Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 NFL Draft Review

David DeCastro

It is better to be lucky than good, but it’s even better to be both lucky and good. The Steelers, under General Manager Kevin Colbert, believe that the more prepared you are the luckier you get. Whatever slogan you want to use to describe the Pittsburgh draft, you are most likely correct. The offensive line was a position of need and the top guard prospect in 11 years, David DeCastro, landed in the Steel City. An offensive tackle to play opposite last year’s second round pick Marcus Gilbert would be nice. Voila – projected first round talent Mike Adams is added with the 56th overall selection. At nose tackle, Casey Hampton is coming off a playoff injury and his best days are behind him. No problem – the best nose tackle in the draft, Alameda Ta’amu was available in the fourth round. The Steelers don’t rebuild, they reload. David DeCastro, as with all the other Stanford rookies, was unable to practice until his class graduated according to NFL rules. There is no question that the most dominant guard in the 2012 draft will lock into the right guard position. There was a consensus among scouts that he is everything you want in a guard – smart, tough, and wants to physically own his opponent. He has an explosive impact at the point of attack when pulling. Smart, talented, and intense, he plays with a low pad level. Mike Adams is projected to start at left tackle heading into the fall. He has first round ability with his size and talent. Physical and athletic in his play, he has good knee bend, balance, and a shoulder width base to anchor a bull rush. He needs to get stronger, but has the frame to gain more good weight. He has long arms and catcher’s mitt-sized hands. If he stays focused, he can play a long time. Sean Spence was a four year starter for the Hurricanes and demonstrates excellent instincts to read and react. He has good knee bend when attacking blocks and is explosive and quick with his hands and sudden to shed. He gets through the traffic extremely well and does a good job avoiding blocks without getting off track. Size may be a limiting factor and he must rely on quickness and technique. Alameda Ta’amu can’t be single blocked. He is very athletic for his size. Over his college career he started 42 of 50 games for the Huskies. A space eater and grass grabber, he plays square. He possesses the size, strength, temperament, and toughness to play a two gap nose tackle. Ta’amu has excellent interior instincts to feel the blocking schemes. With a thick butt and thighs he has good functional strength at the point of attack. Chris Rainey is a talented, athletic, and speedy utility back who can line up in the slot, outside, or in the backfield to take advantage of matchups. Quick and sudden out of his breaks, he is a space type player that Haley will use like he did Dexter McCluster. A perimeter player, he brings explosive speed and quick feet to the table. Toney Clemons is a big possession receiver who will be a between the hashes type receiver. At his pro day he vertical jumped 36 inches, had a 10-8 broad jump, and ran a 4.41/40. He transferred to Colorado from Michigan, then led the Buffs in receiving yards with 680 and catches with 44 grabs. David Paulson was drafted because of the versatility he showed at Oregon as a slot, tight end, or fullback. A screen off type blocker, he is smart, tough, and has good hands. Instinctive with good field awareness, he is a complementary pass catching tight end that must make the roster on his special teams’ play. Terrence Frederick is an athletic corner with loose hips in transition. He has quick feet and good leaping ability along with hip flexibility and change of direction. He has good hand and ball skills but will need pro physical and position skill development. At A&M he was a gunner on the punt coverage team. Kelvin Beachum started four years at left tackle in a run and shoot system where he played in a two point stance. He projects inside at guard. He works to sustain in pass protection and has better than average feet and balance. A developmental prospect, he will need to be schooled in technique as both an NFL run blocker and pass protector. GRADE: VERY GOOD.

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