Just over four years ago the Pittsburgh Steelers selected nine players during the 2012 NFL Draft. As of Thursday, guard David DeCastro is now the only one of those nine that remains of the roster as tackle Mike Adams, who was team’s second-round selection in 2012, has now been released with the failed physical designation.
While it’s easy to judge that particular Steelers draft class four years later by how many players currently remain from it, you have to take into account the fact that they did manage to get quite a bit of production from a few others they selected that year. For starters, tackle Kelvin Beachum, the Steelers final draft pick in the 2012, played in 44 games and made 39 starts during his four years in Pittsburgh. Those numbers would have been even higher had Beachum not torn up his left knee during the first half of the 2015 season.
While Adams career in Pittsburgh certainly didn’t turn out as the organization had originally hoped it would, he still managed to play in 41 games and make 20 starts in his first three years on the roster. Like Beachum, an injury last year not only forced Adams to miss playing time, but the entire season as well.
The Steelers got very unlucky when it came to their third-round selection in 2012 as a serious knee injury suffered by linebacker Sean Spence during the preseason of his rookie year eventually resulted in the Miami product sitting out his first two years in the league. Spence, however, was able to return to action again for the 2014 and 2015 seasons and wound up contributing some on defense in both of those years in addition to playing on special teams. Spence, like Beachum, left Pittsburgh this past offseason via free agency so at least both should ultimately factor into the compensatory draft pick formula next offseason.
The Steelers did miss badly on their five other remaining draft picks, however, as defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, running back Chris Rainey, wide receiver Toney Clemons, tight end David Paulson and cornerback Terrence Frederick all washed out of Pittsburgh very quickly. Paulson, however, at least stuck around for two seasons while Rainey only played one year in Pittsburgh before being cut loose. With that said, Clemons, Paulson and Frederick were all seventh-round selections and when you factor in that the Steelers hit with their selection of Beachum, their fourth and final seventh-round draft pick that year, it makes the misses with the other three very forgettable.
The fact that the Steelers at least came away from the 2012 NFL Draft with an All-Pro guard in DeCastro, who is almost certain to sign a long-term contract extension later on this summer, makes that 2012 haul a success in my book and especially when you add on top of it how much production they also got out of Beachum.