Steelers left tackle Beachum uses film study, extra work to overcome lack of size
Hall of Famers Walter Jones and Willie Roaf, to name two, are Kelvin Beachum's favorites to study.
Even current left tackles, such as Jason Peters, Tyron Smith and Sunday's counterpart, Joe Thomas, have been a part of Beachum's video collection over the past year.
“You never stop studying the greats,” Beachum said.
Especially when you don't fit the mold of the greats, and Beachum doesn't come close to filling that NFL left-tackle model.
• Beachum is the shortest starting left tackle in the league at 6-foot-3 (New England's Nate Solder is 6-8).
• He is the lightest left tackle at 303 pounds (Buffalo's Cordy Glenn is 343 pounds).
• No current starting left tackle was drafted lower than Beachum, who was the 248th pick in the 2012 draft. There are 19 starting left tackles that were taken in the first round. Three others went in the second round.
Still, Beachum has found a way to buck the odds and push aside former second-round pick Mike Adams (who is 4 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier) and claim the Steelers left-tackle spot.
Beachum will make his first opening-day start Sunday against the Browns and won't think about being the smallest left tackle in the NFL.
“It doesn't matter because at the end of the day, it is about one man beating another man's behind,” Beachum said. “It doesn't matter how big or small you are, you still have to play football at the end of the day.”
Beachum has to work to ensure his size isn't an issue.
He works tirelessly on his technique before and after practice. He isn't afraid to try different training techniques if they will help (he recently took up pilates and yoga). Beachum also has worked with former Steelers lineman Tunch Ilkin, who was a 6-3, 260-pound left tackle, on his handwork.
Most importantly, Beachum watches an unusual amount of film.
“He knows he has to be on top of that stuff,” guard Ramon Foster said. “With his size, a lot of teams try to take advantage of him.”
Case in point was Thursday when Beachum arrived early to the practice facility to watch last year's Buffalo game.
Buffalo's defensive coordinator last year was Mike Pettine, the current Browns coach. Also, Cleveland defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil was the linebackers coach on that team.
“You look for how they might attack you,” Beachum said. “It kind of makes your job easier when you know what's coming before it's coming.”
Beachum started 12 games at left tackle last year. He allowed six sacks and 18 quarterback hurries and stabilized the offensive line down the stretch.
“He just has a bigger heart,” tackle Marcus Gilbert said. “He showed that to play left tackle in this league, it doesn't matter about size.”
What does matter to Beachum is how he plays Sunday.
“It is another step that I have taken, but there are a lot of more steps that need to be taken,” Beachum said. “I am enjoying the process right now.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Run game needed for balance vs. Seahawks
- Steelers plan to use smart pass rush against Seattle QB Wilson
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not grooming successor to RB Williams
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Rookie linebacker Chickillo adjusting to role with Steelers
- Steelers kicker Boswell puts best foot forward
- Steelers not giving up on wresting AFC North from Bengals
- Steelers notebook: Players get back to work after bye