Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Delay on today’s picks

April 28, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

I apologize in advance, but I have a personal commitment this afternoon that I can’t get out of.  So I won’t be able to write about the Steelers’ 4th through 7th round picks until late this afternoon when I return home.

I’ll begin writing my recaps of the picks as quickly as possible, but I won’t be able to start until around 6:30 p.m. ET.

Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience.

Steelers select LB Sean Spence in 3rd round

April 27, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

With the 86th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Miami (Fla) linebacker Sean Spence.

Some analyst were probably surprised by this pick.  Spence was an incredibly productive linebacker at Miami, but at only 5’11″ and 231 lbs, he’s thought to be undersized for an NFL linebacker.

Despite the questions about his size, Spence is one of the fastest and most instinctual linebackers in this year’s draft.  In fact, it’s probably fair to say that he reads plays better than any other linebacker in this year’s draft.  He’s great at anticipating snap counts, and he always gets a good jump on plays.  He does a good job in coverage, and will be an asset covering tight ends.

Sean Spence

Spence was a 4 year starter at Miami, and he had over 100 tackles in both 2010 and 2011.  31 of those were tackles for a loss.

Spence was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year as a freshman.  He made first-team All-ACC as a senior, and he was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award.  He was Miami’s Most Valuable Player in 2010, and he was voted the team’s Defensive Outstanding Player in 2011.  He was also a team captain.  That’s not too bad for a guy who isn’t even 6′ tall.

Because of his size, he’ll definitely have to play on the weak side.  But I can also see him playing an important role against teams like the New England Patriots who utilize 2 tight ends.  He’ll have no problem covering a tight end, although he will be at a disadvantage from a height perspective.

Spence was known for being a hard hitter in college, but at only 228 lbs, that may not be the case in the NFL.  However, Ryan Clark only weighs 205 lbs., and he’s a notoriously hard hitter.

Because he’s fast and has great instincts, I also expect him to have an immediate impact on special teams.

I’m not as excited about this pick as I was about the Steelers’ first two selections.  But I can definitely see some situations where Dick LeBeau could make use of Sean Spence’s skills.  He’d be great in nickel situations, and I could even see him playing safety based on his skills (though he never played the position in college).

Steelers select Mike Adams in 2nd round

April 27, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

The Pittsburgh Steelers continued to improve their offensive line by selecting Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

From a need standpoint, the pick made sense.  However, I was still surprised to here Adams’ name announced by the Steelers.

From a talent standpoint, most experts viewed Mike Adams as a 1st round pick.  But from a character standpoint, it was an entirely different picture.  That’s why this pick surprised me.

The Steelers typically give character more weight than other teams do when they evaluate players.  And Mike Adams brings serious character questions to the team.

Adams was one of the five Ohio State players who were suspended for the first 5 games of the 2011 season for selling his Big Ten championship ring.  He also tested positive for marijuana several times while at Ohio State.  To make matters even worse, he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine.  How stupid was that??!!!

After dealing with Santonio Holmes, I assumed that the Steelers would shy away from a player with a reputation for being a marijuana smoker.  But apparently Adams’ talent was too good to pass over.

Mike Adams

Adams is a huge kid.  He stands 6’7″, and weighs 323 lbs.  Moreover, he played against very respectable talent in the Big 10.

Adams was generally considered to be one of the top 5 offensive tackles in this years draft.  He’s a solid blocker who was well-coached at Ohio State.  He excels at pulling and trapping.  He’s athletic enough to stay with speed rushers, and big enough to handle bull rushers.  In every way, he looks the part of an NFL offensive tackle.

But despite his physical characteristics, Adams sometimes plays soft.  He lacks the nasty temperament that you’d like to see out of your offensive linemen.  His motivation and work ethic have been questioned in the past.  So the Steelers will have to make sure that they surround him with veteran players who will motivate and guide him, and ultimately turn him into a Steelers-type player.

Other Steelers selections

To read about the Steelers’ 1st round pick, click here.

Why DeCastro was a great pick for the Steelers

April 27, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

When I woke up this morning, I ran to my computer to confirm that the Steelers had actually taken David DeCastro with the 24th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  I just couldn’t be sure that I hadn’t dreamed it.  After all, nobody thought that a player of DeCastro’s talent could possibly fall all the way to the Steelers at #24.

So when I logged onto my computer and read the headlines, I was relieved to find that it wasn’t a dream.  The Steelers had actually taken DeCastro.

Unfortunately, I also saw lots of comments from Steelers fans criticizing the pick.  Some of the complaints that I heard were, “They should have taken a cornerback”, or “Hightower would have been a better pick”, or “Zeitler is a better fit”, or “We needed a nose tackle more than we needed a guard”.

I usually try not to argue with fans, but in this case, I feel that I have to.  David DeCastro was the best selection that the Steelers could have made.  Nobody else was even close.

“They should have taken a cornerback”

For those of you who think that the Steelers should have taken a cornerback, I challenge you to name a cornerback who was available who is a better player than DeCastro.  Many believe that DeCastro is the best guard to come out of college since Steve Hutchinson.  Morris Claiborne was the only cornerback who was thought to be a definite 1st round talent, and he was long gone.  Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick were also off the board.  So were the Steelers supposed to reach and take a 2nd or 3rd round talent in the 1st round simply to get a cornerback?  I don’t think so.  The Steelers will probably take a CB in this draft.  But they won’t reach for him.

“Hightower would have been a better pick”

When the Steelers pick came up, they had their choice between David DeCastro and Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower.  And they chose DeCastro.  So that says a lot about how the team graded the two players.  Hightower was selected by the New England Patriots on the very next pick.  Hightower is a very good player.  But DeCastro is a better player who fills a more important need.

“Zeitler is a better fit”

What????!!!!  This comment is so stupid that I’m tempted to ignore it completely.  DeCastro is a better run blocker.  DeCastro is a better pass blocker.  DeCastro is better at running pulls and traps.  He’s better in every way.  NOBODY had Zeitler rated higher than DeCastro.  Picking Zeitler ahead of DeCastro would have been like selecting Batman ahead of Superman if you were starting a super hero team.  Only an idiot would take Batman before Superman.  But it would take an even bigger idiot to take Zeitler before DeCastro.

“We needed a nose tackle more than we needed a guard”.

We definitely need a nose tackle.  There’s no doubt about it.  In fact, nose tackle is the only position that even comes close to guard in terms of the team’s needs.  But there were no 1st round talents at nose tackle in this year’s draft.  Dontari Poe is a workout wonder who didn’t show 1st round talent in actual football games.  And all of the other nose tackles in this year’s draft are 2nd or 3rd round talents at best.  So should the Steelers have reached for a player in the 1st round that they could probably get in the 2nd round?

I won’t be surprised if the Steelers take a player like Alemeda Ta’amu in the 2nd round.  After all, they do need a nose tackle.  But if a better player is available who plays a different position, then I expect the Steelers to pick the better player.

The Steelers have always followed a philosophy of taking the best player available, regardless of what position he plays.  That philosophy has served them well over the years.  And they have six Lombardi Trophies to prove it.

Steelers draft Stanford guard David DeCastro

April 27, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

The Steelers don’t usually draft for need.  Instead, they take the best player available.  But in this particular instance, the best player available also happened to fill their greatest need.

I wrote here that the Steelers top need in this year’s draft was a guard.  I said that it was more important than drafting a nose tackle, inside linebacker, or any other position.  So you can imagine how happy I was to see David DeCastro, the unanimous pick as the top interior lineman in this year’s draft, still sitting there when the 24th pick came up?

DeCastro was the starting right guard for Stanford University.  He’s 6’5″, 316 lbs., and was best known for keeping this year’s #1 pick Andrew Luck’s jersey clean.  Now he’ll get the opportunity to do the same thing for Ben Roethlisberger.

David DeCastro

DeCastro was a three year starter for Stanford after being redshirted his freshman year.  He started every game during his 3-year college career, so there are no durability issues with DeCastro.  He was voted 1st team All-American, and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy (but lost to Alabama’s Barrett Jones) following his junior season.  He bypassed his senior season to enter the draft.

Most experts predicted that DeCastro would be selected within the top 15 spots in the draft.  The Steelers barely considered him, since they were certain that there was no way that he would be available to them at #24.

“We really didn’t think David would be there at 24 quite honestly,” said Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert. “We valued him that high. We said there were a few special players in this draft, and he was one of them.”

DeCastro is viewed as one of the best guards to come along in the past decade.  What makes him unique is that he’s a hybrid.  Offensive guards typically fall into one of two camps.  There are the “road graders”, who are big burly guys who excel primarily in run blocking (think Chris Kemoeatu).  And then there are the finesse guys who aren’t as big and strong as the road graders, but who are better at pass blocking and getting out on pulls and traps (think Alan Faneca).  But DeCastro is a combination of the two.  He may be the best run blocker in the draft.  But he’s also the best at pulling and trapping.  That’s why he’s often compared to legendary guard Steve Hutchinson.

“When you watch this team (Stanford) run the football, 80 percent of the time David DeCastro was leading the way,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Stanford played a pro style offense, so DeCastro should be well prepared for the NFL.  While he played right guard exclusively at Stanford, the Steelers think that he could play either left or right guard.

The Steelers selected offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert in the 2nd round last year, and they took center Maurkice Pouncey in the 1st round the year before.  So DeCastro is a continuation of the team’s concerted effort to upgrade their offensive line.

I never thought I’d be so happy to see the Steelers draft a guard.  But then again, I didn’t think David DeCastro would be available at pick #24.

Go Steelers!