PITTSBURGH -- The is the sixth in a series that reviews the Pittsburgh Steelers' drafts under general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin.
Next up is the 2012 draft:
Total picks: 9
Picks still with the team: 5
Best pick: G David DeCastro. The Steelers were both surprised and elated when the top guard in the draft fell to them at No. 24 overall. DeCastro overcame some early adversity -- a torn ACL caused him to miss most of his rookie season -- and has established himself as one of the top guards in the NFL. The Stanford product has many Pro Bowls in his future provided he stays healthy, and he could enjoy a career similar to the one Alan Faneca had with the Steelers.
Worst pick: NT Alameda Ta'amu. Taken in the fourth round as Casey Hampton's potential successor, Ta'amu lasted just one season with the Steelers -- he didn't play in a game -- and will be most remembered for his arrest following a police chase in Pittsburgh that damaged several cars and left one person injured. Ta'amu landed with the Cardinals after the Steelers released him and played 14 games last season, starting three.
Best value pick: OT Kelvin Beachum. The Steelers' final pick -- and the 248th selection overall -- has proven to be an absolute steal. Beachum’s versatility allowed him to make an impact as a rookie, and he stabilized left tackle last season after second-round pick Mike Adams floundered there. Beachum started 11 of the Steelers’ last 12 games at left tackle, and the SMU product played well enough to go into offseason practices as the starter there. It remains to be seen whether Beachum’s long-term future is at left tackle. Even if it isn’t, he will start for the Steelers somewhere along the offensive line.
Also of note: It will be interesting to see what the Steelers do with Adams in the offseason. The Ohio State product could compete with Beachum at left tackle or challenge Marcus Gilbert for the starting job at right tackle. Adams started six games at right tackle as a rookie and played considerably better there than at left tackle ... Third-round pick Sean Spence could contribute this season at inside linebacker after suffering a career-threatening knee injury in the final preseason game of his rookie season ... Fifth-round pick Chris Rainey, released following an offseason arrest in 2013, played two games for the Colts last season but did not have a carry ... Every draft pick has appeared in at least one NFL game.
Final analysis/grade: It’s still a tad early to evaluate this class, but the Steelers hit big with their bookend picks (DeCastro and Beachum). The jury is still out on their second- and third-round picks (Adams and Spence) for different reasons. I will give them a 'B-' for now with the grade moving up or down depending on what they get out of Adams and Spence.