Some believe in it, some don’t, it all depends on the perspective. the point is, for those out there clamoring for the Pittsburgh Steelers to spend a high round draft choice on a quality left tackle and kick Kelvin Beachum inside to guard, well you’re in for a rude awakening.
According to Pro Football Focus, left tackle Beachum was ranked as their 67th overall player of the 2014 season. Laugh now if you want to, rather at their ranking or PFF in general, but it’s also noteworthy they ranked wide receiver Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions as the 64th-best player. That’s some good company to be alongside for a player a lot of folks don’t seem to recognize just how good he is. Drafted primarily for his depth and versatility to play both guard and tackle, the team drafted Ohio State’s Mike Adams in the second round in 2012, who as of this writing, has been a massive disappointment.
“The Steelers really stumbled into a franchise left tackle, right? Not many would have seen the seventh-round pick as the solution back in 2012, but he has proven that with his best year to date,” PFF wrote. “He’s not a dominant run blocker, but you want your left tackle to slow edge rushers down and giving up just 24 quarterback disruptions all year shows Beachum is more than capable of that.”
With the new $99 million deal the Steelers front office recently gave quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, with incentives making it as high as $108 million, this is the kind of production the team needs from it’s blind-side protector of the franchise quarterback. The Steelers’ offense is like a Ferrari, and Roethlisberger is arguably the main cylinder that makes the engine run. Without someone like Beachum limiting the hits on him, and putting a revolving door like Adams at the spot will result in not only a loss on investment as Roethlisberger recovers from a horrific injury, it also sends the team home in December instead of it’s usual spots in January or February.
When most people think of a franchise left tackle, immediately comes to mind the 6-foot-6, 312- pound Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns or the 6-foot-9, 345-pound gargantuan Hall Of Fame Jonathan Ogden of the Baltimore Ravens. Not the 6-foot-3, 303-pound Beachum. Not only is he the shortest left tackle in the league, he’s the lightest as well.
In comparison, guard David DeCastro, the first rounder of the 2012 class, is 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds. And this is the position people want Beachum to play when he garners such high marks as a pass protector. He’s a throwback to the phrase “If the shoe fits, wear it” and although he’s about to receive a nice extension, it’ll unlikely be in the neighborhood of the premier, Pro Bowl tackles the NFL has to offer. As long as he keeps Roethlisberger standing upright in the pocket come the playoffs, I don’t think many fans in Steeler Nation will be complaining.