Rookie Kelvin Beachum Impresses In First NFL Start

While the spotlight is currently shining with good reason on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch following the improbable 23-20 win Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens, one player that isn\’t getting enough credit for his performance is rookie Kelvin Beachum, who made his first NFL start at right tackle in Baltimore with Mike Adams sidelined by an ankle injury.

The Steelers seventh-round draft pick out of SMU was saddled with the task of going up against outside linebackers Paul Kruger and Terrell Suggs during the game and he came away with flying colors, especially in the pass protection department.

Beachum, who struggled mightily in the preseason at both left tackle and left guard, ditched his reputation as a holder on Sunday and he controlled Kruger much better than Adams was able to do just two weeks ago.

Beachum was not without fault in the game, however, as he was charged with one sack, two quarterback hits, and one pressure on 39 drop backs, but his performance and technique was very even in nature.

Many will jump to the conclusion that the undersized tackle received quite a bit of help against the Ravens in the form of a running back or tight end chip, but that simply was not the case. I went back through the game and charted Beachum as only getting help from those two positions on 8 plays in total.

That help was not be design on one of those plays as running back Jonathan Dwyer bailed out Beachum when he was beat inside by Suggs for a pressure. On the sack that Beachum allowed to Arthur Jones, he had help from running back Isaac Redman, but he failed to use it well. When you watch the replay a few times it makes you wonder if the youngster was even expecting the help on the play. He over committed too far right and into Redman, which allowed Jones to circle back inside for the sack.

One of the chips that I included in my count came from Dwyer and it was a half attempted elbow that really provided no help other than the threat of it. On the touchdown pass to Heath Miller from Batch, Beachum had help to his right in the form of tight end David Paulson as the protection was designed to drift out to the left to accommodate the designed roll out by Batch on the play. It wasn\’t so much help as it was having an extra tackle beside him.

With Marcus Gilbert firmly planted on injured reserve and Adams expected to miss at least another game, Beachum showed against the Ravens that he is deserving of another start Sunday at Heinz Field against the San Diego Chargers.

We will have our full breakdown of the play of Steelers offensive line against the Ravens later this week, but I wanted to make sure that I designated one post specifically to him in the meantime.