Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum refers to his draft position as ‘7D’. That’s because he was the fourth selection the Steelers made in the seventh round when they drafted him in 2012. He followed behind wide receiver Toney Clemons, tight end David Paulson, and cornerback Terrence Frederick. None of them made it to 2015 in the NFL, with anybody, let alone Pittsburgh.
But Beachum is still going strong after 11 seasons and numerous stops along the way. Yet he certainly hasn’t forgotten his four years in Pittsburgh. Andrew Fillipponi for 93.7 The Fan caught up with him at the Super Bowl and they talked old times, Beachum revealing that he’s still in contact with many, many people from his Pittsburgh days.
Then it came time to talk about the games. He was there for arguably the height of the Steelers’ offense, or at least part of it, particularly the 2014 and 2015 seasons. “We had everything”, he stated repeatedly, more than half a dozen times. “You look back on your career and you’re like, ‘Man, that was our window, and we didn’t capitalize on it’”.
One of three offensive linemen the Steelers drafted in 2012, Beachum had a steep uphill climb to relevance. Even after he had an awful preseason, however, the team didn’t give up on him and let him go. He ended up starting the final five games of the year at right tackle after Marcus Gilbert, and then second-round pick Mike Adams, both suffered season-ending injuries.
By October of his second year, he had a full-time starting job at left tackle over Adams, a job he held until he tore his ACL six games into the 2015 season, the end of his rookie contract. He’s played seven seasons with three other organizations since then, starting every single game he’s played in.
But it’s hard not to look back at the missed opportunities in the beginning of his career as he approaches the end. Although he said he has no intentions of retiring anytime soon, he also recognizes that he hasn’t really been anywhere close to a championship. He’s only played in two postseason games his entire career, and one was all the way back in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers averaged 27.3 points per game in 2014, going 11-5 and winning the AFC North. Top 10 in every relevant passing stat, if not top five, and middle-of-the-road rushing. They sustained drives, protected the ball, converted on third down.
And they were blown out by the Baltimore Ravens in the Wildcard Round, 30-17. The 3-to-1 turnover margin didn’t help. The offensive line struggled to hold Baltimore’s pass rush at bay, as well. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times when he only averaged two sacks per game during the regular season.
Now, the team actually had more playoff success a year later while Beachum was on the Reserve/Injured List. You might recall this as the year they beat the Cincinnati Bengals thanks to Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones. And you might also recall the fumble by Fitzgerald Toussaint against the Denver Broncos in the next round, who went on to win the Super Bowl.