For all the attention paid to Andrew Luck missing time in Indianapolis, perhaps no team lost more to the league’s quarter-system rule than the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Their top two picks, first-round guard David DeCastro (Stanford) and second-round tackle Michael Adams (Ohio State) had on-field debuts delayed until Tuesday because of the rule that prevents rookies from joining teams until their college class graduates. And perhaps because of that rule, they started working with the second team.
“I’m comfortable with where they are and what they were able to display today,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “They’re working on limited time. They need to hurry up to catch up.”
Tomlin, as every coach does, cautioned not to read too much into June depth chart notes. DeCastro will almost certainly be starting at right guard this year, while Adams has a chance to be the Steelers’ left tackle.
Pittsburgh opened minicamp with Marcus Gilbert at left tackle, Willie Colon at left guard, Maurkice Pouncey at center, Ramon Foster at right guard and Trai Essex at right tackle.
Gilbert started 15 games at right tackle last year, and could switch back, as Tomlin was hinting he could change the rotation soon.
Both DeCastro and Adams were given playbooks and video to study even though they couldn’t be with their team on the field, though they seemed to understand the silliness of the rule.
“I’m so happy to get here with these guys,” Adams said. “I kind of checked out of school a while ago. I just wanted to be here, be back with my team.”
That quote, as much as anything, exposes the silliness of the rule, which only seems to protect colleges’ desire to hang onto the illusion of the student-athlete.