Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin finally intends on playing second-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum at center Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers, and he told Bill Hillgrove during his pregame sit-down that the SMU product could become a regular part of the offense in addition.
"He is a very versatile player, and we’re enjoying moving him around," Tomlin said. "Here’s a guy who has played both right and left tackle, he has played some guard in the past, he will be playing some center tonight, and he really did an above-the-line job against the Kansas City Chiefs as a tight end for us with our first group."
Beachum, who worked all offseason at learning the center position, has been mostly relegated to playing left and right tackle throughout the preseason. Should he indeed wind up playing some center against the Panthers, those snaps will likely come early in the game as he will most certainly need to play left tackle once the second-team offense line enters the game.
As far as Beachum's future with the team goes, Tomlin said he's not ready to lock his young lineman into a backup role for the rest of his career as he considers him an intelligent player with good upside.
"He’s a young guy who plays with great detail, is smart, and he’s got upside," Tomlin said. "He’s got a future, and not only is he helping us right now from a versatility standpoint, but we don’t have him in a box that won’t allow him to ascend within the ranks as he continues to grow and mature as a football player."
While it hasn't been talked about this offseason, Beachum will more than be the Steelers backup to long snapper Greg Warren this season, so that is just one more area where he has shown his position flexibility. I wonder if he can kick as well.