If you have not heard by now, the Pittsburgh Steelers first and second round draft picks, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, will not be able to take part in the teams\’ first OTA session that takes place this upcoming week because the semesters have not ended at their respective schools. Both Ohio State and Stanford use the quarter system instead of the semester system and this is what is preventing both of the rookie linemen from being able to attend.
As Ed Bouchette points out, Adams will miss the OTA sessions through the first week of June, but he should be able to attend the mini-camp scheduled for June 12-14 as the Ohio State graduation for their quarter system this year is June 10th. DeCastro will miss all of OTA sessions and the June minicamp though because Stanford\’s spring quarter goes through mid-June. DeCastro let it be known during his introductory press conference that he still had one more quarter to complete and then he would have his degree and would be done.
The Steelers have run into this before with linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, who was drafted by the Steelers in the 4th round of the 2010 draft and they would have ran into the problem with first round pick Cameron Heyward last year except the lockout took care of all OTA and mini-camps for all of the teams last summer.
Moving forward, future players drafted out of Ohio State will no longer be a problem as Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer reported over a week ago that Ohio State is switching from quarters to semesters in 2012-13 and that switch has reportedly been in the pipeline for several years now. It is unknown right now if the switch will prompt Stanford to make switch to quarters down the road as well.
Being as both of the linemen are expected to compete for starting jobs on the Steelers offensive line this year, I am more worried about the time that Adams misses more-so than DeCastro. DeCastro is a smart and dedicated technician, and while the reps would be nice, he should catch up easily once training camp gets going. Adams on the other hand needs every rep he can get under the watchful eye of offensive line coach Sean Kugler in my opinion as he is far from being NFL ready, let alone week one ready.
About the only positive we can take by both of these rookies not being on the field practicing for some time is that neither can get injured unless it happens in an off the field mishap. The rules are the rules though and the Steelers were well aware of the pending situation with both of the players prior to drafting them.