I haven’t researched it, but there can’t be many seventh-round draft picks over the course of the last decade that have started a season at the left tackle position. That’s a feat that Pittsburgh Steelers third-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum is attempting to accomplish this season and he’s well on his way to doing it.
Beachum is not only a former seventh-round draft pick, he also lacks the prototypical size of a starting left tackle as he measures in at only 6-3. However, what the SMU product lacks in size and pedigree, he makes up with his incredible work ethic and drive to be the best. That work ethic and drive was on full display last season when he took over the starting left tackle spot from Mike Adams in Week 6. He never relinquished the job.
During a radio interview this past week, new offensive line coach Mike Munchak spoke very highly of Beachum as it relates to him being the Steelers starting left tackle in 2014.
“Beachum, this will be his first year as a starter. [He’s] a very athletic, a very tough, physical, hard working football player that wants to be the best at his job,” said Munchak. “He’s a guy that everyone’s going to get to know real quickly here as he goes into this season.”
One person who already knows Beachum quite well is former Steelers offensive lineman and current radio color man Tunch Ilkin. Ilkin, much like Beachum, was an overachiever during his career and has worked on teaching the young offensive lineman how to properly punch ever since his rookie season. According to Friday report by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that tutelage will continue with Munchak’s blessing.
“He’s [Munchak] even mentioned having Tunch come in if we have extra time to do some extra work,” Beachum said. “He’s referred to it multiple times. Munch is about using every single resource possible to better you as a player and finding a way to succeed.”
With Munchak also being known as stickler for technique, it’s easy to understand why Beachum is excited about having him as his position coach and why he has more than a puncher’s chance of succeeding at left tackle for the Steelers in 2014 and beyond.