LATROBE — Steelers rookie offensive linemen David DeCastro and Mike Adams have endured the grind of NFL training camp for two weeks, all along just waiting for the opportunity to "hit someone else."
Well, worry not.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said they won't have too long to do so come Thursday night.
Tomlin on Tuesday officially named DeCastro and Adams starters for Pittsburgh's preseason opener in Philadelphia against the Eagles. DeCastro, the No. 24 overall draft pick, will start at right guard. Adams, the second-round pick, will be at left tackle.
"They've had good moments and some not-so-good moments," Tomlin said. "That is the process that is team development and individual development. But both guys have worked extremely hard, both guys finish and they're smart young men. We'll see more about them, and of course we'll know more about them by Thursday night."
The Steelers have high hopes for their top two draft picks and were open to either or both being in the lineup for the season opener Sept. 9 at Denver.
It's uncharacteristic, however, for Pittsburgh to start rookies for the preseason opener. The team has started a rookie on the offensive line each of the past two seasons, but center Maurkice Pouncey wasn't named a starter until the third preseason game in 2010 and Marcus Gilbert didn't take over at right tackle last season until the second game of the regular season.
Gilbert was given the job when Willie Colon was put on injured reserve due to a torn triceps. It was an injury to Colon — this time, a more minor one — that opened up the start for DeCastro.
One of two Steelers ruled out already for the Eagles due to injury — defensive end Cameron Heyward the other — Colon injured an ankle Friday. Ramon Foster was moved over to Colon's new left guard spot, leaving right guard open for DeCastro.
"It came up quick," DeCastro said. "I'm excited to get ready to go and ready to hit someone else other than the Steelers. I just want to have fun, play the game and enjoy it."
DeCastro protected No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Andrew Luck, at Stanford. The Steelers were elated he fell to them on draft day after many projections had DeCastro going much higher. Pittsburgh snared a similar perceived steal of Adams in Round 2. But that one was likely more due to the fact Adams' stock plummeted after he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine.