Steelers, Eagles have draft success
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 14:05
With the conclusion of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the college players that were drafted have realized their dreams have come true.
The Keystone state teams made out quite well in the draft with the Eagles trading up to get a stud defensive tackle in the first round, and the Steelers staying put and having one of the highest rated guards in the last five years, seemingly fall into their lap.
In the first round, the Philadelphia Eagles, who had a disappointing year last year after the overhyped off-season signings of free agents, sat at pick number 15 overall. As some players came off the board, Coach Andy Reid and the Eagles quickly swapped picks with the Seattle Seahawks and selected Fletcher Cox, a defensive tackle from Mississippi State.
Cox dominated SEC football last season and was highly rated on most teams draft boards, yet the Eagles selected Cox with the 12th overall pick. The Steelers, as mentioned earlier, got a solid player who was supposed to be gone in the first 15 picks. David DeCastro, a massive offensive guard out of Stanford University with a bit of a nasty streak, fell unexpectedly to the Steelers at pick number 24 overall. General Manager Kevin Colbert said that he was “shocked and delighted that DeCastro was still on the board.”
The second was unexpected for both teams as well. The Steelers added yet another player to the much-scrutinized offensive line with the selection of 6 foot 7 inch tackle Mike Adams out of Ohio State University. Adams has some off the field issues with drug use, but many NFL personnel expect Adams to turn it around in the veteran-laden Steelers locker room.
The Eagles used their second round pick on linebacker Mychal Kendricks from the University of California. Kendricks is a big bodied linebacker who had 88 tackles in his last season at Cal.
The third round included Vinny Curry, a big, strong, physical specimen of a defensive end out of Marshall and quarterback Nick Foles out of Arizona going to the Eagles.
Curry and Foles were both expected to be off the board in the late second, early third round but both slipped in the draft and the Eagles jumped all over it.
Curry provides depth to an already stout and deep Eagles defensive line and Foles provides depth and insurance behind Mike Vick, who is extremely injury prone due to his scrambling tendencies.
The Steelers took a bit of a surprise in the third round with the selection of outside linebacker Sean Spence out of the University of Miami (FL.). I personally like the pick of Spence. He is a quick, slashing-type linebacker who hits with authority. Spence doesn’t need to come in and produce right away. He will sit back and learn from the vets and most likely see some action on special teams. Don’t rule out a move to free safety for Spence. He has the speed and size to handle the position.
The fourth round had both teams taking players who, again weren’t expected to still be available. The Steelers took Alameda Ta’amu, a 348 pound nose tackle out of the University of Washington. Ta’amu will see action right away as the Steelers look to transition from the Casey Hampton era. Hampton is coming off of serious knee surgery and most likely won’t be able to play the same amount of snaps that he is used to.
The Eagles got a huge steal with their pick when they took Brandon Boykin, a cornerback out of the University of Georgia. Boykin will see time as the nickel corner in passing situations, an area where the Eagles defensive struggled greatly last season.
The Eagles remained quiet and took offensive tackle Dennis Kelly out of Purdue University in the seventh round. With the loss of All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters to season-ending surgery in the off-season, the Eagles seemed to be trying to add depth to a unit that struggled to protect Vick last season. This was a smart move as they signed Vick to a $100 million dollar deal last off-season.
The Steelers seemed to hit a homerun in the fifth with the selection of Chris Rainey, running back out of the University of Florida. Rainey has game-changing speed and elusive moves in the open field. He also struggled with off-the-field issues during his time at Florida but, he has since seemed to turn himself around. He could be dangerous on third down and in the return game.
The Steelers did not hold a pick in the sixth round. The Eagles Marvin McNutt, a wide receiver out of Iowa and offensive guard Brandon Washington out of the University of Miami (Fla.) with their two picks in the sixth. McNutt and Washington probably won’t see much action this year, but will learn the system and adapt to the NFL life.
In the seventh and final round, the Steelers held four picks, one of which they used on a hometown boy. Toney Clemons, a wide receiver out of Colorado University, attended Valley High School, which is just across the Allegheny River from my hometown. I actually was on the same field as Clemons in high school. Clemons provides a tall, red-zone threat to the Steelers offensive right away.