In the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted offensive guard David DeCastro out of Stanford. The guard will have a lot of pressure on him to produce next season. Offensive line is the Steelers' biggest weakness even though the last offensive lineman they drafted in the first round--Maurkice Pouncey--became an immediate Pro Bowl player. Pouncey's success will probably result in fans expecting the same. Realistically DeCastro probably won't be as good as Pouncey as quickly but he should be able to produce. With every high pick in the NFL Draft, Steelers' fans just hope he's not another Limas Sweed.
Often we tend to put a bigger emphasis on teams and players that have played recently because they are still fresh in our mind. Maybe it is because of that way of thinking that I say Sweed has to be the biggest NFL Draft bust in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sweed had a remarkable college career at the University of Texas. The Longhorns' receiver recorded 545 yards and 5 touchdowns as a sophomore. That season Sweed had a game-winning catch to beat Ohio State and recorded eight receptions in the BCS National Championship game against USC. More on that game later.
Sweed had 801 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in his junior season including touchdown catches in seven consecutive games. Sweed got injured his senior year but was healthy when he played in the Senior Bowl and went to the NFL Combine. His stock still fell due to his injury and the Steelers thought they got a steal when the first or second most talented wide receiver in the 2008 NFL Draft dropped all the way to the 2nd round and the 53rd pick.
The Steelers thought they acquired a great addition because Sweed was similar to Plaxico Burress in size and Pittsburgh hadn't replaced him since he left to play for the New York Giants. Sweed would work his way up to the fourth receiver in his rookie season, would play in 11 games and catch six passes for 64 yards. The following season Sweed would catch just one pass for five yards in nine games. Meanwhile, a rookie named Mike Wallace caught 39 passes for 756 yards, an impressive 19.4 yards per catch.
Sweed wouldn't play another game for the Steelers. During his tenure with the Steelers--if you can call it that--Sweed had problems with astigmatism, personal problems and an Achilles tendon injury. Remember that BCS National Championship game that Sweed played in? He had 8 receptions for 65 yards in that game. In his entire career with the Steelers--and his entire NFL career so far--Sweed had just 7 receptions for 69 yards.
Sweed was once supposed to be the predecessor to Burress so it's fitting that after he was done in Pittsburgh he went to New York. Sweed just tried out for the Giants but the tryout did not go well and it seems he will not make the team. Fortunately for the Steelers Wallace became the team's best receiver and they would also draft Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders the next few drafts.
All stats were found at NFL.com
The last several generations of Lee Andrew Henderson's family were Pittsburgh born and even though he was born in Alabama he has been a long time fan of the Pirates, Steelers and Panthers. Lee Andrew Henderson can be found on Twitter at @LeeAHenderson
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