The 2012 NFL draft is over. The time many fans waited so eagerly for has come and gone. With the draft over, who are the winners and losers? Experts agree that one of the biggest winners was the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pittsburgh had one of its most solid and rewarding drafts in recent memory; every pick looks like something that will help the team in the future.
It all started with the incredible fall and acquisition of Stanford guard David DeCastro, a player that almost everyone thought wouldn't end up with the Steelers. No sooner had their turn come up, had the Steelers sent Roger Goodell out to announce the pick; cue Steeler Nation's elation. DeCastro will be a day-one starter and prove to be one of the best guards in the league from day one.
Pittsburgh's next bit of luck came in the second round where they drafted Ohio State tackle Mike Adams. Adams was projected to be a first-round pick, but due to testing positive for marijuana, and lying about it at the combine, he dropped.
After doing some serious work to get back in good graces with the Steelers, including saying he would defer his signing bonus, Adams was back on the big board and will be in a Steelers uniform this season.
Sean Spence, linebacker out of Miami (FL), was the third-round pick and will aim to compete for the open spot left by the departure of James Farrior. Spence started as a true freshmen at Miami, so that gives him plenty of experience. He is a little short, but has good speed and great instincts; he could be a future safety or the eventual inside linebacker.
Casey Hampton's time is coming to an end with the selection of Alameda Ta'amu. Ta'amu is a true 3-4 nose tackle and is the future at the position for the Steelers.
He was a second-round talent who fell to the fourth due to a past knee injury concern. If this draft has shown us anything, it's that other people's worries are the Steelers' gains.
Chris Rainey, the running back from Florida, was the fifth-round selection and brings explosiveness to the position. While he never had great production at Florida, he's been compared to Percy Harvin and is capable of breaking the big play on the ground and catching passes out of the backfield.
He is also a close friend of Steelers center, Maurkice Pouncey, something that probably helped him to be drafted by the Steelers.
The seventh round saw Pittsburgh draft players to fill some depth at various positions. Receiver Tony Clemons is a fast receiver who could add to the corp down the road if Mike Wallace bolts in free agency. Tight end David Paulson is a talented end of will need to put on weight if he wants to be successful, but he could earn a roster spot.
Terrence Frederick is a corner who doesn't bring a lot to the table talent-wise, so he'll be fighting to make the team. Kelvin Beachum, offensive tackle from SMU, was the last pick and was a great value for Pittsburgh. He could see good playing time if any injuries happen along the offensive line like last season.
When it comes down to it, the Steelers were definitely winners in this year's draft. They filled positions of need with great players who shouldn't have been available where they got them. Excellent value, mixed with great need, is a recipe for success.