The Pittsburgh Steelers have had no shortage of great players over the years.  Many of which have ended up in the Hall of Fame.  So we decided to start a series of top 1o Steelers at various position groups.  An important fact as we go through these top 10 lists, this will be modern era only.  We decided the cut off would be the player must have played after 1970.  Apologies to the players who played before then.  First in the series will be defensive backs:

10.  Ike Taylor (2003-2014)

The knock on Ike Taylor always was the hands.  Taylor dropped more than his share of interceptions over his career, finishing with just 14.  He was however a key cog in two of the Steelers Super Bowl runs.  His toughness versus the run made him a perfect fit in the physical defenses of the early 200s.  Taylor finished with 636 tackles.

9.  Joe Haden (2017-2021)

The only thing holding Joe Haden lower in our Steelers top 1o list is his short stint with the team.  He was among the most talented corners to ever wear the black and gold.  Haden finished his career with 615 tackles, and 29 interceptions.

8. Mike Wagner (1971-1980)

One of many Steelers from those great 70s teams on our list.  Mike Wagner was a lesser known star of the vaunted Steel Curtain defense.  Wagner garnered 2 All-Pros, 2 Pro Bowls, and led the NFL in interceptions in 1973.  His 36 career interceptions puts him 6th all time in Steelers history. All this while playing safety, not corner.

7.  Dwayne Woodruff (1979-1990)

Dwayne Woodruff came in at the tail end of the great 70s teams.  Because of that, he suffered through playing for some of the bad Steelers teams of the 80s.  He still managed 37 interceptions for his career, good for 5th all time in Steelers history.  Considering the teams he played on the majority of his career, thats quite an accomplishment.

6.  Carnell Lake (1989-1998)

Carnell Lake is one of the greatest safeties in Steelers history, and still only good for number six on this list.  That tells you something about the talent that has come through this organization.  Lake’s accomplishments on the field are something to behold.  He amassed 5 All Pro selections, 5 Pro Bowls, and was a member of the NFL 1990s all decade team.  He also played some high level corner when the Steelers were in a pinch due to injuries.  Lake finished his career with 826 tackles, 16 interceptions, and 25 sacks.

5.  Minkah Fitzpatrick (2019-present)

When it’s all said and done for Minkah Fitzpatrick, he may find himself near the top of this list.  He is already one of the most talented safeties to ever play in Pittsburgh. In his short career Fitzpatrick has already been to 3 Pro Bowls, and been a three time first team All-Pro.  His 17 interceptions in just four seasons with the Steelers puts him at a pace to easily challenge the top five in team history.  The sky is the limit for Minkah Fitzpatrick.

4.  Donnie Shell (1974-1987)

Donnie Shell Is our first of four straight Hall of Famers to close out our list.  He is third all time in Steelers history with 51 interceptions. Shell also had 19 fumble recoveries in his career.  Add that to 4 Super Bowl trophies, 4 All-Pros, and 5 Pro Bowls and you have one hell of a career.

3.  Troy Polamalu (2003-2014)

On most any other team, Troy Polamalu would be no worse than the second best defensive back in team history.  Unfortunately for him the Steelers are loaded at the top in this category.  Our personal favorite, Polamalu’s Hall of Fame career was incredible.   He is 7th all time in interceptions with 32.  Add to that 783 tackles, 12 sacks, and 14 forced fumbles.  His accolades include 2 Super Bowls, 6X All-Pro, 8X Pro Bowls, DPOY in 2010, member of the NFL all decade team for the 2000s, and of course a Hall of Famer.

Troy also topped our most exciting Steelers player.  Check out that list here:Top five most exciting Steelers players of all time

2. Rod Woodson (1987-1996)

Rod Woodson isn’t just one of the greatest Steelers defensive backs of all time, he is one of the greatest in NFL history.  Woodson was an elite athlete who was also a dynamic punt returner during his career.  His list of honors is nothing short of amazing.  He was a 9X All-Pro, 11X Pro Bowls, DPOY IN 1993, 2X NFL interception leader (1999,2002), 1990s all decade team, a member of the 75th, and 100th all NFL teams, and a first ballot Hall of Famer.  Rod Woodson is both Steelers, and NFL royalty.

1.  Mel Blount (1970-1983)

Mel Blount was so dominant in the 1970s the NFL was forced to change the rules of how the position could be played. They actually named it the Mel Blount rule.  His 57 interceptions is first all time in Steelers  history.  There may be no more accomplished defensive back in NFL history.  This Hall of Famer was a 4X Super Bowl champion, 6X All-Pro, 5X pro-bowls, DPOY in 1975, interception leader (1975), member of the all 70s, and 80s NFL all decade teams, and a member of the 75th, and 100th all NFL teams.

Mel Blount changed the game at the cornerback position, and deserves the number one ranking on our top 10 Steelers defensive backs list.



check out the Steelers Sanctuary Podcast for our list of the top 10 outside linebackers in Steelers history here: