Looking at the Steelers 2012 draft through a glass half full and one half empty:
RD1 (24th overall), David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Optimist says: Technically sound and absurdly physical, DeCastro becomes a 10-year starter in the mold of Alan Faneca or Steve Hutchinson.
Pessimist says: The Steelers have won Super Bowls with a patchwork offensive line in the past, while DeCastro helps, the ongoing lack of playmaking defenders keeps Pittsburgh from getting back to the big game.
RD2 (56th overall), Mike Adams, LT, Ohio State
Optimist says: You don’t usually find franchise left tackles anywhere outside the top 15 picks, but the bizarre circumstances that brought Adams to Pittsburgh finally solve the Steelers longest-standing problem.
Pessimist says: Steelers pay dearly for un-Steelerslike pick as Adams washes out and the dreaded game of musical tackles continue to haunt Pittsburgh.
RD3 (86th overall), Sean Spence, LB, Miami
Optimist says: Spence proves that evaluating talent based on college performance is so much better than weighing measurable as he becomes a solid, sideline-to-sideline performer and eventually unseats underachieving top 15 pick Lawrence Timmons.
Pessimist says: Spence is never able to put enough weight on his small frame and is overwhelmed by blocking fullbacks and tight ends, remaining a backup throughout his short career.
RD4 (109th overall), Alameda Ta’amu, NT, Washginton
Optimist says: Ta’amu becomes the immovable center point for the next generation Steele Curtain defense and makes a mint selling black and gold killer whale merchandise. (Is Shamu trademarked? We’re sure it is.)
Pessimist says: Ta’amu can’t keep his weight down and becomes an adequate gap stuffer but nothing more.
RD5 (159th overall), Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
Optimist says: Todd Haley finds a number of ways to utilize Rainey’s straight-line speed in a rejuvenated screen game with Rainey working both out of the backfield and in the slot.
Pessimist says: Rainey’s track speed doesn’t translate to the NFL and his small frame precludes him from making an impact any other way.
RD7 (231st, 240th, 246th, 248th overall, Toney Clemons, David Paulson, Terrence Frederick, Kelvin Beachum, WR, TE, CB, G-T, Colorado, Oregon, Texas A&M, SMU
Optimist says: Clemons and Paulson are 7th-round sleepers in a lot of evaluators eyes, guys who could become solid NFL players in the vein of Antonio Brown (6th round) or Brett Kiesel (7th round) before them.
Pessimist says: By sticking with BCS-school prospects in these late rounds, you’re ensuring you’ll have competent bodies for training camp and little else.