You may recall that it was just a short time after the draft, and barely into the meat of the offseason workouts, that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie outside linebacker Keion Adams, drafted in the seventh round, talked about having already formed a meaningful bond with T.J. Watt, the other outside linebacker that the Steelers added to the roster, he in the first round.
While they may have come into the league on virtual polar opposite ends of the spectrum, with Watt toward the top of the draft class and Adams at the bottom, the table is in many ways reset when it comes to the learning curve of the NFL level, so the two fellow rookies at their position group have found it useful to lean upon one another as they embark on the first leg of their professional football journey together.
A month later after first talking about his relationship with Watt, Adams was asked about how things were coming along between the two young pass-rushers on the first day of mandatory minicamp, as we quickly approach the summer break that ultimately leads up to the start of training camp, and the trek to Latrobe, and padded practices.
“From day one we hit it off”, Adams told reporters, according to an article published on the team’s website yesterday. “I would say he’s become my best friend here. We do everything together. We eat together, lift together, work out together. We study plays together at night”.
It’s almost funny, though also kind of sobering, that we find the seventh-round pick asked to field questions about the first-round pick, yet I’m not sure that we have heard Watt asked about his relationship with Adams to date. I may have missed a reference, but if so, it likely was minor.
Never the less, the two have forged a working bond, as well as a personal one, and are prospering together for it. “It’s very important to have someone alongside you going through the same thing you are that you can relate to. I know it takes a load of our backs”, he told reporters.
“At the end of the day, whether he was in the first round and I was in the seventh round, we are in the same spot as far as being rookies and we try to learn as much as we can and help each other out as much as we can”.
Watt is already a roster lock, and has been spending the majority of his time to date working with the first-team offense because James Harrison has a severely battered birth certificate. But Adams has had to scrounge for snaps toward the end of the line, for the most part.
Still, the Western Michigan product will have the opportunity to prove himself, and to claim a roster spot, in August when the pads come on. Watt has already expressed eagerness to do so, but Adams, too, is looking forward to it. That is where linebackers can really begin to separate themselves.