Say this for the Steelers’ rookie class: its members are playing their roles well. This remains, for better or for worse, a team defined by its heavy veteran presence. But several rookies are nicely developing. Rookie OT Mike Adams, the club’s second-round pick, has received extended playing time of late with starting ORT Marcus Gilbert (foot) hurting. The Steelers are “optimistic about (Adams’) talent level, what he’s capable of being," head coach Mike Tomlin said leading up to Week Eight. Adams moves well, and he’s solid in the running game, two attributes highlighted when he got to the second level and blocked Bengals MLB Rey Maualuga on an 11-yard TD run by fellow rookie Chris Rainey in Week Seven. There’s no indication that Adams will keep the job, we’re told, but continued experience and improvement from him would be positives, and he did his job well in the big win at Pittsburgh.
Rainey, a fifth-rounder from Florida, has shown promise as a returner and has begun to get a few more reps in the backfield because of injuries at the RB position. Though on the small side, Rainey is fast, strong and tough, and he’s taken a businesslike approach, we’re told. The Steelers have also received a nice contribution from seventh-round TE David Paulson, who has worked his way into becoming the second option at the position behind Heath Miller.
The Steelers’ most prominent rookie, ORG David DeCastro, is on injured reserve with a knee injury, though he’s eligible to return as soon as the Nov. 12 game vs. Kansas City.