2012 Draft

History Shows That Only DeCastro Has A Legitimate Shot At Starting In Week One

The 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers draft class has been chosen and the excitement for the upcoming season is building at a rapid pace. There is already talk about which players might contribute in their rookie season and how many might even start on either offense or defense in week one.

The obvious names that most are tossing around as week one starters are guard David DeCastro, tackle Mike Adams and nose tackle Alameda Ta\’amu. The only realistic names on that list however to be in the starting lineup when the Steelers take on the Denver Broncos in week one however are DeCastro and Adams as the history of the Steelers draft picks has shown us.

Below is a table of the Steelers draft picks dating back to 2001 that includes players that were either active for games during their rookie season (including playoff) or eventually made a start during their career with the Steelers. As you can see by the list, many draft pick names are missing because they failed to meet either of those two criteria. Several missing players on the list failed to make the final roster cuts their rookie season as well.

As you can clearly see, defensive draft picks of the Steelers rarely ever get starts in their rookie seasons and only once has a defensive player draft pick actually started in week one. That of course was linebacker Kendrell Bell in 2001. Even the great Troy Polamalu failed to make a start his rookie season.

The list is kind to top offensive line draft picks. Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert and Kendall Simmons are solid examples of linemen drafted early that can start almost immediately. Pouncey of course did do just that in week one of his rookie season. Pouncey and tight end Heath Miller were the only two offensive players dating back to 2001 that started week one of their rookie season.

When you look at the 2012 class compared to the Steelers history below, we can speculate that DeCastro really is the only player that has a legitimate shot of matching what Pouncey did a few years back. He is the most polished and NFL ready of all the picks. Adams and Ta\’amu certainly could start at some point during the season depending on their development and quality play ahead of them. Ta\’amu will have it the toughest perhaps of those two as the Steelers rarely let rookies start on defense period early on.

YEAR RND PICK POS PLAYER ACTIVE STARTED 1ST START
2011 1 31 DT Cam Heyward 17 0 N/A
2011 2 63 T Marcus Gilbert 15 14 1st/Wk 2
2011 3 95 CB Curtis Brown 12 0 N/A
2011 4 128 CB Cortez Allen 15 0 N/A
2011 5 162 LB Chris Carter 8 0 N/A
2010 1 18 C Maurkice Pouncey 18 18 1st/Wk 1
2010 2 52 LB Jason Worilds 15 0 2nd/Wk 9
2010 3 82 WR Emmanuel Sanders 16 1 1st/Wk17
2010 4 116 LB Thaddeus Gibson 2 0 N/A
2010 5 164 CB Crezdon Butler 4 0 N/A
2010 5 166 LB Stevenson Sylvester 19 0 2nd/Wk8
2010 6 188 RB Jonathan Dwyer 1 0 N/A
2010 6 195 WR Antonio Brown 12 0 2nd/Wk10
2009 1 32 DE Evander Hood 16 0 2nd/Wk8
2009 3 84 WR Mike Wallace 16 4 1st/Wk7
2009 3 96 CB Keenan Lewis 4 0 3rd/Wk3
2009 5 168 CB Joe Burnett 15 0 N/A
2009 5 169 RB Frank Summers 2 1 1st/Wk2
2009 6 205 DT RaShon Harris 2 0 N/A
2009 7 241 TE David Johnson 15 3 1st/Wk3
2008 1 23 RB Rashard Mendenhall 4 1 1st/Wk4
2008 2 53 WR Limas Sweed 14 0 N/A
2008 3 88 LB Bruce Davis 5 0 N/A
2008 5 156 QB Dennis Dixon 1 0 2nd/Wk12
2008 6 194 S Ryan Mundy 0 0 3rd/Wk15
2007 1 15 LB Lawrence Timmons 17 0 2nd/Wk9
2007 2 46 LB LaMarr Woodley 14 0 2nd/Wk1
2007 3 77 TE Matt Spaeth 15 7 1st/Wk2
2007 4 112 P Daniel Sepulveda 17 0 1st/Wk1
2007 5 170 CB William Gay 17 0 2nd/Wk11
2006 1 25 WR Santonio Holmes 16 4 1st/Wk14
2006 3 83 S Anthony Smith 16 4 1st/Wk14
2006 3 95 WR Willie Reid 1 0 N/A
2006 4 131 T Willie Colon 2 2 1st/Wk16
2005 1 30 TE Heath Miller 20 19 1st/Wk 1
2005 2 62 CB Bryant McFadden 16 1 1st/Wk 13
2005 3 93 T Trai Essex 6 4 1st/Wk 11
2005 5 166 LB Rian Wallace 6 0 N/A
2005 6 204 G Chris Kemoeatu 0 0 2nd/Wk6
2005 7 244 RB Noah Herron 7 0 N/A
2004 1 11 QB Ben Roethlisberger 16 15 1st/Wk3
2004 2 38 CB Ricardo Colclough 18 0 N/A
2004 3 75 T Max Starks 12 0 2nd/Wk1
2004 6 194 TE Matt Kranchick 2 0 2nd/Wk10
2003 1 16 S Troy Polamalu 16 0 2nd/Wk1
2003 2 59 LB Alonzo Jackson 2 0 N/A
2003 4 125 CB Ike Taylor 16 1 1st/Wk12
2002 1 30 G Kendall Simmons 16 16 1st/Wk2
2002 2 62 WR Antwaan Randle El 18 0 2nd/Wk4
2002 3 94 S Chris Hope 16 0 3rd/Wk1
2002 4 128 LB Larry Foote 16 3 1st/Wk2
2002 5 166 RB Verron Haynes 14 0 N/A
2002 6 202 WR Lee Mays 18 0 3rd/Wk17
2002 7 242 DE Brett Keisel 7 0 5th/Wk1
2001 1 19 NT Casey Hampton 18 13 1st/Wk7
2001 2 39 LB Kendrell Bell 18 18 1st/Wk 1
2001 4 111 T Mathias Nkwenti 1 0 N/A
2001 5 146 C Chukky Okobi 1 0 2nd/Wk8
2001 6 181 DE Rodney Bailey 18 1 1st/Wk3
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