2012 NFL Draft: Grading the Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Class

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IMay 1, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Grading the Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Class

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers are known as one of the best drafting franchises in the NFL; they almost never miss in the first round and then are able to get steals throughout the later rounds.

    Coming into the 2012 NFL Draft the Steelers knew they needed to upgrade the offensive line and find the eventual replacement for Casey Hampton at the NT position.

    Here is my take on each of Pittsburgh's selections, followed by an overall grade for the Steelers 2012 draft.

1st Round (24): David DeCastro G, Stanford

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    The Steelers got the steal of the first round here getting the best guard prospect in the draft in David DeCastro with the 24th overall pick.

    DeCastro will immediately upgrade the Steelers offensive line and allow the team to keep Doug Legursky as the backup guard/center.

    I never thought there would be a scenario with DeCastro available at 24 however, the Steelers will take that mistake by the other teams and insert DeCastro into the starting lineup day one.

2nd Round (56): Mike Adams OT, Ohio State

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    Mike Adams was once thought to have a chance to go in the first round, however, character concerns dropped him to the end of the second round to the Steelers.

    This is a great second-round great pick because of the potential that Adams brings as a starting-caliber LT or RT.

    I am not as worried about Adams’ character baggage as some because I have faith that the Steelers coaching staff can get him to grow up and play to his talent.

3rd Round (86): Sean Spence ILB, Miami (FL)

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    I was very surprised to see the Steelers pass on NTs Alameda Ta’amu and Josh Chapman here because they hadn't addressed the position at this point in the draft.

    Then I started to look up Sean Spence and I realized that the Steelers got a guy who will be great on special teams and who could eventually start.

    Spence is smart, is a tackling machine and, if Stevenson Sylvester has a bad camp, will push for playing time this season.

4th Round (109): Alameda Ta’amu NT, Washington

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    As stated in the previous slide, I was surprised that Alameda Ta’amu was passed up by the Steelers in the 3rd round.

    I did not think he would be there when the team selected in Round 4.

    The Steelers then made sure they got Ta’amu by trading their 4th- and 6th-round picks to the Washington Redskins for the opportunity to take Ta’amu.

    Ta’amu has been my favorite NT prospect since the season has ended, and I was ecstatic to see that he is the Steelers' future at the position.

5th Round (159): Chris Rainey RB, Florida

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    If you'd read anything I’d written before the draft then you know that getting a receiver filled a bigger need then drafting a running back.

    That being said, I do not think you can really put a position on Chris Rainey because of all of the things he is going to do for the Steelers.

    Rainey can score any time he touches the ball, whether in the running game or passing game, and he is going to be a major contributor on special teams returning and covering kicks.

7th Round (231): Toney Clemons WR, Colorado

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    The Steelers are still trying to get Mike Wallace signed to a long term deal, however, they needed some depth at the position, as well.

    Even though Jerricho Cotchery re-signed with the team, that gives the Steelers only four receivers on the roster along with Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.

    There is going to be a huge battle in camp for one or two spots at the receiver position and Toney Clemons has the size and athletic ability to compete.

7th Round (240): David Paulson TE, Oregon

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    Heath Miller is maybe the most underrated TE in the NFL. Weslye Saunders is a talented young player. David Johnson has been decent at FB. And Leonard Pope was signed in the offseason.

    Looks like the position is crowded.

    However, Saunders has been suspended for the first four games of the season, Johnson has never been great as a receiver, and Pope has never had more than 25 receptions in a season.

    If David Paulson can show improvement as a blocker, I think he will have a shot to push Johnson, or at least compete for a spot on the roster while Saunders is suspended.

7th Round (246): Terrence Frederick CB, Texas A&M

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    William Gay left in free agency this offseason which leaves a roster spot open at the cornerback position.

    The Steelers already have some good young corners in Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown, so they do not really need a guy to be a major contributor right away.

    The only other corners competing for that open spot at the moment would be Antonio Smith and Walter McFadden, giving Terrence Frederick a shot to show what he has and, at the very least, help out on special teams.

7th Round (248): Kelvin Beachum G, Southern Methodist

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    Kelvin Beachum will have the hardest time making the roster in my opinion and is probably at best going to be put on the practice squad.

    The offensive line has gone from a question mark to a growing strength after taking David DeCastro and Mike Adams, and there is even a shot that the team re-signs Max Starks once he’s healthy.

    The Steelers wouldn’t have drafted Beachum if they did not see something in him so I wouldn’t completely write him off. 

    However, at this point, I just don’t see a roster spot for him, unless there is an injury.

Overall Draft Grade

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    This was an absolutely great draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    I think six of the Steelers nine draft picks have a good shot at making the team with the only exceptions being the last three guys, David Paulson, Terrence Frederick and Kelvin Beachum.  

    They immediately upgraded the offensive line with the addition of David DeCastro and Mike Adams, a future starter at OT.

    Alameda Ta’amu is the future starter at the NT position and Sean Spence will push to become a major contributor on both defense and special teams.

    Toney Clemons has good potential though he won't be asked to do much in his rookie season. Chris Rainey brings explosiveness to both the offense and the return game.

    All in all, the Steelers upgraded the team on offense, defense and special teams.

    They will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after this upcoming season.

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