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Steelers take chance on OSU tackle

| Friday, April 27, 2012, 9:20 p.m.

The Steelers never would have called Mike Adams on Friday had the former Ohio State offensive tackle not called them first.

Adams contacted the Steelers in March and requested a meeting after learning he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Steelers brought in Adams for an official visit and told him they were taking him off their draft board.

That they took him with the 56th pick of the NFL Draft last night is telling of just how far Adams has come in the Steelers' eyes since that meeting with president Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin.

The Steelers gave a first-round grade to Adams, who has the build and feet of a prototypical tackle. They felt comfortable enough after doing homework on the 6-foot-7, 323-pounder to take him after he fell to the latter part of the second round.

“He met the criteria we required for him,” Colbert said, “but it's going to be a day-to-day working relationship between all of us. Quite honestly, I'm not so much worried about the reward as I am about the young man getting his life in order.”

The Steelers were the only team Adams, who grew up in Farrell, reached out to after his failed drug test.

“I believe I'm the best tackle in the draft,” he said.

Adams likely would have been a first-round pick if not for missteps at Ohio State as well what took place after he left college.

The Dublin, Ohio, native was suspended for the first five games of 2011 for accepting improper benefits along with a handful of teammates, transgressions that eventually brought down former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel.

The drug test almost caused the Steelers to write him off. Colbert still has reservations.

“I won't be convinced that he made it as a player until the day he retires,” Colbert said. “These are young people. Young people make mistakes.”

Adams joined first-round pick David DeCastro, a Stanford guard, as the Steelers' first two picks, marking the first time since 1968 the team used its first two picks on offensive linemen.

Offensive line coach Sean Kugler said Adams can play left or right tackle. The Steelers can afford to bring him along slowly with Marcus Gilbert ticketed for left tackle and Willie Colon slated to return to right tackle.

Colon has missed all but one game the past two seasons, and Adams provides insurance in case Colon continues to struggle with injuries.

DeCastro and Adams will miss much of offseason practices, as rookies from schools on quarter systems aren't allowed to take part in drills until classes are done.

But Kugler isn't complaining.

“I promise that we will get the right guys in the right positions,” Kugler said.

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sbown@tribweb.com.

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