Could Beachum Steal The Right Tackle Position From Gilbert?

By Jeremy Hritz

Much attention has fallen upon the shuffling of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles, with Mike Adams shifting over to the left, and Marcus Gilbert sliding to the right. While many believed this move was only in the spirit of experimentation, in the most recent depth chart released by the Steelers on Tuesday, Adams was listed as the left tackle and Gilbert as the right. While it may be premature to read too deeply into this move, it may be the first indication that the team feels more confident with Adams on the left side than they do Gilbert.

Matthew Marczi wrote earlier today about the shift of Adams and Gilbert that “position battles are for training camp, however, and now we see that Adams is indeed clearly being given the opportunity to win the starting left tackle job. Before long, it might even be his job to lose.” But could Gilbert be in danger of losing a starting job altogether?

Is there an unspoken position battle taking place on the right side between Gilbert and the second year do-it-all lineman, Kelvin Beachum, and could he end up usurping Gilbert for the starting right tackle position?

In his Tuesday Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Plus chat, Ed Bouchette was asked about the possibility of Gilbert losing his job to Beachum, to which he replied, “If Beachum looks better than Gilbert, they would play him. They love Beachum. He can play anywhere.”

And if you follow Dale Lolley’s blog, NFL from the Sidelines, he has been unimpressed of Gilbert’s performance so far this training camp, observing that “Marcus Gilbert is a concern. It seems to take him a play or two in individual drills before he gets going. Doing that in a game will be an opening drive killer.”

This past Saturday, Lolley offered another take on the Steelers offensive line: “The more I see, by the way, the more I’m convinced that the best five consists of Mike Adams at left tackle and Beachum on the right side, with Marcus Gilbert on the bench. Gilbert will show flashes, but just isn’t consistent.”

Beachum was the darling of the Steelers 2012 draft because of his outstanding character and approach to the game, but during the preseason last year, he was less than stellar, and it was predicted that he would not make the team. Surprisingly, he did, and made enough improvement to start five games, with his first start coming against the Ravens in Baltimore, a challenge that he handled with poise, filling in for Adams who missed the game because of an injury. Though he gave up a sack in that game, he played well and made an impression on the organization. As a result of Adams’ misfortune, Beachum gained experience at the right tackle position, and you have to wonder if the Steelers have given any thought of Beachum being a full time starter at right tackle.

With Gilbert’s history of injuries and his speculated struggles with conditioning, the Steelers may be willing to consider such a move.

And while it seems that Beachum’s 2013 role is set in stone as Mr. Utility, if Gilbert struggles in the upcoming preseason contests, it is possible that Beachum could work his way into the starting right tackle position.

  • Rubem Dornas

    Jeremy, totally agree with you.

  • Chris92021

    Talent wise, Mike Adams is the best tackle on the team. The kid was the best offensive lineman coming out of high school and would have been a first rounder last year if he hadn’t acted like a knucklehead. He has stated that he prefers the left side and he is practicing like he really wants the job. I want to see how he does against Kiwanuka and the Giants’ front four this weekend and Orakpo and Kerrigan the week after before I give him the job. As for Beachum, I could see why the coaching staff really love him. He’s smart and he’s a hard worker. What’s not to like?

  • CW


  • Timothy Rea

    Gilbert has been really good at flopping around and putting the other lineman on IR.

  • steeltown

    I have a feeling Gilbert will still be a starter come week 1 of the regular season


    Good points…agree…he’s the best LT on the squad…was lacking some upper body strength his 1st yr…took his lumps…maybe the confidence is there to play the left side for Adams.

  • Robert Schultz

    I’ve been impressed with Beachum from the get go. This kid CAN move around and has determination….something that Gilbert (IMHO) lacks considerably. I would not be surprised if Beachum improves enough to challenge for the LT slot!

    Make Gilbert the utility man until he gets his feces consolidated!

  • dgh57

    Gilbert is my least favorite of the o-linemen and his recent showing in the endurance test didn’t help his cause with the coaching staff. Maybe losing his job will motivate him this preseason but then how long would it last? This guy has a problem with motivation for sure, so I could definitely see Beachum as the starter sooner rather than later!

  • Luke Shabro

    I think you’re absolutely correct. IMO, what is more likely is to see Beachum on the right side. What’s even more concerning to me about Gilbert is his durability. Lots of guys get banged up but I don’t see Gilbert playing through it very much. I’m happier with Adams on the left side that’s for sure.

  • Luke Shabro

    Great article Jeremy. You and Matthew have done a bang up job this offseason!

  • steeltown

    Im still indifferent as to who starts where until I see some live action, but yes I agree Gilberts durability is a concern. Beachum might not have to “steal” anything, he’s next in line

  • Chris92021

    I think you are likely correct on the Gilbert assessment for this reason; Bicknell and Coach Tomlin and OC Haley will see more value with Beachum coming off the bench as the super-sub. I think Beachum’s versatility will actually hurt him here. The only way Beachum does start is if Gilbert is totally bad in preseason or he gets injured.

  • Matt Searls

    Not unless he collapses in the preseason

  • dkoy85

    Beachum could still be the ultimate swing man and still start at RT. Somebody goes down and Beachum replaces them and Gilbert replaces him. IMO its better to have your best in the starting lineup rather than waiting on the bench for an injury… which we all know Gilbert is capable of having/providing.

  • cencalsteeler

    Our two starting tackles are Adams and Gilbert. Beachum is our best back up whos strength is the right side. Who is more injury prone? Gilbert. No brainer, move Gilbert to the right for when and if he goes down. The coaching staff may be pre planning.

  • Steeldave

    Or until he gets his Poop in a group.

  • Ahmad

    I would not be at all surprised if Beachum takes the job from Gilbert. I don’t know what Gilbert’s problem is but he better get himself together.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Well maybe we could trade him to the Ravens for a pick or two then he will put more of there players on IR, and that would clear up a roster spot for a Golic Jr. heck maybe even Dunn

  • Intropy

    Gilbert takes a lot of crap he doesn’t deserve. He doesn’t always show up in the best shape, and that justifies some criticism. He’s caused injury by falling over a teammate, but tackles, even good ones, get pushed over in football games sometimes. It’s just bad luck that he happened to injure someone doing it.

    But he shows up in games. He plays the position well. He’s not a superstar, but he’s been solidly in the average to good range for a starting right tackle. And he’s young enough that the arrow is still pointing up. Don’t let freak accidents and external factors color your view of his actual play. Let that stand on its own. If Beachum proves himself to be better than Gilbert, then he can win the spot, but I really don’t see that as at all likely to happen.

  • Gautama Om

    I wouldn’t plug in Beachum at RT if there isn’t much difference in play because Beach is more valuable to us as a utility OLineman. We don’t want to increase risk of injury by playing Beach full time at RT especially this year when we don’t have many legitimate backups on the OL as in past years. Vice versa you can’t say the same for Gilbert.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I was waiting for somebody to stick up for the guy.

  • Stephen Dale

    Beachum may start but that is indicative of the lack of talented depth at OT. After watching Kelvin last year, he is too short for OT and has a lack of quickness to hold the edge against really talented DE’s and OLB’s. He is too small to move the LOS at OG so what he really is is a reserve , fill-in player who is valuable in THAT role but nothing more. The Steelers didn’t address the OT position in the draft and that decision is proving to be a poor one unless one of the UDFA’s suddenly bloom………