Steelers 2012 Final Draft Grades

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Nine men were selected over the course of three days by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  And, though only time will tell how good this draft class will turn out, it stands with the potential of being one of the best – certainly the best in the Colbert era.  There is no doubt that these nine men have the skills – even the late rounders have beautiful intangibles – and it is now up to the coaches to groom these gentlemen into Pittsburgh Steelers.

‘Final’ is such a loose word to use so early in the new ear of Pittsburgh Steelers football.  So for the sake of this post, let’s just use the term ‘final’ with regards to how the weekend went for collecting wants, needs and potential.  Let’s give a quick breakdown of these players, grade each one, and then look to how these men will contribute come camp and beyond.

OG David DeCastro, 24th overall: The Steelers largest need coming into this draft was at guard and tackle.  DeCastro practically fell into the Steelers’ lap.  He appeared almost like an ‘Ole!’ gloved line drive where the fielder looks into his glove and has that look of, ‘Holy crap look what I found!’  Colbert later stated that the team was willing to trade up for him.  Colbert and his genius must have known (even with all that movement on the board) that no team needed the best guard available in the draft.  They just sat back and let it happen.  DeCastro will be a plug and play lineman and add much needed skill, speed and youth to the line.

Grade: A+

OT Mike Adams, 56th overall: The Steelers went back to back offensive lineman for probably the first time in the history of the NFL Draft.  It became a clear message to Steeler Nation and Big Ben that this organization fully recognizes the desperate need for a better offensive line and was willing to commit to it in this year’s draft.  We are all sleeping better for it.  Adams is a big guy coming in at 6’7″ and 323 lbs.  But, there is question to his ability to start immediately for the offense.  Worse case scenario will have Adams, Colon and possibly Starks (should the team bring Ben’s favorite guy back) duke it out over the summer for a starting role on the line.  It’s a win win all around should Colon stay healthy long enough to get through that competition.  Drug history aside, Adams appears committed to improving his character and sought out the team on his own terms prior to the draft – which I think takes guts after the news of his recreational drug use became public knowledge.

Grade: B+

LB Sean Spence, 86th overall: The Steelers moved to the defensive side of the ball with their third pick.  But, surprisingly, instead of snagging a few DT’s still left on the board, they went with a natural OLB.  ‘OLB?!’ you say?  It’s true that the ‘real’ need was at ILB with the release of James Farrior.  Spence has only played one game at ILB while at Miami.  Mayock from NFL Network said Spence is one of his favorite players (aren’t they all?) and even acknowledged that Spence would probably have to play the outside.  So what gives?  LB’s coach, Keith Butler, clarified this pick later that day by stating that Larry Foote is ‘ready’ to fill in for Farrior – at least positionally.  Timmons will stay to the inside and Spence will start by backing Timmons up and play on special teams.  Of course no defensive rookie ever has a true starting role on the Steelers roster due to the complexity of Dicky’s defensive scheme.  Spence should have plenty of time to grow into that ILB role should Timmons and Foote stay healthy long enough.  I have another theory on Spence that I will delve into later.  But I think the Steelers also picked him up for another role on the defense…. think long flowing curly locks.

Grade: B+

DT Alameda Ta’Amu, 109th overall: The Steelers made a jump at the start of the day in the 4th Round to jump 10 spots in order to nab this beast of a nose tackle.  It was a necessary move, and they only gave their 6th Rounder for it.  The team could not afford to wait out like they did with DeCastro in the 1st round.  There were only a few left on the board worth any value, and Colbert recognized Ta’Amu’s full potential to be the cookie cut replacement for injured and aging Casey ‘Big Snack’ Hampton.  Should Hampton not be ready to play at the start of the season, Ta’Amu will fill an immediate need without the defensive line having to do any more shuffling than they already have to do with Hoke retiring and Smith being released.  He was a favorite for our draft guru’s, Dom and Jeff, and I like this pick a lot as well.  He will become another NT that won’t garner a ton of stats, but will simply eat two blockers off the line to make lanes for our blitzing LB’s and Safeties.

Grade: A

The rest of the picks on the next page.