As if playing poker with X-ray vision, the Pittsburgh Steelers seemingly had full control of the entire deck, and card after card fell in favor of the Black and Gold.
Unlike classic hold 'em, future NFL players don't always match the their scouting report, so a king is not always a king. Nevertheless, if a few of Pittsburgh's rookies can match their reputation, the 2012 NFL draft will be remembered as aces in the Steel City.
First, the team drafted an absolute ace in Stanford's David DeCastro, the type of player who immediately makes an ailing offensive line better and could justifiably make the Pro Bowl at his position for seasons to come.
Then, the team nabbed Mike Adams, scouted as an exceptional pass blocker that CBS Sportsline's Pete Prisco had off the board at No. 22. The Steelers acquisition of Adams at No. 56 makes the selection a potential perfect "10."
Their third-round selection, Miami linebacker Sean Spence, could become the new "king" of the defense, leading either as a linebacker or, per the speculation of some of our peers (though I have my own doubts), the next hybrid-style, play-making safety. Personally, I believe Spence could develop into a fine inside 'backer, in the style of James Farrior.
Skipping to the fifth round, Chris Rainey has the game-breaking potential to become a "prince" in Pittsburgh, and the team's confidence shows in having already signed the elusive SEC runner to a four-year deal.
And, lastly, hopefully Washington's Alameda Ta'amu will make like the song by the acclaimed band "Queen," keeping offensive linemen, runners and passers "under pressure" from his vital spot as the keystone of the defensive front.
While nobody can be sure until all of the cards are officially on the table, the makings for a royal flush certainly exist within the 2012 draft class. It's up to each of them to decide whether to truly be a diamond amongst their peers or, well... get clubbed!
And, who knows? Maybe a few late-round "jokers" will get the last laugh, proving themselves more valuable than their prospective status.
Either way, optimism is at a high in the Steel City, and team brass deserves a great deal of credit for its patience and process.
Here are five key observations Steelers fans can take from the team's newest draft selections.