Colbert Trades Character Risk For Measurables With Second Round Selection Of Adams

Steeler Nation received a surprise Thursday night in round one of the 2012 NFL draft when Stanford guard David DeCastro fell right into the lap of the Pittsburgh Steelers at 24. If that surprise was not enough, the Steelers surprised us again in round two with the selection of troubled Ohio State tackle Mike Adams with the 24th pick of round two.

The 6 foot, 7 inch left tackle tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine back in February and most thought he might be off the Steelers draft board at that time. I know I did. The reality is he was. General Manager Kevin Colbert told the media following the selection of Adams that he told the Ohio State product they had removed him from their draft board when he showed up for his pre draft visit. Adams reportedly had called the Steelers asking for a meeting and they obliged him with it. During his time in Pittsburgh the Steelers gave him a list of demands to meet prior to the draft to get himself back on their board and he met them according to Colbert. One of those requirements was reportedly counseling and Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that another stipulation might have been some sort of bonus deferment, but that has yet to be confirmed by the Steelers.

The positive drug test at the combine was not the first character red flag for Adams either. He was suspended for two games as a sophomore after being caught with drug paraphernalia. Those charges were ultimately dropped when the tests on his pipe confirmed it was used for tobacco and he passed a voluntary drug test. Adams was also suspended for the first five games of the 2011 schedule by the NCAA for his involvement in the Ohio State “Tattoo Five” scandal. He was one of several Buckeye players that had sold their 2008 Big Ten Conference championship rings memorabilia and taking discounts from a tattoo parlor

Now you can\’t buy the prototypical size that Adams has, but I must admit the tape I have watched of him is very lukewarm at best and very uninspiring. I have noted in past podcast that I thought he lacks core strength and 19 reps on the bench, long arms and all, backs that up. Yes, I know, bad wrist! Always a reason, right? He has the agility for the position and displays good footwork, but his run blocking leaves a lot to be desired. Offensive line coach Sean Kugler also said during his press conference Friday night that Adams is going to have to work on his entire game and added that he’s far from being a finished product. I agree with that 100%. He doesn\’t use that reach of his to his advantage and is not very aggressive in pass protection either. I suspect Adams will get chaffing from the saddle he wears this summer as Kugler will surely be riding him for months.

Colbert said Adams would have been a first round prospect if not for the character issues, but that is not saying much when you look at the top tackles in this class in my opinion. Adams is a long way away from starting at left tackle in the NFL and he will cut his teeth initially on the right side as a backup, assuming he stays out of trouble, and takes to the coaching. It is very hard to judge a player you don\’t even know because he smokes a little weed and makes some teenage-like bad decisions. I must admit though that spending a second round pick on a player such as Adams makes me wince. He really is one bad misstep away from being a bust in my eyes.

I know that the NFL is not full of saints, but it is not often that players such as Adams change their stripes. Perhaps defensive end Cameron Heyward, a former teammate of Adams\’, can get through to him, but why didn\’t that happen in Columbus. It would be interesting to hear Heywards\’ thoughts on Adams, and I assume we will get them at some point in the near future. Colbert obviously has done an extensive background check on Adams, and admitted as much Friday night during his press conference. I believe everyone deserves a second chance if they are contrite and it seems that Adams really stepped up to plate to make it known that he was willing to do anything to play for his favorite team.

If Adams had the same level of talent at tackle that Santonio Holmes had as a wide receiver when he came out of OSU, I could understand the calculated risk with Adams, but he doesn\’t. It is way too early to pass judgment on this pick, but it certainly is risky to spend an early draft pick on a  player with a flawed character that just has measurables on his side as an asset. In Colbert I always trust, but I will be doing so with my fist clinched. Hopefully Adams makes Colbert look like an excellent judge of future character and hopefully the talent catches up with the measurables. Right now it looks like Colbert made a trade in round two though as he traded character risk for measurables.

  • zbluez1

    Risky Pick IMHO, would have preferred “reaching” for Massie, who is as of yet not drafted granted, but, People have not referred to Mike Adams as “five cent head” for no reason at all. He has a history of making profoundly dumb decisions and either not taking the physical side of his game seriously or not having the skill set he is rated as having, I am betting on the former, but none the less Colbert is out on a limb with this one having said that missing on early round picks can set a team back 3 to 4 years. Okay so he is a gamble, so were others that the Steelers have drafted, that said, Coach K. isn’t the only one who has to ride herd on this kid, he needs to be in the weight room as constantly as possible, and if even more possible in one on ones until he drops and gets back up again. He needs to be worked and worked hard, shown what it takes to be a Steeler and then held accountable above that line. Then and maybe only then can Colbert climb in from that limb, otherwise he is thinking of protecting a “100 million dollar man” with one with a “five cent head” and even a musician can tell you that isn’t good economics.

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    I didn’t really like the pick, and it was odd for me to see Kevin Colbert going on the defensive about his choice. But the off the field issues that follow this kid had to be adressed, as too many bad offseasons are still fresh in the minds of all steeler fans. Bottom line though, he is a Steeler and I for one hope that he becomes a good one. This team will accept him well; Ben could be a good lesson in maturity to him and all you can hope is that he commits to the program. If that’s the case our O-line in a year should be left to right: Adams, Decastro, Pouncey, Foster, Gilbert. This year, I think Gilbert starts on the left side and since him and Foster have good chemistry working together, Foster plays left guard with Castro staying at right guard. And in a year I think Decastro will keep Adams on his game playing side by side on the left with Foster and Gilbert manning the right side. Just my theories Dave, what do you think?
    I did like the linebacker we picked up in the third, i believe in the Podcast he was reffered to as a poor man’s Jonathan(10k)Vilma. I guess now we know who it is they were checking out at the Miami Pro Day.
    I am kinda shocked Taamu is still there and is Chapman too much of a medical risk?
    I hope they still take a good look at Miller from the U (rb), Greg Childs (wr), Chase Ford (te), maybe even Fangupo (nt). I think the Qb they were high on is still there from Michigan State, but i’ve seen maybe one highlight of his so I can’t comment. I like Van Bergen a lot as well as some of the writters so i hope we get him somewhere as well. Looking forward to tomorrow, Thank you

  • Protectionp9

    Man, you are really hard on Adams. The best thing about the Steeler Organization is the value of respect. The old school way. There will be divas and there will be “business”. But I am stoked Adams wants to be a Steeler. Our guys will teach him the Steeler way. At 6’7 325 pounds and still growing. He has 34″ arms and huge hands. And he’s gonna get stronger. I’ll take his intangibles over mistakes he made back in college any day. A first round draft pick at 56! You are just being too hard on him.
    We get an A for the first three rounds. Spence will be sick. Colbert still has some take over juice to sprinkle on this draft. I can’t wait to read Dave’s article on our new NT, CB or S (if Spence doesn’t take it), DT’s and RB.

  • Osemele or Brooks would have also been MUCH better picks.

  • Cahboom909

    2nd rated tackle on my board behind kalil. Kid is the BEST pass blocking tackle since long Andre has excellent movement and hand technique when healthy. Needs to get stronger and improve his run blocking but its still decent. I’m stoked about this pick and the potential to become the best lt since long, the knocks are obvious but if he can stay clean and hit the weight room he will be a top 5 ot in the future.)

  • Yes he did trade character risk for measurables and “talent” (I don’t see the talent though) and he will regret it. Add Mike Adams to the long list of bad 2nd round picks the Steelers have accumulated under Kevin Colbert. That list now includes Kendrell Bell (totally fell apart after his rookie year), Antwaan Randle El (return specialist with one shining moment in the Super Bowl), Alonzo Jackson (disaster), Ricardo Colclough (disaster), Bryant McFadden (below average corner for a 2nd rounder), Anthony Smith (most notable moment was talking crap before a game and then getting abused by Tom Brady ALL game), Limas Sweed (disaster) and Adams (will be a disaster. mediocre talent at best, total idiot off the field). Jason Worilds needs to come around soon or else he’ll be the next one to make the list. Marvel Smith was good and LaMarr Woodley has been great. Too early to tell yet on Marcus Gilbert, but I think he’ll be a serviceable right tackle (not sold on him as a left tackle).

    For those who want to defend the McFadden and Randle El picks by saying they were “contributors”, I counter by saying I expect 2nd round picks to be solid long-term starters and so should ANY fan with half a clue. Those two didn’t provide that, hence they’re busts of 2nd round picks. Nothing new under Colbert though. Colbert needs to start using the 2nd round to find GOOD players instead of using them to take high risks on a moron like Adams or players who don’t last past their rookie contracts here. You take risks when you have a team with outstanding depth just about everywhere (Steelers don’t have this) and don’t have a multitude of other immediate needs that could be filled with MUCH less riskier players (doesn’t apply to the Steelers). These are the type of picks that should be used in the mid-to-late rounds when you’re just looking for potential and if you get lucky, you strike gold (ala the Steelers with Antonio Brown and Brett Keisel just to name two guys). If not, then it’s not as big a deal since most late rounders end up doing nothing. Colbert needs to begin using the 2nd round like it’s the 1st instead of using it like it’s a mid-to-late round selection.

  • Ta’amu is still there because he’s horrible.
    Chapman is still there because of the medical risk, but some team (hopefully the Steelers) will get a major steal with him.

  • Harold

    I respectfully disagree with some of the points in your article.

    You labeled Adam’s game tape as “very lukewarm at best”. I believe that is inaccurate. I have seen tape from 2010 when Adams absolutely dominated JJ Watt. Stoned him cold, time after time. I have seen tape from 2011 where Adams showed very good technique, very nimble footwork, and was virtually unbeatable on the outside against very good competition. I have seen tape at the Senior Bowl (both practice and game) where on multiple occasions Adams successfully withstood the top moves from the top pass rushers (mano-a-mano). However, I have also seen tape where he was a touch slow, off balance, lazy, riding high, bending at the waist. In my opinion that should be labeled as “inconsistent”. Big difference. Colbert and Kuglar said they had him graded in the first round and I would be inclined to take their evaluation over yours or mine, especially mine. 🙂

    When you say his run blocking “leaves a lot to be desired” I think that might be an exaggeration. Adams is credited with an impressive amount of both knockdown blocks and TD leading blocks (which is the most significant run blocking stat IMO because defenses are typically geared to stop the run in goal-line formations).

    When you say Adams having a first round grade doesn’t mean as much because the quality of tackles in 2012 was down, I can’t say I’m buying that. I think his grade stands alone.

    Where I do agree with you is that this is a highly risky pick. There are years’ worth of evidence of Adams’ stupid decision making. And basically one week’s worth of evidence of corrective behavior. I believe there are some similarities with the Santonio Holmes situation in that it’s not just about the weed it’s about the irresponsibility and lack of discipline in other areas of life. That sort of thing typically does not change over night.

    I won’t try to project what Adams will or won’t do, but the one thing that gives me hope is Adam’s apparent love for the Steeler organization. I can see it, and hear it, and feel it, when he talks. He has dreamed of being a Steeler his entire life. His family and friends have dreamed of him being a Steeler for their whole lives. He wants to be part of the Steeler family. And I think that is a bigger motivating factor than money or bad habit cravings.

    Just my opinion.

  • Jim

    No offense intended but, why don’t you wait a few months before deciding that anybody is going to regret anything. He has the natural talent—-the one thing you can’t really gain through coaching or grow into by maturity. Is it ever smart to get in trouble when you’re a kid? No, and yet, millions of kids do and then go on to lead solid, productive lives. What exactly did he do that shows bad character? Did he steal or get into drunken fights or beat his girlfriend? I haven’t heard any of those things. He sold something that he owned. Stupid NCAA hypocrisy. He smoked some pot. Dumb thing to do but certainly not anything to indicate bad character. For god’s sake, he’s in college. As someone who has managed people for many years, I would give much greater emphasis to him proactively meeting with a group of people looking for reasons to have nothing to do with him and convincing them to give him another look. That’s character.

  • SteelersDepot

    OSU fan? Tape is not Joe Thomas like, sorry. Is he talented at times? yes. But he runs so hot and cold. Great measurables and if he had lived up to them he would have been a top 5 pick. Character flag aside, GREAT tackles do not slide down to the end of the second. He is a top tackle in a watered down class and hopefully he dedicates himself to his craft and plays into those measurables of his. If so, he would be a hell of a tackle.

  • RW

    I honestly think that Adams was the best possible pick for them – it’s so difficult to find a quality left tackle for a team that drafts at the end of the first round every year, let alone the second round. We forget sometimes that college athletes, particularly ones who come from low socio-economic conditions, are only trying to do their best to stay where they are. Plus, as a college athlete you are universally held to a higher standard than the rest of the college population. I think Colbert will have set strict terms, including perhaps a deference of the signing bonus, which makes this pick safe and valuable. If he becomes an anchor at LT, we’ll look back and talk about this as one of their best picks in history given Ben’s injury history. If not, it’ll be “well, it was worth a shot”, because, again, LT is the hardest position (next to QB) for a consistently good team to draft. Kudos to Colbert and his staff for finding value in the 2nd round.

  • WELL SAID!!!