If you’ve been reading closely, you’ll notice there’s a bit of a heated debate going on between our own Dom di Tolla and one of our readers. In a post that focused on the importance of bringing back Max Starks, there been a debate developing about how ready Mike Adams will be. Is he starter material right away or will he take time to develop? Perhaps the mini-camps give us some insight.
Even though Adams missed ten practices before he was able to participate at the South Side facilities, the coaches placed Adams on the 1st team when taking reps. Ask if Adams is worried, and he’ll tell you
"‘I went to rookie minicamp and the last minicamp, so I have a good feel for things.’"
Adams let on that even though he was still in school, he had the playbook with him at all times. I don’t blame the kid (cause hell, if I drafted by the Steelers I would have a tough time thinking about anything else) for phoning in the last part of the semester of his senior year. But studying the playbook and hitting the field as an NFL athlete are two completely different worlds. But, the brain and the body are quick to learn with Adams as coaches appear pleased with his progress even though he missed so much time. There was always a question about Adams’ ability to play at the NFL level. He has raw skill, but as Dom pointed out in the comments section in his post, has been burned a few times at the college level that should cause a pause for concern. That didn’t seem like a problem as of yet during the OTA’s and mini-camps. We’ll obviously see and learn more once we get into camp and players go through the rigorous three weeks – especially in some preseason game action.
Regardless of the Starks argument posed in Dom’s post – whether you think it necessary to bring him back or not – Adams is will worth the investment. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers throw him to the wolves and leave him on the 1st team for the majority of camp to see how he handles things. Adams practically begged the Steelers to put him back on their draft board. It showed a lot of guts on Adams’ part, but I think the Steelers are going to put him through a lot of ‘prove yourself’ moments with no support net in place. It’s a bit of tough love if it goes down that way, but it could be the very scenario for a guy like Adams to thrive in.
Adams is a win win type of experiment. Should he succeed at the left tackle position, then Ben Roethlisberger is going to be a happy man for years to come. Win. Should he fail right away the Steelers will keep him around and develop him until he is ready. He’s worth the investment with his natural abilities and should develop over time. Win. Well what do the Steelers do in the meantime should Adams no work out? Well….. why don’t you go ask Dom, I think he knows the answer. Bring the big lug back and let him play one more season while Adams adjusts and learns. He’s yet to prove us any differently that we shouldn’t. Win.
There’s also the option of moving Gilbert or Colon should Adams not work right away. I guess what I’m saying is, we’ll be fine. Win.