2012 NFL Draft - Pittsburgh Steelers

Posted Apr 28, 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers - AFC North, 2012 Draft Selections & Prospects


Pittsburgh Steelers

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2012 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay   

- 2011 Pittsburgh Draft Breakdown
- 2010 Pittsburgh Draft Breakdown

The Draft Was ... a typical Pittsburgh draft, taking the right players at the right time. Someone should be investigated for letting the Steelers improve their line instantly by stealing David DeCastro with the 24th overall pick, while OT Mike Adams was a terrific chance to take late in the second round. RB Chris Rainey should be a speedy playmaker in several ways, while fourth round DT pick Alameda Ta'amu should be a fixture in the interior.
Best Value Pick: OG David DeCastro, Stanford, 1st round
Worst Value Pick: LB Sean Spence, Miami, 3rd round
They Should've ... Spence wasn't a bad pick in the third, but there several other players still on the board who could've fit. The D line was addressed with Ta'amu, but Brandon Thompson would've been a great pick in the third to help out with the interior. Instead he went to Cincinnati.
Division Draft Ranking: 3
Overall Draft Ranking: 6

First Round

OG David DeCastro, Stanford (Jr.) 6-5, 316
Overall Pick No. 24 CFN Overall Ranking: 2
CFN Analysis: This is why the Pittsburgh Steelers are the Pittsburgh Steelers. The offensive line fell off the map last year with Ben Roethlisberger getting whacked around, so what does Pittsburgh do? It gets the sure-thing guard to plug-and-play from Day One. DeCastro is the perfect fit for the perfect team for him, and when all is said and done, this could go down as the best value pick of the draft.

Possibly the safest offensive lineman in the draft, he's a dominant force and a pounder of a run blocker who was one of the key parts to the Stanford offensive machine. No, he's not a tackle, and yes, no one drafts guards high, but he's worth the price and can't be overdrafted if he falls outside of the top ten. Consider it a complete and total stunner if he's not a ten-year starter at the highest of levels, and be floored if he's not a perennial Pro Bowl performer. A dominant force, there are few weaknesses. Ready out of the box, his technique and feet are nearly flawless and he knows how to both pass protect and run block equally well. Athletic, smart, and with the right attitude, it's all there to be dominant for a long, long time. Fine, so he'll play a relatively light 315 pounds, and he's a bit more of a finesse blocker than a throw-you-in-the-fifth-row type of blow-up hitter, but this is a special prospect who'll make some quarterback very, very happy.
CFN Projection: First Round

Second Round

OT Mike Adams, Ohio State 6-7, 323
Overall Pick No. 56 CFN Overall Ranking: 45
CFN Analysis: The Steelers went with the rock-solid lock of a guard in David DeCastro in the first round, and then they went with the shoot-for-the-stars pick in Adams. There are character issues that go against everything the franchise usually believes in when it comes to draft picks, but with his size and with his potential to be a big help for a line that got Ben Roethlisberger blasted, this was a risk worth taking.

Every NFL offensive tackle prospect is big, but Adams just looks really, REALLY big. He stands out size-wise on a tape, and then he showed up at the Senior Bowl and was just bigger-looking than everyone else. With his long frame he takes two hours to get around and he uses his arms and size extremely well. Not lumbering for his size, he moves well and can handle speed rushers and bull rushers alike. The problem, though, is his size can be a negative when it comes to getting too high. He never seems to be able to get the right leverage as a run blocker and he doesn't blast his man off the ball. Throw in the lightweight 19 reps on the bench at the Combine along with his reported immaturity and lack of fire, and there are major warning signs. Even so, the size is rare and the potential is there if he gets a coach willing to keep the heat on.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Third Round

OLB Sean Spence, Miami 5-11, 228
Overall Pick No. 86 CFN Overall Ranking: 91
CFN Analysis: The Steelers got another defensive playmaker who makes things happen. He might be a little smaller than the D needs, and going after bulk and a defensive tackle is still a must, but Spence should add some flash on the inside. He won't be a star, but he should be a key contributor.

Spence simply isn't big enough or strong enough. He's not going to get any bigger with around 230 pounds his max, and the 12 reps at the Combine were inexcusable. However, he's a phenomenal football player who owns a locker room and will do whatever it takes to make a tackle. As tough and as intense as they come, he hits everything that moves and could be a top statistical producer in the right system. Unfortunately, he just doesn't have the tools. Along with the lack of bulk he's simply too slow, but he makes up for it by being smarter than everyone else on the field. He's too good not to find a home or a niche, but he's going to take a pounding for his style of play.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

Fourth Round

DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington 6-3, 348
Overall Pick No. 109 CFN Overall Ranking: 85
Massive, he's a huge-bodied interior presence who managed to get in decent shape but stayed large. A leader and a huge character guy, he's an anchor who can fight through a line like a wrecking ball. While it's a bit of a stretch to call him an interior pass rusher, he's able to make things happen in the backfield even though he's glacier-slow. The key will be his weight – he could pack on bad weight in a huge hurry if he's not careful. Purely a nose tackle, he could be a nice value pick in a deep class of tackles if he can become best friends with the strength and conditioning coach. However, he became committed as his career went on and he appears to have the drive needed.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Fifth Round

RB Chris Rainey, Florida 5-8, 180
Overall Pick No. 159 CFN Overall Ranking: 161
With extreme speed and NFL offensive coordinator should be able to do more with Rainey than several Florida coaches could. The quickest back at the Combine, he destroyed the short drills and blazed a sub-4.4 in a pro day workout showing off why he could be an elite return man. While he's a running back, he can easily be converted into a third down specialist or a receiver with the hands and the skills to make big things happen whenever he has a chance. But can he actually play? A mega-disappointment as a Gator considering his skills and his prep hype, there was always something missing from his game. There was always an injury of some sort and the production was merely average, but his rare tools could make him a great mid-round value pick.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round  

Seventh Round

TE David Paulson, Oregon 6-3, 246
Overall Pick No. 240  CFN Overall Ranking: 199
A good receiver who flew under the radar in the high-octane Duck attack, he's a good receiver who attacks the ball and will go and get anything in his general area. Tough, smart, and the type of football player every coach wants to have, he'll make it really hard to get cut. However, he's not the best athlete, isn't much of a power blocker, and he doesn't have any elite NFL skills. He can't be a No. 1 target and might have to find a role on special teams early on, but he's a good enough football player to force himself into a role.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

Seventh Round

WR Toney Clemons, Colorado
Overall Pick No. 231   CFN Overall Rank: Unranked
CFN Projection: Free Agent

Seventh Round

CB Terrence Frederick, Texas A&M
Overall Pick No. 246   CFN Overall Rank: Unranked
CFN Projection: Free Agent

Seventh Round

OG Kevin Beachum, SMU
Overall Pick No. 248   CFN Overall Rank: Unranked
CFN Projection: Free Agent