I always find it interesting when a team just laughs its way to the podium on draft day. I mean I think teams like the Steelers just don’t know what to do with themselves when their pick comes up, they have a plan in place, and they just throw it out the window and take the best player available on the board.
Anyway, let’s get to the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Grade.
We obviously start with the steal of the draft, David DeCastro falling all the way to the 24th pick. The Steelers have need all along their offensive line and there were whispers that maybe they would bypass Dont’a Hightower and take an offensive lineman like Jonathan Martin or Mike Adams, we’ll get to that.
Meanwhile DeCastro is the best guard in the class, is a natural plug and play guard, who can pull, kick out and down block on any defender at any level.
Strong in pass protection, with great footwork and pass off skills. Diagnoses the blitz and picks it up with relative ease.
Not a mauler, and more of a technician, which is his one draw back.
I mentioned Mike Adams earlier, and while he may be a moron, seriously you know you are about to have a drug test… STOP SMOKING WEED!!!
Adams has elite feet movement, the big, long framed body you look for in a left tackle. He isn’t overly strong, but knows how to wall of blockers in the run game and gets himself in position on most of his blocks.
He isn’t the strongest guy in the world, and can get lazy, but playing for the Steelers, he may get kicked in the ass enough not to fall into his normal lull.
As an aside, the Steelers with these picks are saying to Ben Roethlisberger, we are going to throw the ball a hell of a lot, and we are going to give you some actual time to throw the ball and try to keep you upright and healthy this year.
It was interesting that the Steelers were basically penciled in to take Hightower and then were able to take a superior talent that addressed a bigger need within their team dynamic.
That meant they still had to address that pesky inside linebacking position, and they did so with one of the most exciting, yet frustrating linebackers in the draft Sean Spence.
While Spence is undersized, he is one of the best read and react, instinctive linebackers in the draft and he is highly athletic with explosive movement to match.
There is some concerned he may be to small to play inside in the 34, but I see him being a natural fit at the weak inside linebacker position. He has good closing speed on plays and is a sure takcler when he gets there. Is a smart, vocal player with great leadership ability and has a head for the game.
Has good coverage ability, and should be able to make it in either a zone or man concept.
Every once in a while he shies away from contact and can go around blockers as opposed to taking them on, reading and shedding the block to get to the play. Isn’t overly strong and it is a concern whether he can hold up over 16 games plus the playoffs.
The biggest hit in this draft easily came in round 4, when the Steelers were able to procure their future nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu.
Ta’amu is a massive, strong man, who while big, doesn’t look overly soft, and backs up that size with great get off on the snap of the ball.
Is a one gap player who engages well and gets under his blockers pad level, but can’t redirect quickly and doesn’t have elite closing speed, even though he won’t stop til he gets there.
Then in round 5 we saw the Steelers get Big Ben his Darren Sproles in Chris Rainey.
Rainey is an undersized scat back that can do a lot of different things, but isn’t big enough to do them all game long.
He looks to be a great weapon as a versatile Darren Sproles type, with dynamic speed that won’t be matched by many when he is on the field.
Rainey’s biggest strength is obviously his world class speed, and he needs to be utilized the right way to for the Steelers to take advantage of it.
The Steelers rounded out a very impressive draft with four seventh round picks in Tony Clemons, David Paulson, Terrence Frederick and Kelvin Beachum.
It may not be any names you know outside of Paulson, but they all have the ability to make the team, especially Paulson and Clemons, who offer special team potential while Frederick and Beachum will have to quickly flash ability to stay on the roster at loaded positions.
Overall: The Steelers ended up having maybe the best draft out of any team, simply because they were able to fill 4 positions of need, didn’t reach for any of the players, and only made one trade in order to move up to take one of the top players still available in Ta’amu.
It was an unbelievable haul, and definitely a GREAT draft.