With the 24th Selection in the 2012 NFL Draft... The Steelers Trade Up

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02: Andrew Luck #12 and David DeCastro #52 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after Luck threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz #86 in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

You don't need to be Jimmy Johnson, dangling Herschel Walker in front of a naive Vikings organization to enact the concept of duplicity in the 2012 NFL Draft.

You simply need to be in the right spot, just as someone else's right player becomes available. By handing in a few extra picks, a team can move up to grab a player they feel they need moreso than the other players available.

It could go up, and it could go down. The "up" this year, as far as Pittsburgh is concerned, centers around Stanford offensive guard David DeCastro. The question isn't the talent or the need, it's the price.

A smart and mobile guard, DeCastro would start from Day 1, filling arguably the Steelers' biggest position of need. The question in regards to trading up isn't usually about the talent of the player a team would draft, but rather, what they'll need to give up to get him.

In the Steelers' case for DeCastro, he may simply be out of reach. It's a strong team, top to bottom, but there are some obvious holes, ones that need to get plugged quickly. While a good portion of SteelerNation suggests the need to draft 2012 starters in the top three rounds of the draft, such skill and efficiency in personnel evaluation is extremely difficult to obtain. A team starting three rookies drafted in the first three rounds is typically not coming off a 12-4 season, but rather, heading toward a 6-10 season.

Using that logic, if DeCastro is truly a second coming of Steve Hutchinson, locking up that kind of player can be worth a few less picks in this draft.

The problem is, the Steelers aren't the only ones likely to see DeCastro as a very positive addition to their team. There isn't a franchise that wouldn't benefit from the addition of the 6-foot-4, light-footed and highly intelligent interior offensive lineman. Because of that, DeCastro could become to become the highest drafted guard since Chris Naeole went 10th overall to New Orleans in 1997.

Taking a guard between picks 15-19 has been sort of en vogue the last four years. In 2008, the Chiefs took Branden Albert No. 15 overall (he was a guard at the University of Virginia but has played left tackle for the Chiefs). Mike Iupati went 17th overall to San Francisco in 2010 and Miami selected Mike Pouncey (plays center for the Dolphins) 15th overall in 2011.

It's hard to see Kansas City passing on DeCastro at 11 or 12. The Chiefs and Seattle are subject to a coin flip at the Combine Feb. 22 for the rights to the 11th pick.

Going off Jimmy Johnson's Trade Chart (the concept, if not the exact numbers, are what teams use to weigh trading decisions) suggests jumping ahead to No. 12 from No. 24 would cost the Steelers their first, second and fourth round picks in this year's draft. It would probably have to be a first, second and third to move to the 11th spot.

Or, a bit more than the Steelers gave up to leap from 27 to 16 (first, third and sixth) to draft USC SS Troy Polamalu in 2003.

Incidentally, that trade was with Kansas City.

It may just simply be that DeCastro is out of reach. However, Kansas City has other needs (tackle), but DeCastro is a better prospect than any tackle who is likely to still be on the board at 11.

Considering no guard has gone as high as 11 in quite some time, it's possible he may fall, and the Steelers should consider trading up if it doesn't mean mortgaging this draft for his services.

This is the second part in a collaborative effort from the editorial staff at BTSC, providing some arguments behind possible positional directions the Steelers may go with their first round pick - currently scheduled for the 24th overall. These will be posted each day this week, and will not be distributed based on order of preference.

Part I - Wide Receiver

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