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.