NFL Draft 2012: Pittsburgh Steelers Take Care of Needs
The one weakness for the Pittsburgh Steelers for years has been their offensive line. General manager Kevin Colbert made sure early on that he would silence his critics.
Even with the need for offensive linemen, many analysts believed Pittsburgh would still go with All-American linebacker from the University of Alabama, Dont’a Hightower. The Steelers would have been more than pleased with drafting Hightower—until the NFL dropped an early Christmas gift on their draft table.
David DeCastro, offensive guard from Stanford University, was projected as the top guard in the draft and 10th overall prospect in the draft. With the addition of DeCastro alone, the Steelers pulled off one of their most successful drafts in the past decade.
Here is a closer and more in-depth look at all nine selections made by the Steelers.
Stanford Offensive Guard David DeCastro Selected in 1st Round
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Round 1, Pick 24 David DeCastro: DeCastro can be expected to make an immediate impact on the depleted Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line. Lining up next to Maurkice Pouncey will open up some enormous holes for the running game.
DeCastro has protected the likes of Andrew Luck for the past for years at Stanford. The Steelers should feel like they got the biggest steal of the first round in DeCastro, as he was projected to be off the board by the time Pittsburgh made its selection.
Steelers Buff Up Offensive Line with Mike Adams in 2nd Round
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Round 2, Pick 56 Mike Adams: As if getting DeCastro in the first round didn’t buff up the offensive line enough, the Steelers made sure they added some depth with the addition of offensive tackle out of Ohio State, Mike Adams. Adams was projected to be a first-round pick before he ran into some off-the-field issues. At this year’s combine, Adam’s tested positive for marijuana and then lied about it.
Taking a player with this history is way out of the Steelers' comfort zone, but they researched hard and deep to realize he would be a good fit. Expect Adams to crack the starting lineup in a year or two.
Steelers Add Linebacker Sean Spence in 3rd Round
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Round 3, Pick 86 Sean Spence: With the needs for offensive line filled by the first two draft picks, the Steelers moved onto another need. With the release of veteran James Farrior, Pittsburgh was in need of some depth at inside linebacker. In comes Sean Spence out of the University of Miami.
What Spence lacks in size he makes up in his athleticism. His quickness allows him to recover well and get to the ball carrier. He will be used more on blitz packages. Don’t expect him to start this year, as that job will go to Stevenson Sylvester.
Defensive Tackle Alameda Ta'amu Taken in 4th Round
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Round 4, Pick 109 Alameda Ta’amu: The defensive tackle from University of Washington is a perfect fit with the Steelers. Although he might not rack up the tackles and sacks, the Steelers won’t be asking him from that. Ta’amu will be the heir apparent to veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton. At 6’3”, 338 pounds, Ta’amu is the perfect candidate to clog the holes to create havoc for his linebackers.
Steelers Select Florida Gator Chris Rainey in 5th Round
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Round 5, Pick 159 Chris Rainey: Just in case the Steelers felt like they didn’t have enough playmakers on offense, they found one in Florida University running back Chris Rainey. Rainey would be the typical third-down back for Pittsburgh who could catch passes out of the backfield. Like most rookies, Rainey will make his impact this upcoming year in special teams, where he served as the kick returner, punt returner and on punt defense as a Gator.
Local Kid Toney Clemons Joins Steelers in 7th Round
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Round 7, Pick 231 Toney Clemons: It’s always a good story when you get drafted by your hometown team. That is what happened to Colorado University wide receiver Toney Clemons when the Steelers made the New Kensington local their first pick in the seventh round. Clemons really came on late in his senior year but will have a lot of work to do to crack the top four on the Steelers' wide receiver depth chart.
Oregon Tight End David Paulson Selected in 7th Round
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Round 7, Pick 240 David Paulson: With Heath Miller and David Johnson, Paulson won’t find himself playing for some time. Paulson is a more versatile tight end who has the ability to stretch the field and line up in the backfield.
Steelers Take Texas A&M Cornerback Terrence Frederick in 7th Round
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Round 7, Pick 246 Terrence Frederick: The cornerback out of Texas A&M is a risky pick, as he doesn’t have the speed to cover wideouts on the outside. With the loss of William Gay, Frederick has the possibility of covering the slot receiver and playing in zone defenses, but the Steelers have better options.
SMU's Kelvin Beachum Becomes 3rd Linemen Take by Steelers
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Round 7, Pick 248 Kelvin Beachum: Pittsburgh ended the 2012 draft the same way it started, by drafting an offensive tackle. Beachum, an offensive tackle form Southern Methodist University, will probably start on the practice squad in order for him to build his strength and size. Beachum will give the Steelers the flexibility to move to guard and will make a solid player on the line in a couple of years.