The draft has undoubtedly been the biggest contributor to the Steelers’ struggles the past few years. The 2012 NFL draft perfectly represents the failure of the front office to construct a solid draft class. When the draft came to a close in 2012 I had high hopes for this class, those hopes have been soiled for almost half of the class.
Round 1: Pick 24: David DeCastro-OG-Stanford
Original Grade: A+
It was hard to argue with the pick when the Steelers took the opportunity to jump on DeCastro after he fell to 24. He was a projected top 15 and maybe even top 10 pick that had no chance to fall to the Steelers. Even the most optimistic of Steelers fans didn’t think that DeCastro would be available in their wildest dreams. After two years the pick doesn’t seem like as much of a success as it was originally perceived to be. Don’t get me wrong, DeCastro still has every opportunity to be an outstanding guard in the NFL. After he missed most of his rookie season with torn knee ligaments, however, he seems like less of a sure thing. He did rebound this past year and will have to continue that improvement if he hopes to live up to expectations.
Round 2: Pick 56: Mike Adams-OT-Ohio State
Original Grade: B+
Back in 2012 when this pick was made the only thing that separated Mike Adams and the first round was a bust for marijuana possession. In 2014 there seems to be much more separating him from greatness, or even average-ness. Adams was seen as a sure thing for a second round pick, but he hasn’t come close to living up to those expectations. A duo of Adams and DeCastro brought hope to Steelers’ fans everywhere that the offensive line would no longer be a serious ailment. Now we can only hope that he can develop into a low end starter. Oh how things have changed.
Round 3: Pick 86: Sean Spence-LB-Miami
Original Grade: B
It isn’t entirely Spence’s fault that he received such a down grade after his second year. He has missed pretty much all of his time as a pro with multiple injuries. First a devastating knee injury as a rookie, and then a broken arm in his sophomore year. If he had stayed healthy I firmly believe that he could have been making a major impact on this defense. If all turns out well he could begin the road to contributing this year. Barring another injury Spence could rebound into a nice career. As of now, however, the jury is still out.
Round 4: Pick 109 (f/WAS): Alameda Ta’amu-DT-Washington
Original Grade: A-
I’m not going to lie, I loved the Ta’amu pick when it was called out. I had an early 3rd round grade on him and we got him in the fourth. What better can you ask for right? Not so much. Ta’amu never caught on with the Steelers and now he isn’t even on the team. He did follow Bruce Arians to Arizona, however, so I guess this pick could kind of be considered a win for him.
Round 5: Pick 159: Chris Rainey-RB-Florida
Originial Grade: B
I legitimately though that Rainey would provide a much needed spark to the Steelers’ offense and special teams as a rookie. Not only did he not do that, he didn’t even stick around to provide his services later in his career. He instead decided to get in legal trouble which immediately saw him cut from the team. He probably wasn’t going to contribute in many ways anyway.
Round 7: Pick 231: Toney Clemons-WR-Colorado
Original Grade: C-
There is a resounding theme that radiates throughout the Steelers’ 2012 draft class. Four of the nine picks aren’t even on the roster anymore. I wasn’t hugely familiar with Clemons coming into the draft and he hasn’t given me any reason to become familiar with him, as he is also off the team only two years removed from his selection.
Round 7: Pick 240 (Comp): David Paulson-TE-Oregon
Original Grade: C+
I liked David Paulson coming out, but I didn’t think he was a good fit for the Steelers offense. He isn’t the traditional type of tight end that the Steelers like to use in their offense. He hasn’t contributed very much in his first two seasons but he has done about as much as you can expect from a seventh round pick, which earns him an average grade here.
Round 7: Pick 246 (Comp): Terrence Frederick-CB-Texas A&M
Original Grade: C
Frederick is another player that I wasn’t hugely familiar with coming into the draft, two years later he also hasn’t given me a reason to become familiar with him. Sensing a pattern yet?
Round 7: Pick 248 (Comp): Kelvin Beachum-OT-Southern Methodist
Original Grade: B-
It may seem like I’m altering my opinion after the fact with this one, but I was a pretty big fan of Beachum’s coming into the draft. I had a late fifth round grade on him, only as a guard not a tackle. Two years after his selection he hasn’t disappointed me. The reason that I gave him an A+ isn’t because he has been the best player to come from the Steelers’ 2012 class, although he isn’t far off, it’s because for a seventh round pick Beachum has done everything that could have ever been asked as him. He has been criticized since he first stepped on the field as the Steelers’ starting left tackle for not fitting the physical profile, but he doesn’t care. He goes out and does his job. He is probably the left tackle of the future in Pittsburgh and I have no complaints. He’s done a pretty good job so far.
What do you think Steelers Nation? How would you re-grade the 2012 draft class?