Even with 13 starts now to his name as the starting left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, there are still question marks about third-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum, at least in regards to his potential as a franchise player.
His strength has not, and likely never will be, the running game—although left tackles rarely specialize in run blocking. While he is usually technically sound and is aware of his surroundings, he doesn’t often get much push.
Pass protection is a more passive, reactive blocking assignment, however, and Beachum has done well for the most part over his young career in this area. It’s certainly been his area of strength through two games this year, only giving up a few pressures and no sacks thus far.
Beachum worked primarily against Terrell Suggs in the last game, but the only true pressure was drawn by Elvis Dumervil, on a play that wound up not counting because of a roughing the passer call when Ben Roethlisberger was decleated on the third play of the game.
Beachum was more or less victimized on the play by Dumervil, even though he wasn’t ultimately responsible for giving up the sack, which came from a free rusher after the initial pressure.
But the left tackle allowed Dumervil to get his hands inside, and then was bull rushed back into the pocket. The only reason he was able to stop his backpedal is because he was pushed back into Roethlisberger and the linebacker became more interested in the quarterback.
Beachum fared better against Suggs, the former Defensive Player of the Year, rushing off the left end. Exploding out of a wide stance, the linebacker forced Beachum to kickslide to match, and he did.
While Suggs was able to drive him back, Beachum worked him around the pocket under Roethlisberger scrambled to flip the ball to Le’Veon Bell. Of course, Suggs could see what Roethlisberger was doing, while Beachum could not, putting him at a disadvantage.
Later on in the same drive, Suggs kept his wide stance, but this time cut inside. While it initially caught Beachum off-base, he was ultimately able to recover just enough, as can be seen in this still, to buy Roethlisberger time to throw, even though it wound up going wide and incomplete.
The Steelers got one last crack at the ball at the end of the first half, but it got off to a slow start with this one-yard carry from Bell.
Beachum this time worked inside against backup right defensive end Pernell McPhee, who was able to use his reach to fend off Beachum as he worked down the line toward the running back, and was able to make the tackle, along with Suggs, who’d gotten by the pulling Ramon Foster.