When Pittsburgh Steelers second-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum took over for Mike Adams at left tackle following the Week 4 loss in London to the Minnesota Vikings, I really had my doubts about him being able to handle the job. Now, 11 starts later, I really believe that he has a good shot at being the starter on the blind side for several years to come and he believes it as well.
"I enjoy being on an island, it all being left up to me sometimes," said Beachum in a recent interview on the team's official website. "I enjoy protecting Ben’s (Roethlisberger) blindside. I enjoy the scrutiny that comes with it because I don’t care what anybody has to say. This is my job to protect him and I take it to heart. I have my own convictions and that is what matters."
The 2013 season has been over for more than a week now, but according to the report, Beachum is already hard at work training for next season. He not only wants to get stronger and increase his knowledge of the game, he also wants to "be great".
"I don’t want to just be a guy wearing a jersey," said the SMU product. "I don’t want to just be a Steeler who has come through here. I want to make an impact. I want to be influential."
How can you not like that attitude?
When Beachum was drafted in the seventh-round of the 2012 NFL Draft, it looked like he would be just another late-round pick that would be lucky to make practice squad. In fact, after watching him closely during that preseason at left tackle and left guard, my prediction was that he would wind up on the eight-man squad after the final cuts were made.
Beachum stuck, however, and his hard work and dedication has paid off. It's worth repeating that he very well might have been one of the best pass protecting left tackles in the league over the course of his last six or seven starts.
Yes, at 6'03", Beachum doesn't fit the mold of a traditional left tackle, but his heart size certainly makes up for it. He is a student of the game and is working on becoming a technician. You might not have noticed, but Beachum took snaps at all five positions on the offensive line in 2013 and while I'm not positive, I am willing to bet that he's the only player in the NFL to do that in quite a while.
Beachum's development has now provided a huge safety net for the Steelers when it comes to the slowly developing Adams. In addition, his ability to keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger off of his back will likely prevent the team from spending yet another early round draft pick in May on another offensive lineman.
From this point forward, consider me a huge fan of Beachum's as I believe that he's already made an impact and has been influential. He's going to be around for a while and I wouldn't bet against him from this point forward.