Let’s Predict the 2012 Starting Lineups!

Fake Troy still has great hair. (ryan wilson)

We talked about it on the last podcast, and Gerry Dulac mentioned it earlier this week: it’s reasonable to assume that David DeCastro will be a starter from Day 1. (The only issue is whether it’ll be at right or left guard; the Trib’s Mark Kaboly mentioned that he heard it’ll be the right side with Ramon Foster moving to spots to his left.)

But second-round pick Mike Adams will likely spend his rookie season on the bench. Ultimatley, the front five will look something like this: Adams/Colon/Pouncey/DeCastro/Gilbert with the understanding that we can swap the tackles and guards. But the PG’s Gerry Dulac asks for some patience in the meantime.

“Let’s hold off on the hosannas and this notion that (Adams) should immediately be penciled into the starting lineup. Or, even more incredulous, move Marcus Gilbert back to right tackle this season to make room for Adams at left tackle. Adams is not ready to be a starter in the NFL because he needs to get stronger. He did only 19 reps in the 225-pound bench press at the combine, a low and disappointing number for an offensive lineman. Adams should be a starting tackle for a long time and, with DeCastro, automatically elevates the talent on the line. But not right now.”

I don’t think anybody would disagree with that, especially if the Steelers can re-sign Max Starks and add some depth behind Gilbert on the left side. And, as countless others have pointed out, give the Steelers’ a reason to part ways with Jonathan Scott and save a few bucks in the process.

In related news, ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley, formerly of the Baltimore Sun, takes a crack at the Steelers’ 2012 starting lineup. Other than the aforementioned discussion about Adams’ place on the depth chart, I don’t think there’s anything controversial here. Isaac Redman will be the running back to start the season and Keenan Lewis should win William Gay’s vacated cornerback job. If that goes to either Cortez Allen or Curtis Brown, all the better. Finally, in case you missed it: two more draft-related videos. First, Tomlin and Colbert recap the Steelers’ selections, and then highlights of every player. You’re welcome.

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  • Andy Lee

    Adams – Decastro – Pouncey – Colon – Gilbert is the best 5, and should be the starting 5!

  • Drobviousso

    I don’t understand all the expectations that Adams is going to be ready to play game 1 as a rookie.  The guy’s got all the genetic potential in the world, and OT is a position that rookies have historically been able to do well at, but we haven’t seen what this guy looks like lined up against pro players.

    I’m taking a wait and see approach till the end of the pre-season.

    Honestly, I’m shocked we haven’t heard more speculation on Stark’s health status.  Even if we wanted to sign him, is he even going to be able to play?

  • DJAnyReason

    If we expect to move Colon inside, we ought to do so sooner rather than later.  Additionally, I don’t think having Gilbert jump left than right is going to be helpful for his development.  So, if the future theory is Adams-DeCastro-Pouncey-Colon-Gilbert, I’d do X-Decastro-Pouncey-Colon-Gilbert this year.  Even if X is Jonathan Scott, then we just have Decastro shade left in pass pro and help out Scott.

    Adams could be our starting LT this year – which isn’t to say he’d be a good starting LT this year, but that he could be better than Jonathan Scott.  The dings on Adams are that he struggled with speed edge rushers from time to time, and wasn’t great in the run game.  The first of those is troubling, but when’s the last time we’ve had a tackle that didn’t struggle with edge speed rushers? Marvel? Wayne Gandy? Not like Scott would be much better and, again, we can shade blocking assignments as needed to give him some help.

    As for the 2nd – well, in the modern NFL poor run blocking isn’t the end of the world.  Plus, we can scheme such that we run more to the right, or we give him some help in running to the left (pull a guard, send the TE in motion, etc.).

    In an ideal world, I think we’d start someone else at LT, but I don’t think the case against Adams as opening day LT is as strong as some people make it out to be.  Our tackles have sucked for so long that it wouldn’t take much for Adams to be the best option we have.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mpfrazer Mike Frazer

    I do think it necessary to point out that Kugler has already stated that he is hesitant to move Gilbert from right to left, per CBS Sports.  That would indicate that someone other than Gilbert will play at left. I see the following lineup from left to right:

    (Adams or Gilbert)|DeCastro|Pouncey|(Colon or Foster)|(Gilbert or Colon)

    If I had to speculate I would go with a best-case of Adams wowing the crap out of people in camp and winning the job.  That would make my ideal line:


    I don’t buy the DeCastro-to-RG stuff for one reason: he’s more athletic than Foster, and our LG does most of the pulling, a la Alan Faneca.  And, given a fair shake at staying in the starting lineup but knowing Gilbert is the future for us at RT, Colon then beats out Foster for RG.

    Adams’ lack of size could potentially play to his favor, as he may be more mobile and, therefore, more capable of taking on speed rushers.

    • DJAnyReason

      6’7″ 323 isn’t exactly a “lack of size.”  Adams, weirdly, has the profile of a smaller guy (quick & agile, good at pass pro, struggles in run blocking) but he’s certainly not lacking for size.  I think that’s part of why he grades out so well – he’s certainly got the frame to excel in run blocking, so he’s potentially a plus-plus tackle.

      • http://profiles.google.com/mpfrazer Mike Frazer

        He has the frame but there has been talk that he needs to add some muscle.  323 isn’t hard to achieve at 6’7″, he just needs to add some strength.  Particularly core and in his legs to help him gain leverage in run blocking.  He has the weight, it’s just not distributed in the best way for him to full excel at the position.  It was a bit misleading of a statement, as he is plenty big.  Just needs some pounds added at very specific places.

  • Intropy

    Extremely early prediction:
    QB1: Ben Roethlisberger
    QB2: Byron Leftwich
    QB3: Charlie Batch

    LT: Marcus Gilbert
    LG: Ramon Foster
    C: Maurkice Pouncey
    RG: David DeCastro
    RT: Willie Colon
    TE: Heath Miller

    T (backup) 1: Mike Adams
    C/G (backup) 1: Doug Legursky 
    OL (backup) 2: Trai Essex
    OL (backup) 3: Chris Scott
    TE2: David Johnson
    TE3: David Paulson / Weslye Saunders (once game 5 rolls around)

    WR1: Mike Wallace
    WR2: Antonio Brown
    WR3: Emmanuel Sanders
    WR4: Jerricho Cotchery
    WR5: Wes Lyons
    WR6: Toney Clemons

    HB1: Isaac Redman
    HB2 (change of pace): Jonathan Dwyer
    HB3 (third down): Baron Batch
    HB4: (change of pace 2/ backup): Chris Rainey
    HB5: John Clay

    LDE: Cameron Heyward
    NT: Steve McLendon
    RDE: Brett Keisel
    DE3: Ziggy Hood
    DE4: Corbin Bryant
    NT2: Alameda Ta’amu

    LOLB: LaMarr Woodley
    ILB (mack): Lawrence Timmons
    ILB (buck): Larry Foote
    ROLB: James Harrison
    OLB3: Jason Worilds (and none of this Timmons to OLB stuff)
    OLB4: Chris Carter
    ILB3: Stevenson Sylvester
    ILB4: Sean Spence

    CB1: Ike Taylor
    CB2: Keenan Lewis
    CB3: Cortez Allen
    CB4: Curtis Brown
    CB5: Myron ROlle
    SS1: Troy Polamalu
    FS1: Ryan Clark
    SS2: Ryan Mundy
    FS2: Will Allen
    S (backup) 5: Damon  Cromartie-Smith

    K: Shaun Suisham
    P: Drew Butler
    LS: Greg Warren

  • Canadian Steeler

    Personally I’d love to have Starks back, but I’d be surprised if it happens. Last year we only brought him back when Jon Scott was completely overwhelmed, and if we have serious problems this year, we’ll probably look at internal solutions (ie. Adams) before going back to Starks.

    I think we start (at least pre-season) with Gilbert – Foster – Pouncey – DeCastro – Colon. If all goes well, that’s how we start things off, with the possible exception of switching guards. We’d have decent enough depth in this scenario, but don’t discount Scott getting cut as he’s due something like 2.2 million this year. That’s way too much for a swing tackle who’s inactive in this scenario once Adams gets caught up.

    My favourite line-up to start the year would be re-signing Starks, and going with Starks – DeCastro – Pouncey – Colon – Gilbert. We could then have Legursky and Adams/Scott as gameday backups. Starks is only on one year deals at this point, so hopefully Adams is ready to start in 2013. 

    Of course, all this talk could be meaningless if we don’t get better luck with injuries this year. That’s another reason I want (healthy) Starks back, because injuries are bound to happen and I’d feel a lot more comfortable with Starks/Gilbert as the LT depth chart over Gilbert and Scott/Adams. 

    I think our cornerback depth chart goes something like 1. Ike 2. Lewis 3. Allen 4. Brown. From what we saw last year, Lewis and Allen both showed ability to play outside corner, but I’m a lot more interested to see what happens inside. From what I remember from last year’s draft, Brown was thought to be the most suitable as a nickel out of those 3. Allen did play pretty well when matched up on Gronkowski last year though, which was mostly (all?) inside, so maybe he could play nickel.

    We’re clearly pretty thin on corners at this point, especially those who can play inside. I might have to start up a Joe Burnett bandwagon.

  • Randy Steele
  • David

    OK, I’ll lend an uneducated guess:

    LT Gilbert
    LG DeCastro
    C Pouncey
    RG Foster
    RT Colon
    QB Ben
    RB Batch
    RB Redman
    WR Wallace
    WR Brown
    TE Miller

    DT Keisel
    NT Ta’amu
    DT Ziggy
    LOLB Woodley
    Mack Juan
    Buck Foote
    ROLB Silverback
    CB Ike
    CB Brown
    FS Clark
    SS Troy