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Kelvin Beachum Has Impressed Kevin Colbert With His Versatility & Intelligence


We have heard Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin utter the statement, “The more that you can do, the more that you can do,” more than once over the years. When it comes to seventh round draft pick Kelvin Beachum, he is doing just that.

Beachum has shown his versatility ever since the Steelers drafted him and recently received accolades from General Manager Kevin Colbert as a result. Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Sunday morning that Colbert said he was pleasantly surprised with the versatility that Beachum has shown thus far when asked if any player has stuck out to him so far this off-season. “I think he’ll be able to play guard and tackle, and some day he might be able to play center, said Colbert. “He’s a versatile, very intelligent kid. He was a left tackle at SMU. He’s probably a little undersized for tackle in the NFL, but he’s got the arm length and the feet. Whether he can do it at this level, who knows? But he’s athletic enough to play guard, and I think he’s smart enough to play center someday.”

That\’s pretty high praise for a rookie, let alone one that was selected in the seventh round. Beachum, who measured in at the combine at 6027, is indeed undersized to play left tackle at the next level, but his unique build that features long legs and 33 1/4 inch arms on a short torso made him an obvious prospect to move inside. That move inside did indeed happen and was reported during the week of the Steelers mini-camp. Inside is where he will likely see most of his reps moving forward when the Steelers report to training camp later next month.

The move inside in no way caught Beachum by surprise as he has known that the Steelers have had that in their plans for him ever since he was drafted. When asked if they had talked to him about it during his conference call after he was selected, Beachum said, “They did when I was there for the visit a couple of weeks ago, with the ability to swing at tackle if need be and just being a team player understanding what the Pittsburgh Steelers are all about.  It’s a team atmosphere, it’s about winning as a team and if we need you to play another position are you willing to play there and I’m all for it.”

The intelligent aspect that Colbert talks about when describing Beachum is not a shocker either. Following the draft Beachum was named to the 2012 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF). The Society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career.

In his five years of athletic eligibility at SMU, Beachum earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in liberal studies and was named to the Conference-USA All-Academic team. He also delivered the Commencement address to fellow 2012 graduates of Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development back in May. Beachum said in interview on Steelers.com, “I don’t know the statistics on how many people go into the NFL with their Masters, but to be able to succeed on the football field and in the classroom go hand in hand for me,” said Beachum. “You have to work hard on the football field and in the classroom just to be able to stay on the field.”

While Beachum certainly has work ahead him with the move inside, you can bet that he will not have any problems picking up the offense of Todd Haley. It will all come down to him mastering the little nuances of guard play and executing what he has learned. While the Steelers 53 man roster is anything but set this far out, few spots remain up for grabs on the offensive line. Beachum very well could be battling veteran Trai Essex for the last spot on the offensive line. Versatility is what has kept Essex around so long, so Beachum will have his work cut out for him.

Should Beachum not make the 53 man roster out of camp, he figures to be a near lock to make the practice squad as this point. With Doug Legursky, Ramon Foster and Essex all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents following the 2012 season, Beachum would be groomed to become the ultimate swing lineman for the 2013 season.

Versatility speaks volume on the Steelers offensive line and the SMU product looks to be a player that could play all five positions down the line should the need arise. He could also likely tutor the playbook to anyone that needs help as well. Want even more versatility? Beachum told me on the Terrible Podcast following the draft that he also received training as a long snapper at SMU from Frank Gansz, Jr., the special teams coach. Beachum never had to long snap in a game, but he was available to do so should the need had presented itself. Talk about the more that you can do? Tomlin must eat this kid up.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Jprankster2005

    I actually would like to see Beachum make the team……. Scott should be cut already…. With Essex,Starks,Foster Legurksy I don’t know if they will carry 10 OL but if they don’t sign Starks back or there is an injury I hope he would make the team over Scott…… But put him on Practice Squad and he can be valuable in the future

  • SteelerDave

    Beachum is a player who right after he was drafted I had a gut feeling about. An undersized, well educated, team first player from SMU. I doubt he would ever be a good LT at the pro level due to height and will never be a good RT due to lack of pure strength and weight. However, he is an excellent build for a LG or RG and obviously smart enough to also learn to play center. Essex will make the team because he can play RT and potentially LT as well as LG and RG. Legursky makes the team because he can play LG, C, RG and Foster makes the team because he can play RG, RT and LG.

    Sadly, Beachum is not of the physical size to stay an OT in the NFL or Scott would be gone. Next season look for us to draft a RT type around round 5 or 6 who also has the height needed to learn to play LT as our OT backup long termat RT and LT and Essex and Scott are gone. Beachum, after a year on the practice squad replaces Legursky and Beachum is mainly LG, C. Foster remains as our RG backup.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If he is getting such high praise…how do we know he will clear waivers to make the PS squad.

  • SteelersDepot

    This won’t be a problem in my opinion. remember that 31 other teams will be releasing players as well.

  • Jprankster2005

    It would be nice if they worked with him as a long snapper and he could make the team as the last OL guy and battle for that Long Snapper position as well…… We need all the youth we can get on this team……When you have youth you have lower payrolls and guys that can learn alot more……

  • Jprankster2005

    Going off the subject a little bit…… With Decastro as one of the top guards, I heard someone say the Kevin Zeitler was a better guard than Decastro who was taken 27th in the draft and they said they were going to take him in front of Decastro with the 21st pick…… Has anyone watched Zeitler, I know he was talked about as a possible guy we would of drafted…… Is he any better than Decastro if you have seen film on them both is what I’m asking….. Just curious to hear what your thoughts are……And If your sastified with Decastro over him….. I know I would rather have Decastro but gotta be honest never seen Zeitler play.

  • Dave L

    Sorry,a little of topic but just saw Jeff Demps get smoked at the olympic trials, any chance the steelers take a look at him. He mght change his mind about playing football again. All the Gators on the Steelers may sway him. Rainey, Wallace and Demps would cause nightmares for opposing defenses.

  • kevin

    Greg Cosell thought that Zeitler is a better prospect than Decastro by a little bit. He also thought Zeitler would fit the Steelers better. I have not developed an opinion one way or another, but I think Greg Cosell is one of the best in the business.

  • Haroldg

    If I were Beachum, I would be practicing LONG SNAPPING 5-6 hours a day. That is the spot on the 53 man roster that he could actually win. But even if he does go practice squad this year, having a versatile back up OG/OT who can also LS, will have a bright future on the Steelers.

  • Jprankster2005

    Well appreciate the feedback…… I don’t think it will matter, Both will probably turn out to be good and have long careers…….As long as Decastro is solid is all that matters…….

  • SteelerDave

    I watched tape on both and from what I could tell DeCastro is the best pulling OG by far whereas Zeitler is slightly better at pure straight ahead run blocking. Both are going to be excellent players, it is just the matter of using each to their strengths. What I like with having DeCastro is he can pull to the left amazingly well giving us more options in the run package and DeCastro has the intelligence and desire slightly more than Zeitler to learn and perfect his craft.

  • Wdmason

    I hope other teams arent reading this. I seem to remember losing practice squad players last year.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XBK7SSKCWKZ7F6RTJCVHABVI4 Steve Duncan

    We hear that every year, and nearly every year we lose a guy to someone else. It is not that far fetched at all.

  • SteelersDepot

    If you are referring to Crezdon Butler last year, he was not a rookie when claimed by the Arizona Cardinals and it was not surprising that Ray Horton, who was the Steelers defensive back coach when Butler was drafted, went after him. The same with Kraig Urbik, who was released the following training camp after his rookie year and claimed by the Bills.

  • SteelSpine

    The other day when Pittsburgh Tribune was the one to came up with that scoop, I figured that scoop would then make it to here. But this is good because then SteelersDepot readers can discuss it.

    Anyone who played LT in college that long but too small for tackle in pros, figure would get alotta scouts studying to see if he can move inside in pros, because LT is hardest OLine position – if can pass-block at LT then figure could pass-block inside. That one seemed to be a no-brainer to maybe move to LG, but so I hope the scouts for NFL-com are wrong:

    NFL-com Combine Profiles details why he wasnt drafted as a prospect for even inside in the pros. It says he is “soft, non-explosive type who struggles to get any push”. It says “he is a patty cake blocker” & “struggles in run blocking, which doesnt bode well for his projected move inside to guard.” That sounds like someone who is years away from being strong enough.

    I’m hoping he’s only a year away from being strong enough for LG so he can take over for Colon at LG when Steelers cut Colon a year from now. No nock on Willie Colon but his cap hit in 2013 is way overpaid for guard, therefore figure Steelers will cut Colon after this season. So we’ll need young LGs this year developing to then compete for that position a year from today. I have thought all-along Beachum was in the mix for that, a good signing of a FA because we didnt have much to lose.

  • SteelSpine

    I get your point. You might already know the reason he will clear waivers, it’s the reason he wasnt drafted by any team (see his profile on Steelers-com combine profiles which I copied to above). Fans of any team think their rookie FAs are steals & this happens when leave-out negatives of a rookie free agent. The reason odds are no team would sign him to their 53 man is because he doesnt figure to be able to play in NFL this year.

    Crezdon Butler was more ready to play last year than Beachum figures to be. That’s because Butler at that time could play nickel & start on special teams, vs Beachum doesnt figure to be ready to see any playing time during this regular season.

  • SteelSpine

    Long snapping for him, that’s a genius idea I hadnt read for this guy, nice! I notice JPrank picked up on your post too, I agree with both of ya regarding that one.

  • SteelerDave

    I think it is up to Beachum if he wants to totally dedicate himself to being the best pro he can be. If so then he does need to get into a strength program and work his tail off. He has the brains, he has the arm and leg length just lacks ideal strength and height. Five hours a day adding strength, five hours a day practicing long snapping and after a season on the PS he could well become a very valuable player.

    As for Colon I have also thought about his contract but if he is indeed healthy all season and makes a great conversion to LG then he is worth the money. If he again suffers an injury and as a result cannot play a full year at LG then yes we will have to cut him for 2013 or he will need to take a serious pay cut. I like Colon but reality is what it is.

    I’m crossing my fingers for Colon because we have more pressing needs for a 1st to 3rd round caliper draft pick next season, namely a safety to groom and perhaps a WR.

  • Jprankster2005

    Cool thanks….. I’m glad we have decastro anyway…

  • Tennbob

    What is all this FA talk about? Beachum was drafted in the 7th round. he was not an undrafted free agent.

  • Rich01

    The Steelers will keep 10 offensive lineman this year. For the same reason they kept 6 cornerbacks last year. We still need Essex’s Legursky’s and Foster’s experience for at least this year. All of them will be free agents next year. Can’t risk losing Beachum

  • Ahmad

    I can easily see Beachum becoming the new swingman on the line. Looks like this will be the last year in a Steelers uniform for Essex.

  • Fish

    We need a good backup LS, the one we have now isn’t too good. But he’s worth keeping around for the other things that he does :)

  • Wdmason

    I thought we lost some players that were headed to the practice squad last year. I think we lost a WR and a linebacker but you would know more than I and I dont know how to search for it.

  • Wdmason

    Im sure Im wrong lol

  • JAMESH

    Yeah. What Bob said.

  • SteelSpine

    Thanks. I stand corrected.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XBK7SSKCWKZ7F6RTJCVHABVI4 Steve Duncan

    I wasn’t referring to anyone specifically, I was stating that we almost always have one guy that really impresses that gets snatched by another team. If I were naming names and wanted to stick with a rookie, I could have listed Gibson a few years back. But the point is based on how they perform, not just their experience.

  • SteelersDepot

    Gibson was not released during the final cuts though, he made the team. He was waived in late October of 2010 to make room for McLendon because of injuries.

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