Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 NFL Draft Grades
The Pittsburgh Steelers went 12-4 and made the playoffs in 2011, but were ousted right away by the Denver Broncos, as their age on defense was finally exposed.
They dealt with injuries all season, too, so getting youth and some fresh legs for competition was the name of the game entering the 2012 NFL Draft. Let’s see how they did:
Round 1 (Pick 24) – David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Pittsburgh’s offensive line was hurt and inconsistent all year, so getting some fresh bodies was key in this draft. Wouldn’t you know it, the Steelers somehow land the draft’s best guard. DeCastro is a man-eater with a nasty mean streak, too. He’ll start from day one and crush the opposition, assisting the ground game and helping to protect Ben Roethlisberger, as well.
Round 2 (Pick 56) – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
As you can see, the Steelers’ offensive line was so much of a problem in 2011, that they weren’t kidding around in this draft. An elite tackle prospect in Adams fell to them, and thanks to him personally lobbying for them to take him, they did. They happen to need him, too.
Round 3 (Pick 86) – Sean Spence, OLB, Miami U.
Pittsburgh doesn’t run a beastly 3-4 defense on accident. They always know when to draft another linebacker to toss into the mix. Spence is a nice talent who can play inside and out, and could fit in the rotation from day one.
Round 4 (Pick 109) – Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington
This is my favorite pick of Pittsburgh’s draft. Ta’amu is a big man who plays mean and has some of the best strength you’ll find. Casey Hampton is aging and the Steelers could use depth on the defensive line, making this a huge steal. Ta’amu has first-round talent, so getting him in the fourth is excellent value.
Round 5 (Pick 159) – Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida
Rashard Mendenhall may not play in 2012, so the Steelers take a precaution and grab a versatile and explosive weapon for their back-field, as well as receivers and returns. Rainey can make an impact in a variety of ways, despite not having a clearly defined role yet.
Round 6 (Pick 231) – Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado
Hines Ward is gone and Emmanuel Sanders has struggled to stay healthy, so Pittsburgh grabs a reliable receiver late that catches the ball well and isn’t afraid to work the middle of the field. Not flashy, but a solid pick here.
Round 7 (Pick 246) – David Paulson, TE, Oregon
Heath Miller is a solid starting tight end, but he’s not explosive and there isn’t much to talk about behind him at the position. Pittsburgh grabs a quality pass-catcher here that will compete for a roster spot.
Round 7 (Pick 246) – Terrence Frederick, CB, Texas A&M
Pittsburgh’s corners are aging, so why not get a young guy with some nice potential? Frederick has the tools to succeed at the next level, but will likely have to make a living on special teams before earning a key defensive role.
Round 7 (Pick 248) – Kelvin Beachum, OT, SMU
The Steelers end the draft the way they started it – addressing their weak offensive line. Beachum doesn’t have great size and may have to move to guard, but he’s depth and competition at the very worst.
You have to love the Steelers finally committing to upgrading their offensive line. They added two studs – one at guard and one at tackle, and made huge strides in that area. I also like the addition of the versatile Spencer at linebacker, and think Rainey could be a dangerous player, depending on how they use him. The pick I loved the most was Ta’amu, who could start right away if he had to, and is just a space-eater with great strength. He’s a future starter and will rotate in adn be effective immediately. Overall, this was a very solid draft for the Steelers that helps them get better where it matters most – in the trenches.
Overall Grade: A