DeCastro, Adams have to earn their jobs

The expectation is for the Steelers' top two picks in the 2012 draft, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, to start this season.

Pittsburgh, however, isn't going to give the starting jobs to rookies. They will have to earn it.

In his weekend visit to Steelers training camp, ESPN's John Clayton points out that DeCastro and Adams are working with the second-team offense. Here is Clayton's take on the situation:

DeCastro should excel on running downs and learn how to be a good pass-blocker. Adams looks natural when he's going one-on-one against a pass-rusher. But a rookie tackle can be counted on to give up eight to 10 sacks. For example, look at the 49ers when they drafted Mike Iupati at guard and Anthony Davis at right tackle. The 49ers gave up 44 sacks that year. Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked an average of 43.5 times a season the past six seasons. Willie Colon should do well at left guard if he stays healthy. Maurkice Pouncey is already one of the best centers in football. The Steelers just have to make sure DeCastro and Adams are ready.

For right now, Ramon Foster is starting at right guard and Trai Essex is at left tackle. By the time I get to Steelers training camp in a couple of weeks, my guess is DeCastro will be at right guard and either Adams or Max Starks will be at left tackle.

While Foster has reportedly looked solid so far in camp, it would be a major upset if DeCastro fails to claim the job. The starter at left tackle will be determined by a couple of factors: Starks' timetable to return to the field after offseason ACL surgery and Adams' progression as a rookie second-round pick.

DeCastro and Essex both left Sunday's practice with minor ankle injuries, and the hope is both will be ready for the team's next workout on Tuesday.