5.02.2012

Your 2012 Steeler Draft Class

I doubt he ends up with this number.

"Character Issues" or "Off-field Issues" abound with this group. A closer look shows a series of conditions that at worst should serve as an area of concern, but at best could have given The Steelers an oppurtunity to get discounted merchandise. Sortof like shoppin at Gabe's. Whatever the price, The Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Draft Class is here, and they just may end up being the best since the 70s.


David DeCastro, OG (yea, he is), Stanford
Round 1: 24(24)
Player The Experts Expect: Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson
2012 Ceiling: Starter from Day One, Ben Roethlisberger's new bestie, Self-loathing Seahawks fan
You May Have Seen Him: Losing the 2011 Fiesta Bowl (41-38 in OT), Keeping his diary, mauling defensive linemen
Career Possibilities: Future HOF'er, ESPN's replacement for Mark Schlereth, Golden Corral sponshorship deal

My Uninformed Take: Everyone seems to label this guy as playing angry or having a chip on his shoulder...considering he graduated in three years from Stanford with a degree in Management, Science & Engineering, I'm betting that anger might just be a drive to succeed. We can hate on Andrew Luck all we want (and we'll certainly have time for that), but he's polished. DeCastro is said to be Luck's best friend, their NFL fates likely inexorably linked. Some express concern over DeCastro's value being inflated by playing in a great system and with a great player at Stanford. I don't care if you played for Presbyterian University...if you have the physical numbers and highlight real of Mr. DeCastro. You likely watched him fall down the draft board thinking The Steelers would end up taking Dont'a Hightower once DeCastro was selected...but that never happened. I don't like using Belicheck as validaiton, but the fact that The Pats traded up immediately after we grabbed DeCastro to get Hightower makes me think he was probably ranked the number one LB in the draft, Luke Kuechly excepted (but even Bawstohn can't have that much grit). Still, anyone who watched more than a few snaps of The Steelers '11 campaign knows Offensive Line is our clear and present danger. Had to do it, good pick.

Well, you can't be number 1 also...


Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
Round 2: 24(56)
Player The Experts Expect: Jammal Brown, D'Brickashaw Ferguson
2012 Ceiling: Starter, Off-field Issue-free season, Cam Heyward's bestie (again)
You May Have Seen Him: Losing to Florida 21-14 in the Gator Bowl, On tumblr (J/K, J/K LOLZ)
Career Possibilities: All-Pro (though, not going to Hawaii "THANKS, ROG"), WWE Superstar

My Uninformed Take: Adams is best known for his involvement in the OSU Tattoo Scandal popularized by Mr. Terrelle Pryor. He also failed the NFL Combine's drug test, a fact which he originally lied to Steelers brass about. If that weren't enough, some believe his play in the Senior Bowl was erratic. So, how/why in the nuts did they still take him? The Steelers ability to rehabilitate their players' public images has been unwittingly put to the test recently. The fact that they chose to bring further scrutiny upon themselves by selecting Adams speaks to their confidence in the pick and their ability to set him on the proper path. Either that, or they just couldn't pass up the possibility of a second future All-Pro offensive linemen in as many days. Things seem to be more of a gamble with Adams than The Steelers usually take...but if the charges were dropped, and his involvement with the tattoo situation was nominal, both facts which I'm sure Rooney's employees vetted, then his fall to the 2nd round will be their gain. Willie Colon is a relative unknown after his lack of play, Marcus Gilbert represents a good bet for starter, but Adams has likely already eclipsed Jonathan Scott on the depth chart. If either DeCastro or Adams end up a "10-year starter" as many already dubbing them, both picks are a success. If both do, the entire draft is.


Sean Spence, LB(weak side), Miami (FL)
Round 3: 23(86)
Player The Experts Expect: Derrick Brooks, James Farrior
2012 Ceiling: Spot starter, Learns LeBeau's schemes well enough to teach others
You May Have Seen Him: Being suspended a game for receiving improper benefits from Miami Douche-booster Nevin Shapiro, Standing out on a sub-par Hurricanes team
Career Possibilities: Carnell Lake 2.0, Multiple contracts with Steelers, Dental Hygienist 

My Uninformed Take: "The Book" on this guy is he has really good speed, awareness, on-field leadership abilities and overall athleticism. His question marks appear to be size and strength. Under performing on the bench press at the combine is not something I'm too concerned about, especially if The Steelers have him pegged for a coverage linebacker. I'm sure many will say he could be moved to safety...only time (and team need) will tell. I'm not going to pretend to know what The Steelers see in Spence, but he certainly seems to be smart, which makes him capable in LeBeau's defense. He also appears to be versatile, which makes him useful as well. 


Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
Round 4: 14(109)
Player The Experts Expect: Casey Hampton
2012 Ceiling: Shadowing Hampton (except at the buffet), Adopts cool "Snack Attack" nickname
You May Have Seen Him: 

My Uninformed Take: Nose tackles are extremely hard to find. Even taking the second best overall NT in the draft is a risk. Watching Casey Hampton when breaking down film is the quickest way to see just how impressive 350 lbs moving at 5.5 speed can be. With Hampton's minutes dwindling, I think even the staunchest fan would say taking a 4th round flier on a possible replacement is worth it. If nothing else, Ta'amu has exhibited durability, another rarity at this position. He started every game of this final two seasons at Washington and got playing time in every game all four years he played. His weight has apparently fluctuated greatly at times while in school, topping out at nearly 400 lbs. at times...that's a lot of Husky. Combine that with "shorter arms/reach" and you may have the reason this kid dropped out of his original "Second Round" grade. Whatever. As a fourth-rounder, I'm hoping he shows promise in camp this year and can begin to actualize some of it by season's end. Tempered expectations, to be sure.

Oh, he looks tall...

Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
Round 5: 24(159)
Player The Experts Expect: Chris Henry; PacMan Jones (in more ways than one)
2012 Ceiling: Main Kick-Returner, Scandal/Arrest-Free Year, Maurkice Pouncey's bestie (again)
You May Have Seen Him: Oh, there's SO MANY options...

-Unwittingly putting his own recruitment under scrutiny during an interview in which he bragged about receiving gifts as a high school player.
-Having his BCS Championship Ring stolen.
-Speaking ever-so-eloquently about his time at Florida under Urban Meyer (sarcasm).
-Being arrested for Aggravated Stalking (yikes)...though he was cleared of the charges.

My Uninformed Take: A 4.37 forty time. FOUR POINT THREE SEVEN.  That was good enough for 2nd at the combine at RB. He's going to make the team unless he has issues beyond football, which obviously is not something to count out. Any time you can dramatically increase your chances of a run-back on special teams...you take it. I mean, The Steelers have taken gambles on returners in the free agent market in the past in the from of Eddie freakin' Drummond, Allen Rossum and of course, Stefan Logan.  So, the value here is undeniable. However, Rainey appears to be the biggest public relations gamble from a standpoint of run-ins with the law and just all around general stupidity. I truly wish I could dig up the audio of his high school radio interview...it's legendary. Having said that, Steelers Brass can polish this guy's image and maybe even give new OC Todd Haley a weapon they haven't had in...well...nearly forever.


Round 7 Guys: None of these guys are likely to make the team outright...practice squad fodder, mostly.

24(231) Toney Clemons WR, Colorado
Sweeping Generalization: Think "Stone Hands" Featherstone from "Necessary Roughness"

33(240) David Paulson TE, Oregon
Sweeping Generalization: Fullback or bust for this guy. "His name is David Paulson."

39(246) Terrence Frederick CB, Texas A&M
Sweeping Generalization: Undersized, but who knows...we certainly need help at corner.

41(248) Kelvin Beachum Jr. OG, Southern Methodist
Sweeping Generalization: He is a very sound sleeper.


The Steelers are used to being in the top 1/3 of the NFL year in and year out. Sometimes sneaking in to the playoffs, sometimes serving as the lead mark. The trick, of course, is to maintain consistency. That consistency combined with a "you know what we're going to do, just try and stop us" approach to the game can result in some experts or talking heads seemingly taking them for granted from year to year. So too we have the case this Draft. I have not heard a single "expert" pick ours as the draft's biggest winner...but more importantly, none list us as having big questions unanswered or positions unfilled. Thinking again of these prospects' collective label of off-field concerns, this has to restore some faith in the front office that saw a bit of conspiracy pertaining to the dismissal/firing/retirement of Bruce Arians, not to mention those lingering misgivings of other notable players.