Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I understand that Mike Adams is only in his second year at the professional level. Moreover, I understand that there is still time for him to improve as a blind-side protector.
Yet with the way Adams has played through the first quarter of the 2013 regular season, there is no way that Pittsburgh’s brass can sit idly by and not upgrade the left tackle position early in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Named the starting left tackle this past offseason, Adams has struggled mightily since he started seeing game action at the position during the preseason. Sadly for the former Ohio State Buckeye, his issues and inconsistent play have carried over into the regular season.
After three difficult games against Derrick Morgan, Cincinnati’s dangerous four-man rotation, and Julius Peppers, Adams put on his worst performance of the 2013 campaign against Jared Allen and the Minnesota Vikings. Considering how poorly Adams played in his first three games of 2013, it was remarkable how inept the left tackle looked against Allen and Minnesota’s pass-rush.
Unfortunately for Adams, allowing three sacks, constant pressure, and committing a holding penalty was what he put on display for the fans in London and his signal-caller. Adams was so awful that Shannon Sharpe during the half time show on CBS said that the left tackle “looked like he was tying his shoes” instead of blocking the Vikings’ All-Pro defensive end.
As sad as it sounded, Sharpe was not far from the truth.
Pittsburgh’s blind-side protector was beaten with speed, thrown back with strength and power moves, and displayed poor footwork in pass-protection. For a guy who stands 6’7″ and weighs 323 lbs., Adams was tossed around and looked hapless as he worked against Minnesota’s front-seven.
With how poorly Adams has performed so far, I think that it is pretty safe to say that the team will have to move him to the right side after they select a new left tackle in the 2014 NFL Draft next May. I have stated on multiple occasions that Adams belongs at the right tackle position, and should be developed there due to his specific skill-set.
At this point, there is no way that general manager Kevin Colbert and the rest of Pittsburgh’s front office and coaching staff can honestly believe that Adams is a solution to the team’s problems at the most important position on the offensive line.
In fact, Adams’ performance almost forces them to “tip their hands” already when it comes to their interest in finding an upgrade over the second-year player on the blind-side. This year’s draft class features a number of solid left tackle prospects, and the Steelers should have the chance to select any prospect they want if they are slotted somewhere in the top three.
Regardless of where they draft though, Adams is not the answer at left tackle and the front office must do everything in their power to acquire an upgrade when the 2013 season mercifully comes to a close.
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