DeCastro & Adams Could Make For A Dominant Steelers Offensive Line In 2012

By Jeremy Hritz

How can you be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan right now and not be excited and optimistic about the 2012 NFL season? Ever since 2006, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been pounded, beaten, and broken, resulting in injuries that compromised the success of the season. Just over the past two years, Roethlisberger suffered a broken nose, thumb, and a high ankle sprain last year that hindered the goal of winning the AFC North. And while players like Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert were drafted in 2010 and 2011 respectively, those two players were not enough to protect Roethlisberger and create lanes in the running game. However, after the second day of the 2012 NFL Draft, the potential of this year’s Steelers offensive line to dominate is scary.

The league is well aware of the All-Pro abilities of Pouncey, and Gilbert is an up-and-comer who played well at right tackle as a rookie. Now with the additions of Stanford guard David DeCastro and Ohio State tackle Mike Adams, the Steelers appear to have assembled an offensive line that will be a strength for many years.

While many will criticize the selection of Adams because of his NCAA violations and marijuana usage, what cannot be overlooked is the Rooney’s and Kevin Colbert’s overall body of work in the NFL Draft, which is near impeccable, and quite possibly without rival. If despite Adams’ transgressions he was still drafted by the Steelers, it communicates that the organization is confident that he will right his wrongs and develop into a player that will be an essential part of a new offense led by Todd Haley. The difference between the environment at Ohio State and Pittsburgh will be great, and the influence exerted by veteran, revered coaches like Mike Tomlin and Sean Kugler will have a greater, more positive impact than the one imparted by the questionable Jim Tressel.

The question now becomes whether or not Adams will start at the beginning of the season, which would seem highly unlikely. While there is no question that DeCastro will be the starting right guard next year, Adams is a different story. When Kugler was asked about Adams coming in and contributing immediately, he offered a noncommittal response: “Each guy is different. Some guys can just step in and play ball, some guys can’t. That remains to be seen. I hate to put a label on one guy, we’ll see when we get to OTA’s and those things.” Kugler did not say that Adams could come in and start, but he also did not say that he couldn’t, which could be interpreted that Adams will get an opportunity to compete.

Regardless, even if DeCastro is the only one out of this drafted duo to start this year, it automatically improves the offensive line, and with Willie Colon returning, the Steelers will have a quality right tackle, given he stays healthy. Ramon Foster should be able to hold things down at left guard in addition. If Adams does earn a starting job, the questions then becomes, does Colon move to guard and does Gilbert go back to right tackle if Adams starts on the left side?

Whatever the starting lineup combination, there is no denying the Steelers offensive line of 2012 has the potential to be one of the best in the league, which could result in a healthy Roethlisberger and hyperactive scoreboards.

  • Daveb1952

    Colon is NOT moving to guard. Too slow, and no explosion of the ball. With LoCastro set at RG, can you honestly see Colon making that trap block on our counter pike??? Colon has a much higher probability of going on IR than playing guard for the Steelers.

  • Albeto Flores

    2012 here we come!!!

  • Albeto Flores

    this has to be the best website on steelers, i work 12 hrs a day lisening to your podcast helps and hide and read the rss feeds ha i have lisenin to you for a couple months now and your a true steeler fan, props im from cali the only thing isee is raiders, but anyways good job keep up the good work man tannks dave

  • mokhkw

    Some NFL Scouts believe Colon would be a Pro Bowler if moved to Guard. If he’s too slow, then how is he playing Tackle which requires a lot more quickness than Guard? After his last full season in 2009 he was listed as a Top-5 Tackle by – and now you’re saying he can’t play Guard?


  • dgh57

    Colon was drafted to be a guard. He is built like a guard. They don’t have to use him on pulling plays that’s what DeCastro is for. I think I read he was involved in 80% of the plays at Stanford where they pulled a guard! When Fanaca was with the Steelers it was him that did most of the pulling. With 2 capable Tackles on the team Colon will have to play somewhere(provided he stays healthy which is a big IF)

  • Jason White

    The combination of our revamped O-line and our new offensive coordinator whom I have great faith in I am extremely excited about the Steelers season ahead.

  • zbluez1

    I am still of the opinion, at this time, that we will see R to Left , Colon, DeCastro, Pouncey, Foster, Gilbert at the start of camp, however, by the end of camp it is possible we’ll see Gilbert, DeCastro, Pouncey, Foster or R. Lee, Adams. I do believe we will see extremely spirited competition in camp and any possible guard prospects will be compared play to play to DeCastro in not only physical skills, but how well they take coaching and film study (D.D. being rumored as being very good at it). R. Lee is my dark-horse who may make it to the surprise of just about everyone (Compare his measurable’s to D.D. some comparisons might surprise you) , also someone who studies film and takes coaching well. Right now as of this date and time I believe most of the coaching staff view him as a camp body, but he is a strong, smart, grinder with heart and I never count those type of guys out of anything. We’ll see if my crystal ball with many cracks still has anything left in it predictions wise. Any way you look at it, the Steelers will have a younger more physical line by the time the season rolls around to the showdowns with the Ravens and the running game should be up and on it’s feet.

  • Adams looks like the most natural LT on the team. I’m not sold on Gilbert as a LT, and think he is more suited at RT. Gilbert started out at guard, when he was at Florida, and later moved to OT. I think that Gilbert and Colon should compete for the starting RT job, with the loser moving to LG.

  • LucasY59

    yeah if the 5.0 40 time and the 40 reps on the bench are legit #’s R. Lee should definately have a chance.
    the only thing for sure is that Roethlisberger has to be more excited about those draft than anyone else

  • Eric87

    Hope Foster will be able to play on the left side

  • SteelSpine

    The word in this title that always describes Mike Adams is “COULD”. Isnt “could” the word which describes every underachiever. Drafting an underachiever is what desparat teams do & Steelers been desparate for an OT for years. Odds are Adams will collect big paychecks for several years for same reason he was drafted: tall & perfect size for offensive tackle. A wasted pick but we were desparate, better OTs were picked over by other teams drafting ahead of us same as every year.

    Colon’s size indeed always said “guard”, but coaches never put him at guard because we didn’t have any better offensive tackle for there, thats just a statement tackles better than Colon are expensive or require drafting higher in 1st round than Steelers have been drafting.

  • Nolrog

    Adams will get playing time. Of that, I have no doubt. Will he start day one, or not isn’t really a huge deal to me. As long as he gets in and starts learning, he’ll be starting soon enough.

  • sweetleb

    I don’t think adams played like an underachiever at ohio st., he will be fine look for him to be starting at left tackle when colon gets hurt and they move gilbert over.

  • Daveb1952

    Becase he is a yard off the line of scrimage on pass protect. and yes, he would make a perfectly lousy guard for reasons stated. We already have better guards that can pull. Colon couldn’t pull if you lit a firecracker up his keister, let alone hit a target is space. Besides, if you go back to his last year he’s been healthy, if you can remember back that far, he played a really good RT for us, and I think he was only flaged for 3 or three false starts that whole season. Is he a good drive blocker, yes. Can he pull, no. RTs almost never pull, and ours don’t pull. Putting him a guard would sevely limit the versitility of our offense.

  • Daveb1952

    Well, that’s the old, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck arguement. So you advocate running to one side of the field much like our past OC was renowned for? It is much to a teams advantage to have TWO guards that can pull,and now we do. As things stand, Colon will start the seson at RT, as you said, IF he’s healthy, and can demonstrate he can stay that way.

  • Daveb1952

    Contrary to popular opinion, Willie actually played pretty well at RT the last year he was healthy. Check out the grading that Dave Bryan on this site does. Big Ben Likes him too. Obviously the FO is very happy with him or they would not have been paying him for the last 3 years for not a whole lot. Don’t take my word for it.

  • Adams will be the LT within a year and I would rather start him a little early then move someone else over there for a handful of games and then readjust the line again mid season. Hopefully he shows enough early that we can set the line, live with some growing pains and not have to make any changes for a couple of years.

  • Finnegans Wake

    How about:

    2012 – Gilbert-Foster-Pouncey-DeCastro-Colon
    2013 – Adams-Gilbert-Pouncey-DeCastro-Colon

  • kevin

    He had a first round grade but the drug test knocked him down. His favorite team is the Steelers, as he grew up a fan. He asked for a special meeting with the Steelers to explain himself where the Steelers set conditions for him to get back on their board. He did everything that they asked of him. The guy has done dumb things, but on a grand scale of things, marijuana and getting extra benefits is not that big of deal.

  • Imike29

    Since we are a right handed running offense, I can’t see DeCastro playing RG. He would be far more efficient playing LG and pulling to the right side behind Colon. Colon drives forward, DeCastro clears the way and whomever gets to the second level. If you look at Stanford’s tape, they ran mostly to the left, is that because DeCastro was such a beast pulling, or did they place him at RG as a freshman because they run to the left.

    To me, the most effective line would be: Adams LT, DeCastro LG, Pouncey C, Colon RG, Gilbert RT.