If there\’s one thing that we\’ve learned from the Pittsburgh Steelers first OTA session of the 2013 season, it\’s that second-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum is being given every opportunity to become the backup at center to starter Maurkice Pouncey.
Throughout the week we have seen and heard reports stating that the Steelers fourth of four seventh-round draft picks from 2012 has been getting work at center and on Thursday, Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider reported on Twitter that Beachum even received reps at center with the first time during the final day of practice for the week.
Beachum, who strictly played left tackle during his four years at SMU, has been often described as an offensive lineman that possesses the legs of a tackle, a torso of a guard and a brain of a center. While Beachum didn\’t look overly impressive during the preseason last year at left tackle or left guard, he showed enough to make the final 53 man roster and wound playing nearly 315 snaps as a rookie at right tackle after both Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams went down with injuries.
Following the practice on Wednesday, David Todd of ESPN 970 Radio caught up with Beachum and asked him about him getting time this week at the center position.
“It was fun. It was a little different, but whatever\’s best for the team. Whatever facet I can do to help us get to a Super Bowl,” said Beachum. “So just taking in strides and learning from Pouncey, and some of the other centers that we have on the team, and working at the craft of being able to backup every position.”
Now that Beachum is being given the opportunity to become the ultimate swing offensive lineman for the Steelers in 2013, he was asked if it now changes the way he has to focus his time preparing during the off-season.
“You have to be a little more fine tuned,” said Beachum “You have to understand what everybody\’s doing on the offensive line. It\’s a responsibility fact. I\’ve got to be responsible. I\’ve got to really be accountable for myself and making sure that really doing everything that the coaches are asking me to do to be the best that I can be, and to be ready when my number is called.”
If you recall, I have posted quite a bit this offseason about the depth issues that the Steelers seemingly have on their offensive line heading into 2013 and it appears at this point that Beachum is being groomed to play four spots with the fifth spot, left tackle, being a last resort spot.
While it is still early, it is good to see that the Steelers are really trying to find out how position flexible Beachum really is. If they like what they see, they won\’t have sign a free agent such as Antoine Caldwell, who they brought in for a visit in early April. However, if they don\’t think that Beachum can handle the center spot between now and the start of training camp, then there is still time to sign someone else before the team reports to Latrobe in late July.
The real test for Beachum will of course come during the preseason. While we now have a pretty good idea about what he can do at right tackle, I suspect that he will get a lot of playing time at center and guard once the exhibition games get underway. I, much like several of you, will be watching how he performs at those positions closely come that time.
Beachum is as smart as they come. He also possesses a great attitude and work ethic, so hopefully he can become the ultimate swingman offensive lineman for the Steelers in 2013, which in turn might just open up a roster spot somewhere else at another position.