Due mostly to the fact that he was the Pittsburgh Steelers final draft pick this year, we’ve yet to talk much about edge-rusher Keion Adams. In fact, even Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert didn’t say much about the Western Michigan product during the team’s annual post-draft press conference.
On Tuesday, however, Colbert was a guest on ‘Movin’ the Chains’ on SiriusXM NFL Radio and during his interview he talked a little more about Adams.
“Keion Adams, he came into his own as a starter this year,” Colbert said. “[He] played mostly with his hand on the ground. They stood him up here and there, but for the most part he was a defensive end. But as we do with most of those outside backer candidates, we just think, ‘Ok, can they stand up?’ And at his pro day he did some of that type work. But what we were looking for was someone that could run the edge and still learn it. So, he ended up with 7.5 sacks. He had Jimmy Williams, a former No. 1 pick with the Detroit Lions, coaching him and Jimmy did a real nice job in upping this kid’s pass-rush game.”
Jimmy Williams, as Colbert mentioned, coached Adams for just one season at Western Michigan as he was hired to be the school’s defensive line coach early in 2016. Williams, who spent 12 seasons in the NFL playing for several different teams, recorded 27.5 sacks during his professional career.
As for Adams, who measured in at his pro day at 6020, 247-pounds, he didn’t become a full-time starter until last season. He did, however, record 14.5 sacks over the course of his four seasons at Western Michigan with 13 of them coming during his final two years.
Adams’ pro day numbers resulted in a SPARQ score of 124.9 and that’s the same score former Auburn edge-rusher Carl Lawson registered at this year’s scouting combine. Lawson, by the way, was drafted this past weekend by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth-round.
The Steelers selection of Wisconsin product T.J. Watt in the first round of this year’s draft wasn’t totally unexpected. While Watt is obviously viewed as the potential heir apparent to veteran outside linebacker James Harrison on the right side moving forward, Adams will need to show a lot between now and the final round of cuts just to make the final 53-man roster.
In short, Adams will not only need to show the Steelers he has upside as an edge-rusher, he’ll also need to endear himself to special teams coordinator Danny Smith right away as that will be his quickest way to secure a roster spot.
At worst, Adams can likely be stashed on the Steelers practice squad for a little while should he ultimately not make the final 53-man roster out of training camp. Colbert put it best Tuesday when talking about Adams’ future.
“You take a kid and there’s some raw talent there,” said Colbert of Adams. “There was some production there and hopefully maybe he can turn into something.”
After Adams was selected by the Steelers he immediately posted a straightforward message on Twitter.
“I love to prove the haters wrong,” he posted.