers did the Steelers draft in 1974?
In 1974, the Steelers drafted four future Hall of Famers.
Who was the 1974 Steelers first-round draft pick?
The Steelers drafted Lynn Swann as their first-round pick in the 1974 NFL Draft.
Insiders Talk About Steelers 1974 Draft Strategy
Steelers receivers coach Lionel Taylor talked about the Steelers draft strategy in the first round of the 1974 draft and how well things went Pittsburgh’s way despite not having a third-round pick.
“We picked Lynn Swann, number one. We would have taken Stallworth if Swann hadn’t been there, but the scouting department, Dick Haley, and those guys, they knew what they were talking about.”
Steelers beat writer Vito Stellino adds to Taylor’s comment about the reason the Steelers chose to pick Lynn Swann rather than John Stallworth in the first round.
“Chuck Noll actually thought Stallworth might be a better pick than Swann, but the scouts said, ‘Yeah, but Swann’s going to USC, you know, he’s not going to last much longer (in the draft).’ And the word of the time was that the Cowboys would have taken Swann on the next pick if the Steelers had passed him. They couldn’t have gotten Swann if they took Stallworth in that round. And, of course, Swann wound up playing a key role in beating the Cowboys twice in the Super Bowl. He had big games both times.”
Is the NFL Draft Important?
Wow, could you imagine the difference in the 1970s if Lynn Swann had slipped one pick and gone to the Cowboys at pick 22 in the 1974 NFL draft?
Swann made huge plays in both Super Bowl 10 and Super Bowl 13 that were key to the Steelers beating the Cowboys.
Would we be talking about Lynn Swann and Drew Pearson being one of the greatest duos in NFL history rather than Swann and Stallworth? Would Dallas have been the team of the 70s? We can’t answer that, but it does show you how important the draft can be, not only in building your own team but in potentially blocking another team’s pick.
Of course, the NFL Draft isn’t the only way to build a championship team, as I showed in one of my first-ever blog posts.
Hear More on The Game Before the Money Podcast:
Looking for a great NFL history book? Check out The Game Before the Money: Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL available at — Amazon.com – Barnes and Noble – University of Nebraska Press
Like sports history? Listen to The Game Before the Money Podcast! Most episodes include stories from legendary football stars.