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.