Who else besides me is stoked about the possibilities on the offensive line? You know you’re a football geek when you’re all giddy about the new guards and tackles. The Steelers have been criticized for the past few years for not investing more in the offensive line to protect their $100 million QB (who likes to hold onto the ball too long), despite going O-line for the first and second round picks respectively for the previous two years drafts. There were parts of last season it seemed like the Steelers would have to hold open try-outs for big men to fill the gaps left on the line from all the injuries. Besides the fact that there were certain games where the O-line got pummeled and Ben was tossed around like a rag doll (Houston anyone?). The draft gods were smiling upon the ‘Burgh when Stanford Guard David DeCastro fell to them at 24 and Colbert and Co. took a chance on Ohio State OT Mike Adams, who signed his rookie contract this week. The question is; will Colbert’s gamble on Adams pay off?
Adams was one of the “tattoo crew” in Ohio State that was busted along with Terrell Pryor for selling their autographs and such in exchange for free tattoos as well as selling Big Ten Championship swag for cash. Adams was suspended the first five games of his last season with Ohio State as a result of his NCAA violations. Adams was not linked to the car dealerships that Pryor was, but still fell under punishment and because O-linemen aren’t as hot commodities as QB’s he stuck it out at Ohio State and didn’t ditch school for the supplemental draft like Pryor did. Personally, I don’t agree with a whole lot of the NCAA rules. I think they are archaic and in dire need of revision for today’s landscape. But, rules are rules. If I believe that I can drive perfectly safe at 70mph in a 50mph zone, I’ll still get a ticket. If you don’t agree with the rules that doesn’t automatically make it ok to break them. Adams violated NCAA rules, served his suspension and that was that. I don’t hold it against him or think of him as some kind of bad guy as a result of it.
Unfortunately, the tattoos and Big Ten merchandise scandal wasn’t the stupidest thing Adams has done. At this year’s NFL Rookie Combine Adams tested positive for marijuana. That’s pretty dumb. The drug tests at the Combine are about as guaranteed as the fact that the lowest “confidentially taken” Wonderlic test result will always be leaked. To show up at the Combine with weed in your system is by far one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. When Adams initially met with Colbert and the rest of the Steelers scouts and coaches, he told them he never smoked pot. With the positive test Adams’ draft stock immediately plummeted. The Steelers, who were looking hard at Adams for their first round pick, told him “you’re off our board.”
Following the Combine, Adams sought out another “interview” with Colbert and the Steelers. The Farrell, PA native was set on playing for the Steelers and wanted to plead his case for reconsideration. Colbert stated that they gave Adams stipulation that he had to accomplish in order to be reconsidered for the draft, and according to Colbert, Adams met those stipulations whatever they were. Adams stated about the Steelers,
“I love this organization and I’m glad to be a part of it. Ever since I imagined playing in the NFL, the Steelers are the team I wanted. I grew up in Farrell, Pa, and when I was 4 years old my entire bedroom was Pittsburgh Steelers stuff. So it was important for me to reach out to them.”
I like his enthusiasm and respect for the organization. Time will only tell if he was sincere and will make a good professional football player, or just wanted to get drafted very badly and had to say whatever could get him back on the boards. One thing that struck me as I read that quote is that apparently I have the bedroom of a 4 year old, because as a grown-up I have a ridiculous amount of Steelers stuff in my home. Was I supposed to grow out of that at some point? Oh well.
Tomlin has already said that Adams will stay in his position as Left Tackle with the Steelers, which allows a whole lot of movement on the line. With DeCastro having a strong possibility of coming in as a starter at Guard, Gilbert starting at Left Tackle, Willie Colon and Maurkice Pouncey coming back hopefully healthy for an entire season, the Steelers are experiencing a spoil of riches on the O-line. Apparently no more will we see tight ends lining up to fill in for injuries. Can you even imagine how scary Ben will be when he’s running around holding onto the ball too long but he actually has the protection to allow that? For anyone keeping track we have 121 days, and about 11 hours till the Steelers 2012 Regular Season kicks off. Here We Go Steelers!
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