6 Steelers Rookies That Are Struggling in Camp

Mike BatistaContributor IAugust 15, 2012

6 Steelers Rookies That Are Struggling in Camp

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    A lot rides on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2012 rookie class, because this team isn't getting any younger.

    Warren Sapp's famous "Old, slow and it's over" line on Showtime's "Inside the NFL"  via USA Today hung over the Steelers like a dark cloud after they were pounded 35-7 at Baltimore in last year's season opener.

    It's hard to argue with the "old" part. The Steelers didn't seem "slow" in going 12-4 in the regular season. But it was "over" quickly for the Steelers in the playoffs.

    So the Steelers could use a dose of youth, even if some of their rookies are struggling a little in training camp.

David DeCastro

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    David DeCastro hardly belongs on this list.

    However, the whispers that suggest he's struggling need to be addressed. Has an artist been commissioned to begin sculpting DeCastro's bust for Canton?

    No.

    DeCastro's not having a bad camp, though.

    It's just that with all the euphoria sparked by the Steelers' apparent steal of DeCastro in the first round of the draft, the rookie guard was expected to report to camp as the 2005 Alan Faneca.

    That hasn't happened, hence the whispers.

    At the very least, DeCastro was expected to step in and start immediately at right guard, but he's still battling veteran Ramon Foster for that job. DeCastro started at right guard in the Steelers' preseason opener at Philadelphia because Foster started at left guard in place of injured Willie Colon.

    DeCastro played the entire first half in Philadelphia. He didn't allow a sack and threw a key block on a 33-yard run by Jonathan Dwyer, according to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    That play aside, DeCastro struggled in run-blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. He was frequently beaten by Eagles rookie defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, a fellow first-round draft pick.

    Still, DeCastro has time to improve before the games count.

Mike Adams

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    Mike Adams does belong on this list.

    The rookie left tackle was responsible for two-and-a-half sacks in the first quarter of the Steelers' preseason opener at Philadelphia, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    Adams did a decent job in run-blocking, according to Pro Football Focus, but his night ended when he hurt his knee, an injury that likely will sideline him for two weeks, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    The second-round draft pick was having a good camp, but disappointed in his debut against opposing players.

    Veteran left tackle Max Starks was taken off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Tuesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. If Starks is fully healed from offseason ACL surgery, he could start at left tackle until Adams is ready for prime time.

Alameda Ta'amu

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    The Steelers are hoping fourth-round draft pick Alameda Ta'amu can follow in Casey Hampton's footsteps at nose tackle.

    Unfortunately, Ta'amu has followed Hampton's footsteps on the scale and not so much on the field.

    Listed at 6'3", 348 pounds, Ta'amu reported to camp out of shape, according to USA Today, but his play improved as camp went along.

    Ta'amu is clearly behind Steve McLendon on the nose tackle depth chart, however, after McLendon's monster game in the Steelers' preseason opener at Philadelphia.

Toney Clemons

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    Mike Wallace's holdout puts Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery at the top of the Steelers' wide receiver depth chart.

    There's a steep drop-off after that. None of the other receivers have looked like legitimate No. 4 or No. 5 wideouts, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    It's one of the reasons why the Steelers have flirted with the idea of signing Plaxico Burress, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    Toney Clemons was the first of the Steelers' four seventh-round picks in the NFL draft. He dropped a few passes early in camp, according to Steel City Insider, but also has made some tough catches in practice.

    Clemons had no catches in the Steelers' preseason opener at Philadelphia, but was the intended receiver only once. He did play well on special teams, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Kelvin Beachum

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    Kelvin Beachum, the last of the Steelers' four seventh-round draft picks in April, actually isn't having a bad camp. He's just had a couple of notably bad days.

    Early in camp, the 6'2", 303-pound offensive lineman was beaten on three consecutive snaps by second-year defensive end Cameron Heyward, according to Steel City Insider.

    In the Steelers' preseason opener at Philadelphia, Beachum was called for two holds and a false start while playing left tackle. He's expected to primarily play guard, although he has shown some versatility.

    Anything a team gets from a guy who is chosen five spots before Mr. Irrelevant is a bonus.

Marquis Maze

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    Marquis Maze, an undrafted free agent, joins Toney Clemons as a rookie among the Steelers' lackluster wide receiver hopefuls.

    The 5'8", 186-pounder had just one opportunity for a reception in the Steelers' preseason opener at Philadelphia. He couldn't come up with Jerrod Johnson's poorly thrown ball in the third quarter.

    Maze did touch the ball as a returner, bringing back a kickoff for 28 yards. He fielded three punts, returning one for five yards, another for zero yards and fair catching the other one.