The Steelers had nine great selections at the 2012 NFL Draft in New York City this weekend. While I saw some in Steeler Nation lament that there was no shut down corner drafted, the bigger holes have been filled. Most notably, the offensive line which should be great for the next decade with the additions of David Decastro, Mike Adams and Kevin Beachum who will join Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert to protect Ben – all of them under the age of 25. The Steelers O-Line has been a hodge podge of players since Alan Faneca went to the Jets in 2008 and riddled with injury and players out of position to fill the gaps. With these big guys – all of them well over 300 pounds – the O-line should be solid giving Ben time to throw, the RBs gaps to shoot through and making the offense just that much better. Even with all the injuries and people playing out of position, the Steelers still have been competitive, these moves just make the team even more competitive.
Also a point of contention is the “aging defense” as Warren Sapp would say. I am not sure where that came from since Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward played a lot last year and they are young. Regardless, the Steelers also added a defensive tackle and a linebacker. The Steelers selected Sean Spence in the 3rd round and played linebacker at Miami, for now, he’ll have some seasoned defenders to learn LeBeau’s complex system. And the Steelers moved up in the Draft to grab DT Alameda Ta’amu from Washington. At this point, there’s nothing old about the defense – not that I agreed with that statement last year either. Sure, there were starters over 30, but that didn’t mean they played old and beyond that, there were young players on the sidelines learning the defense.
In the 5th round, the Steelers grabbed another Florida guy, RB Chris Rainey. At this point, is it safe to say that the Steelers like those Florida guys? That makes how many on the offense now? I think I count at least 5 – and that’s just off the top of my head.
The final round of the draft brought a WR, a TE and that elusive CB. I heard some complaints about not drafting a CB earlier in the rounds but the roster has 3 already and with the other holes that we needed to fill, I think the Steelers played the draft card exactly right. They key is that Ben is protected and the defensive line stay tough. The CBs on the roster can at least play at an average level. At least. And hopefully someone surprises us.
Looking across the AFCN, the Ravens also had a decent draft. The Bengals and the Browns had a few more holes to fill and we’ll see what happens as the season gets closer. It was a great time to be in New York City and see the draft close up in person.
(sorry this post is late, I had a little more fun in NYC than I thought and it caught up to me this week )