The Pittsburgh Steelers parted ways with running back Chris Rainey on Thursday following his arrest for battery on his girlfriend earlier in the day. With his release it pretty much puts an exclamation point on the disappointing season had by the 2012 draft class.
While not his fault, first-round draft pick David DeCastro was lost for most of the season with a serious knee injury suffered in the preseason. If not for the new “designated for return” injured reserve rule, he wouldn\’t have played at all in 2012. Thankfully DeCastro did get to cut his teeth some in the final three games, but ultimately it was a lost season for him.
Second-round draft pick Mike Adams was perhaps the lone bright spot of the draft class even though he failed to play a whole season thanks to an ankle injury that he suffered in the Week 12 game against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers took a big chance on the Ohio State product after he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine and so far he has stayed off of the police blotter. In the five games that Adams started at right tackle for the Steelers in the middle of the season the team went 4-1 and the running game had its best output during those games as well.
Linebacker Sean Spence, the Steelers third-round pick, like DeCastro, was a victim of a serious knee injury during the preseason. He was placed on injured reserve and we can only hope that he will be ready by the time the team reports to training camp in Latrobe. So far the few reports we have seen about his rehab have been encouraging.
That brings is to nose tackle Alameda Ta\’ama, who the Steelers traded up for in the fourth round to select. The Washington product was arrested in mid October and charged with DUI and trying to flee police after a car chase that included him hitting multiple parked cars. He was to be formally arraigned Dec. 31 on felony charges of aggravated assault by vehicle and fleeing and eluding police, as well as misdemeanor charges including resisting arrest, escape and DUI. The Steelers suspended Ta\’amu for two weeks without pay following the incident and ultimately waived him in November because they needed the roster spot. After clearing waivers he was signed to the Steelers practice squad where he remained until being signed back to the 53 man roster during the final week of the regular season. Let\’s just say that the jury is still out on him in more ways than one.
The aforementioned Rainey had a red flag on him prior to the draft after he was arrested in September of 2010 and charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony, for allegedly sending a former girlfriend a threatening text message. The charge was eventually reduced to a misdemeanor and he was ordered to perform community service and attend anger management classes. Rainey also reportedly had a gambling problem as well and it led to him being cited for defiant trespass when he entered the Meadows Racetrack and Casino outside Washington, Pa., after he had signed himself onto a self-exclusion list. He received a small fine for that. He did contribute on kickoffs, but very little on offense. As of Thursday he is an afterthought.
Wide receiver Toney Clemons, the first of four seventh-round draft picks, had the case of the drops during training camp and that led to him spending a good portion of the season on the practice squad. He was ultimately signed off of the practice squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars late in the season and recorded 3 catches in 4 four games for them.
David Paulson, the Steelers second of four seventh-round picks started the season as the third tight end behind Heath Miller and Leonard Pope but eventually passed Pope on the depth chart. He wound up playing in all 16 games and recorded 7 catches for 51 yards. His blocking needs a ton of improvement, however, and because of that the Steelers might be forced to draft another tight end early in April thanks to Miller going down with a serious knee injury that could ultimately cause him to miss the start of the 2013 season.
Cornerback Terrence Frederick, the Steelers third of four seventh-round draft picks, was released prior to the start of the season. He spent a little time on the New York Giants practice squad and 53 man roster late in the season.
Tackle Kelvin Beachum, the Steelers final 2012 selection, had a horrendous preseason but ultimately made the 53 man roster out of training camp. Thanks in part to injuries suffered by Adams and Marcus Gilbert, Beachum was thrust into action as the starter at right tackle where he ended the season. Beachum showed a great deal of improvement and could wind up as the starting left guard next season depending on what happens during the offseason with Willie Colon and Ramon Foster. At worst Beachum will be the ultimate swing guy on the offensive line in 2013.
In total the Steelers 2012 draft class played just over 1,400 snaps outside of special teams. All of those snaps came on the offensive side of the ball as well. Following the release of Rainey on Thursday, 6 of the 9 players now remain on the roster headed into 2013.
Hopefully when we check in the class of 2012 next offseason we are able to look back at their rookie season and laugh, and hopefully the class of 2013 produces much better results in their rookie seasons than their predecessors.