While the Pittsburgh Steelers may have gained some tangible evidence of improvement, improving their win total by three games and hosting a playoff game as a division champion for the first time in four seasons, there is no doubt that the team is far from a finished product.
No team, of course, is a finished product in the offseason. Every team loses players to free agency and retirement, and replaces them through the same free agency process, as well as the draft.
With all of the change that occurs during the offseason, it’s often difficult to predict how a particular team might fare. They may wind up holding the Lombardi trophy or the first overall draft pick when all is said and done.
In order to gain a better feel for not only the issues facing the team this year, but how those issues might play out, it’s useful to take the devil’s advocate approach. This is the optimistic side of the coin.
Question: How would Kelvin Beachum translate moving from tackle to guard?
I must admit that this is perhaps my favorite question posed thus far in this series of articles, because I feel it gets at the essence of the idea behind it. Kelvin Beachum is an interesting player for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the most interesting part about him is how differently he’s viewed by many observers.
However, I must stress that the topic here is entirely hypothetical, and I am merely discussing that hypothetical—not advocating for it nor suggesting it will happen. Nevertheless, the prospect of moving Beachum from left tackle, where he played throughout his college career, inside to guard has been a topic of discussion for a while, so it’s worth considering.
In order for that to happen, it would require the Steelers finding somebody suitable to play left tackle, whether that person is already on the roster or comes through the draft. The former is unlikely, and if the latter occurs, it will likely be at least a year before that player would move to the left side.
In the event that this does ever happen, however, how would Beachum translate to guard? After all, this is the position the Steelers talked about him potentially playing after drafting him. Even Willie Colon eventually moved from tackle to guard.
And there are some positive traits in his favor that would help Beachum make the transition, even if he has limited experience playing inside. His height, of course, is the most obvious advantage that he has, which would aid him in the leverage game against defensive interior players, rather than edge rushers.
Additionally, he has shown a surprising aptitude to get out on the edge, suggesting that Beachum could actually develop into a solid pulling guard, which would make the line ambidextrous in that regard. Ramon Foster has never truly taken to being on the move.
More than anything, however, is the fact that Beachum is an intelligent, determined young man who prepares and performs with a chip on his shoulder, and would dedicate himself to succeeding to the best of his abilities at any task. He has already shown that he can overcome his own deficiencies to become a legitimate starting left tackle, after all.