Which Rookies Could Start Right Away for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 31, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 04:  First round draft pick David DeCastro #66 of the Pittsburgh Steelers works out during their rookie minicamp at the Pittsburgh Steelers South Side training facility on May 4, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers fans have been calling for the team to fix the offensive line via the draft for years, and in April, they finally got their wish. The team's first- and second-round picks were used to upgrade the offensive line, and both could start the season opener vs. the Denver Broncos.

The Steelers were elated to land offensive guard David DeCastro at the 24th pick. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports even reported that the team had a deal in place to move up to No. 16 for DeCastro.

The Stanford product, who gave up only one sack in his college career while protecting Andrew Luck, has been projected as a plug-and-play starter from day one, and the team's enthusiasm to add him would indicate that they plan to start him.

There is one complicating factor, and it involves second-round offensive tackle Mike Adams' chances to start. If the Steelers leave Willie Colon at right tackle and Marcus Gilbert at left tackle, Adams is unlikely to break the starting lineup. Instead, he would be the team's swing tackle, and DeCastro would only need to beat out end-of-the-roster fodder Trai Essex to start. 

The team recently announced that Colon will be moving inside to left guard, which would presumably open up the right or left tackle position for Adams. Gilbert has been lining up at left tackle according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while Adams is waiting for his work at Ohio State to be over, freeing him up to attend at least the team's minicamp.

As Bouchette speculates, this is likely temporary and Adams will be given the chance to win the job this summer. That would give the Steelers two rookie starters on the offensive line for the first time in at least 33 years (and perhaps ever), according to Steelers Depot.

None of the other rookies have a chance to truly start, although third-round linebacker Sean Spence could see time in sub-packages because of his speed and ability to work in pass coverage, and fifth-round wide receiver/running back/returner Chris Rainey will certainly have a few special plays put in the offense for him, assuming he makes the team.

Ask any Steelers fan, and they'll tell you, two, especially on the offensive line, is more than enough.