Armchair GM – Steelers 2012 Draft Analysis
The 2012 Draft
Well the draft is now in the books. Some random thoughts about the draft in general: The draft is like watching three Academy Awards ceremonies in three consecutive days. It gets a little emotionally exhausting. It’s also similar to Jerry Lewis’ Marathon. I really felt for the guys announcing because they took their jackets off on the third day and they were obviously told to put them back on, because after a commercial break they came back with them on again. The NFL needs to lighten up, take it easy, try not to be a prick all the time.
I’ve never seen any players that were drafted in the 1st Rd that looked as depressed as WR Justin Blackmon (Jaguars) and Stephon Gilmore (Bills). They really looked like they wanted to cry.
The Steelers Draft Grades
Okay, when the Steelers want to give you something to write about they really give you some things to write about. This was one heck of a draft with plenty of surprises, let’s break it down pick by pick.
Rd 1 – OG David DeCastro Stanford – I had OT Jonathan Martin here because I thought there was no chance DeCastro would be there at 24th. We get a plug and play guy at Left Guard with the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler. He’s solid in pulling, gets to the second level and knocks people down. In pass blocking he was rarely out of position and would get an arm on a guy if the opposition was stunting. DeCastro could add years to C Maurkice Pouncey’s career, as Pouncey has had to block for two, being flanked by the atrocious Chris Kemoeatu for his entire career. The NFL Network’s Charley Casserly declared him more pro ready than Alan Faneca and I agree. Grade A+
Rd 2 – OT Mike Adams The Ohio State University – I just about went through the roof when this pick was called. Two O-line picks in row? What are they trying to do? Protect their bruised battered and beaten franchise QB? Adam has some marks against him for stupid NCAA crap, having been named in the memorabilia for tattoos ‘scandal’ and not having drug paraphernalia after running a stop sign. (No kidding) A life long Steelers fan the only thing I could accuse him of is doing stupid stuff when he was in college, wow, I never did that… Adams is 6’–7”, athletic and can immediately anchor the RT position and maybe move to LT after a season. Grade A+
Giving credit where credit is due. Mike Tomlin in a post draft interview said it was new OC Todd Haley’s influence that led them to make these draft decisions. Big Ben has been very stoic about the beating he’s taken his entire career, but I can’t help but think Haley’s now Big Ben’s new BFF.
Rd 3 – OLB Sean Spence Miami – Okay, since LB picks are the Steelers version of crack cocaine, this was bound to happen. There were plenty of good CB’s on the board; instead the Steelers draft an Elvis Dumervil-like prospect. 111 tackles in 2011 and 47 tackles for loss in his career. Thus yet another OLB to add to Dick Lebeau’s harem. Grade B
Rd 4 – NT Alameda Ta’amu Washington – This got me to jump up from the couch and yell, Yes! Hell Yes! We managed to get Ta’amu even though he was projected to go earlier. A big 348 lb run stuffer that can come in while Casey Hampton is recovering from his ACL. He can sit a season once Casey comes back and has strong potential to take over the job once Casey calls it quits. Grade A
Rd 5 – RB/WR/KR/ST Chris Rainey Miami – Again DB’s were available and I would have preferred that, but Rainey is the little agile and speedy guy the Steelers have been looking for a while. Some off-the-field issues. A Reggie Bush style guy that brings scoots and can swing out to the slot and return kicks. A gunner on special teams with 8 blocked kicks. Grade B-
Rd 6 – Traded to move up from 119 to 109 to get Ta’amu. I would have pushed for one or two of the four 7th Rd draft picks we had. Grade B-
Rd 7 – WR Toney Clemons Colorado – Okay, I was really mystified by this point. The Steelers must have a butt load of confidence in CB’s Keenan Lewis, Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen to ignore this position of need this long. Speedy 4.40 forty, Big 6’-2, 210, Clemons may surprise. Grade C-
Rd 7 – TE David Paulson Oregon – A sure handed gap finder much in the mold of Heath Miller, he has the potential to be a serviceable backup. Grade C
Rd 7 – CB Terrence Frederick Texas A&M – A nickel back to cover the slot. 57 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 interception and 9 passes broken up in 2011. Finally a little help in a position that should have been addressed way earlier. Grade C+
Rd 7 – OT Kelvin Beachum Southern Methodist – Starting LT for SMU some more potential competition in the OL depth chart. Grade B
Overall Draft grade
When I do these things I’m not only doing a little player evaluation I’m also evaluating the draft choices the team is making. They zigged when I would have zagged especially in the later rounds, but their first two picks were spot on. We go from ‘Worst to First’ with a solid line up of LT Marcus Gilbert, LG David DeCastro, C Maurkice Pouncey, either Ramon Foster or Willie Colon at RG and RT Mike Adams. This song goes out to them. “Solid as a Rock“, and getting a new NT was fantastic. I have no choice but to evaluate the draft as: Grade A
College Free Agents:
P/PK – Drew Butler Georgia – 44.5 yd punt avg. Competition at Punter position.
CB – Terry Carter La. Tech – Nickel Back type. Who knows?
WR/QB/Athlete – Connor Dixon Duquesne – Tall Slash possibility.
S – Robert Golden Arizona – 60 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 1 int and 12 passes broke up.
DE – Ikponmwosa Igbinosun Southern Connecticut St. – 2 Unpronounceable names.
C/G – Ryan Lee Furman – 40 225 lb bench presses. Who knows?
LB – Brandon Lindsey Pitt – More of a 4-3 guy than 3-4 guy. I don’t know
WR/RB/KR – Marquis Maze Alabama – Similar to Rainey.
K – Grant Ressel Missouri – 43 for 46 on FG’s before having a bad Senior year.
LB – Adrian Robinson Temple – Might make the team or practice squad.
OT – Desmond Stapleton Rutgers – El Stinko, El Floppo..
DE – Jake Stoller Yale – 30 225 bench presses. Drinks tea with pinky extended.
I’m looking forward to finding out what Big Ben will do when he doesn’t have to run for his life.