The Pittsburgh Steelers are counting on third-year tackle Kelvin Beachum to man the blind side on the offensive line this season after playing the position for 11 games in 2013. Mike Adams was supposed to be the left tackle a year ago, but it didn’t take the team long to realize they would be better off with Beachum there, even if he is not an ideal candidate.
Beachum experienced mixed success as a starter, benefitting significantly when the offense went to a quicker pace and utilized shorter passes that helped dramatically reduce the number of sacks that Ben Roethlisberger took during the second half of the season.
The former seventh-round compensatory pick certainly took his lumps during this preseason, having a particularly bad stretch during the second and third games, but he did close off the exhibition period with a solid showing.
On the Steelers’ second offensive play of the game, they ran Dri Archer off the left side of the formation. Beachum allowed defensive end Mario Addison to take himself out of the play, getting himself caught upfield as the back snuck inside between left tackle and left guard. Archer was out of his reach by the time he escaped Beachum.
Two plays later, he showed well in pass protection the far side of a roll out pass to tight end Michael Palmer. While the play was unsuccessful, gaining only one yard, Beachum covered the back side well against Addison, walking him along the edge before fullback Will Johnson picked up the block and chipped the defensive end.
At the end of the first quarter, the Steelers ran a wide receiver screen to Darrius Heyward-Bey and asked Beachum to get out to the perimeter to block for it. Markus Wheaton was able to pick off the nickel back, and while Heyward-Bey had to cut inside to escape the corner, Beachum came in and leveled him to cut off further pursuit.
The play gained eight yards, and on second and two to begin the second quarter, he stuck with defensive end Kony Ealy. While Ealy was able to get inside, Beachum did enough to fend him off and keep him on the perimeter of the play.
On the next play, he chipped on the defensive tackle before trying to block Chase Blackburn at the second level, but wasn’t able to stick with it. Had he made the block, it likely would have resulted in a bigger gain than six yards.