Disappointing Season Of Steelers 2012 Draft Class Ends With Chris Rainey Being Released

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.

  • JT

    Who had Mike Adams being the best player of the draft his rookie season? That’s just insane. I wouldn’t call the season disappointing. It just had very high expectations with DeCastro falling into their laps. Adams played great, and it seems like they found good players in Beachum and Paulson.

    The most disappointing has to be Rainey. So much wasted talent. Some by his use by Haley, but mostly due to his own actions. Ta’amu wasn’t going to make an impact this season likely anyway, so we’ll see what he makes of his second chance. I was hopeful for Clemons, but it turns out 2012 was a terrible year for the Steelers at WR anyway. Scottie making something of Clemons certainly could have helped his chances of keeping his job.

  • steeltown

    Yes, this first year of the 2012 class was not impressive (save a few games from Adams & Beachum) BUT alot remains to be seen. DeCastro barely got his feet wet and I expect Adams and Beachum to improve on their decent rookie seasons. Not only that but we have no way to gauge how good Spence is or can be, he might turn into something special, before his injury the coaches were speaking to his intelligence and quick study of a pretty difficult system to grasp for a first year player. Paulson played decent and could turn into a solid #2.. and lets not forget the UFA’s and others.. I think Golden, under Coach Lake, might turn out to be a solid player and the Will Johnson signing might be one of the least talked about and yet one of the best scouting jobs of them all, he will only get better, same with P Drew Butler, I expect improvement from him as well going into his 2nd year.. and then theres LB Adrian Robinson, who could turn out to be a good pass rusher, that we so badly need.

    I know thats alot of ‘ifs’ and ‘could be’s’ but hey we got to have something to look forward to, something to be encouraged about – GO Steelers!

  • Dan

    This is the second or third article where you mentioned how much stronger the run game was when Adams was starting. There are a lot of things that go into a successful rushing attack. In your analysis, was he truly outstanding in his assignments and clearly opening up holes better than Starks, Gilbert, Beachum or others on the line?

  • steeltown

    Agreed. If you wouldve told me during the preseason that Adams and Beachum would be the best rookies in this class……. I wouldve laughed in your face

  • SteelersDepot

    Graded out fine in those 5 games he started in the run blocking department. Keep in mind, this is a right handed running team. They ran very little to the left once again in 2012.

  • Reader783

    Paulson was also among the best of the draft class this season.

  • steeltown

    The OL breakdowns were very favorible (except the Ravens game) and the Team went 4-1 during that time. Yes there are many variables that go into it, but its pretty interesting statistically

  • TJimmy

    DeCastro, Adams, Beachum and possibly Spence look to be the catches in this draft. When you look back at it in 4 years, maybe it won’t be so bad.

  • Dan

    Presumably Pouncey will plead on Rainey’s behalf and I would guess there’s a good chance he’ll be invited back. Of course we don’t know all the details from their internal data and discussions. Maybe this just confirm existing concerns and this is final, but it would be nice to see him back.

  • SteelerDave

    After the Holmes incident in the early 70’s the Steelers made an effort to not just draft the best athlete but also players of solid character. That has not been the case since late in the Cower era. Time to get back to doing so.

  • steeltown

    I really think there may have been stipulations in his contract, that allowed no legal issues, like with Mike Adams, only we didint hear about it because he was a 5th Rd pick instead of a 1st Rd grade

  • steeltown


  • JohnnyV1

    I agree that the early returns on the 2012 Steelers draft class wasn’t exemplary, there were some quality picks early and late. It is a shame that 4th Ta’amu and 5th Rainey could not handle themselves better and stay out of trouble. The Steelers generally do a better job of character drafting. I don’t see Toney Clemons or Terence Frederick being a big loss. To have 50% of the four 7th Rd picks make the team is pretty solid. Would be nice to have those undrafted guys (Johnson, Butler, Golden & Robinson) develop to make up for the misses on the drafted guys. I’m still bummed about OG Ryan Lee leaving.

  • Alan Felicia

    Just a reminder, Greg Lloyd and Bam Morris had issues during Cowher’s first 6 years.

  • Jollyrob68

    Since they can’t release him until after the Super Bowl perhaps they’ll change their mind.
    I say wait until the draft and try to get a 7th rounder or use him as trade bait o move up in a round. Somebody who wants him should give up a 7th.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    The Steelers are always better when they don’t need to rely on the draft class to fill needs so the players can develop. This year we had to see a lot of the draft class and there appears to be several solid pros in the group, including a couple with a fair amount of upside.

    Regarding the perception of character problems, those things need to be evaluated on an individual basis. The coaches, players, and others in the organization go to work with these guys every day. Through those day to day interactions they figure out who gets second chances and who doesn’t. Except in egregious cases, its ridiculous for people outside the building to judge these people. By most accounts, it seems like Ta’ama had built up enough goodwill to continue (at significantly less money because he was not on the 53 roster) and Rainey had not.

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Whoa….remember that Spence isn’t even a prototypical inside or outside linebacker in the 3-4 system so he’s got that going against him on top of having to learn to play at the next level. Boy’s got a looooong way to go.

  • steeltown

    The dude was a tackling machine in college, good at spotting and diagnosing play action and screen plays and is a film nut, very intelligent with sideline to sideline speed. Obviously he has a long way to go, that’s why I use words like “might” and “could” because its speculation on my behalf, alls I’m saying is the guy has alot of upside

  • Pete

    Adams was projected as a 1st round pick before his marijuana incident. So, as long as he behaves he was a late 2nd round steal. His run blocking was excellent. If he can improve his pass blocking, this guy is going to be one of the best Steeler linemen in a few years.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Holy crap what a wasted draft. But thats what can happen when drafting after all the good prospects are picked over & taken. Every year all the top offensive tackles were taken before the Steelers turn to pick in first round, those off tackles are starters on their teams.

    And I guess Colbert wont be listening to any more draft recommendations from Pouncey.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    College isn’t NFL.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Amen. Thank u.

  • steeltown

    Understood, yes, gheez you guys are pretty gloomy.. of course College isnt NFL, but I’ll save my negative specualtion and comments regarding Spence until he shows that he CANT play in the NFL… at this point we havent seen him play a single meaningful snap, so I’ll stay positive and look forward to watching him play in a Steelers uniform and hope for the best

  • charles

    steeltown you’re right on the button. Spence (like Wilson in Seattle) is not the prototypical linebacker. I also agree with your Oline assessment. I think the future is bright, I hope that the Steelers come into camp in bettter shape. Injuries and slobs are the same in the NFL. Also, Take a look at another Ziggy … Ziggy Anseh BYU for some pass rushing help.

  • steeltown

    I would be thrilled if we got Ansah, he’s pretty raw, but a freak athletically