Pittsburgh Steelers: 2012 Draft Pick Highlights
The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for being one of the most consistent teams at finding value in the draft. This year was no exception.
The Steelers added nine quality players to the roster for rookie mini camp, and a majority of them have a good chance of making the final roster. Here are some highlights and notes on each of the draft picks as we wade through the offseason.
David DeCastro, G, Stanford: Rd 1 Pick 24
DeCastro was a consensus AP First Team All-American guard, and he was the clear top guard available in this draft. A true mauler in the run game, DeCastro has the rare blend of fundamentals, physical tools and nastiness to dominate his position.
Heading into this draft, offensive line was a key area of need, and the Pittsburgh Steelers got a gift at No. 24.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: Rd 2 Pick 24
Mike Adams is a physically-gifted freak who played left tackle for one of college's true powerhouse programs. At 6'7", 320 pounds, Adams has the body to be a dominant left tackle in the NFL for years to come. Even if Adams fails at left tackle, his frame is so big that can anchor the right side of an offensive line for many years.
The big concerns with Adams include his inconsistent play, but more so his character concerns. Adams has multiple violations for marijuana, including failing the test at the combine and lying about it to teams. Despite these concerns, Adams appears to have foregone his signing bonus for the first 18 months of his contract as a way of proving himself to teams.
If the Pittsburgh Steelers can get the most out of Adams, they will have pulled off two monumental steals in this draft.
Sean Spence, LB, Miami: Rd 3 Pick 23
Sean Spence is a dynamic pass-rusher who fits right into the Pittsburgh Steelers' drafting scheme. It seems as though, every year, the Steelers are drafting a linebacker or defensive end in the middle rounds to groom as eventual starters.
Spence represents a potential outside linebacker to replace James Harrison in the future. He is 2011 First-Team All-ACC player who excels in penetrating the backfield and making big hits. Spence needs to bulk up and get stronger, but in a few years, do not be surprised to see Spence racking up sacks in the NFL.
Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington: Rd 4 Pick 14
Once again, the Pittsburgh Steelers found value on the third day of the NFL draft by taking the best available defensive tackle. Alameda Ta'amu is a ferocious player who projects as a nose tackle at the next level.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to find a player to fill the shoes of Casey Hampton, and they are hoping Ta'amu is that player.
Ta'amu slipped to the fourth round due to some inconsistent play in college, but there was nothing inconsistent about his play during the Senior Bowl. He could be seen mauling through some of the best offensive linemen in college and making plays in the backfield. The question with this player will be whether or not he make the transition from penetrating tackler to space-eating nose tackle.
Chris Rainey, RB, Florida: Rd 5 Pick 24
Chris Rainey was the perfect pick for the Steelers in the fifth round, as he brings a dimension that has been missing for some time.
With the injury to Rashard Mendenhall, the Pittsburgh Steelers are faced with Isaac Redman being the opening day starter. While Redman is a capable back, Rainey brings an explosive third-down back element to the game. Rainey clock a 4.45 40-yard dash time, but he plays closer to a Chris Johnson 4.28 on film.
Rainey has some character issues to be wary of, but he should be an exciting third-down back and return man to watch in 2012.
Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado: Rd 7 Pick 24
True to Steelers form, in the seventh round, they selected a developmental receiver with a ton of upside.
Toney Clemons is an aggressive, big-bodied receiver who can slip past defenders with his vertical speed. Now, Clemons is not the next Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown; he is a different receiver, more in the Anquan Boldin mold.
Clemons will likely be a developmental possession receiver for the Steelers, and he likely will not see the field this season but should make the team.
David Paulson, TE, Oregon: Rd 7 Pick 33
David Paulson is a tall, athletic, receiving tight end who provides the Pittsburgh Steelers with an interesting project. Paulson is not the next Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, but he is a deceptively good receiver.
Coming from the Oregon offense, Paulson is familiar with running out of the spread and playing in space. The Steelers were forced to run shotgun formations last year and may choose to do so again this year. If that's the case, do not be surprised to see Paulson on the field in two-tight end sets.
Terrence Frederick, CB, Texas A&M: Rd 7 Pick 39
Terrence Frederick is another good developmental player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as he possesses lots of upside. Frederick is a very physical corner who excels in zone coverage and can deliver a punishing hit.
Some of the downsides to Frederick are his straight-line speed and propensity to get overaggressive. Nevertheless, Frederick brings depth to one of the weaker positions on the Steelers roster. Do not be surprised to see Frederick playing on dime packages for the Steelers this season.
Kelvin Beachum, OT, SMU: Rd 7 Pick 41
Kelvin Beachum is an interesting pick because he does not seem to fit the mold of a Pittsburgh Steeler. An offensive lineman in Pittsburgh is typically a big, nasty mauler in the run game. Beachum is more of an undersized tackle who struggles to generate a lot of holes.
He does have a good track record of health and consistency, starting every game since his sophomore year.
If Beachum stands a chance of succeeding in the NFL, he is going to need to get bigger and stronger very quickly. The Steelers may have taken a flyer with their final pick, but there must be something special that one of the coaches picked up on.