Mike Adams showed he could be an NFL quality offensive tackle at Ohio State, but his career was pockmarked by injuries and suspensions. Foot, knee and shoulder issues caused him to miss time in 2008 and 2009, and he was suspended for multiple games for violating team and NCAA rules in 2009 and 2011.
When he was on the field, Adams' big frame and good feet earned him first-team Big Ten honors in 2010 and second-team honors in 2011. Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reported that Adams tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine, but that he might not be hurt too much by it because the Steelers' newest second-round selection had been proactive about dealing with the result.
Adams' scouting reports make clear the vast distance between his ceiling and his floor.
Has long arms, big hands and outstanding body length to match up against size — contained Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt (a 2011 first-round pick of the Houston Texans) as a junior. Can get positioning in the run game and walls off defenders. Sets quickly in pass protection, keeps his shoulders square and can stop a charge. Controlled mover — plays with balance and is patient in pass protection.
Plays too upright and struggles with quickness. Does not strike with power and tends to plod. Not agile at the second level. Too inconsistent. Struggled to handle the power of Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2011 first-rounder Adrian Clayborn and tenacity of Washington Redskins 2011 first-rounder Ryan Kerrigan as a junior. Has battled injuries throughout career. Very spotty play history. Soft-tempered. Came off as very immature and low-burn in the interview process. Questionable mental toughness. Has been pampered and is not wired with a trench mentality. Not passionate about the game. Bench-pressed 225 pounds only 19 times at the Combine and body does not look NFL-conditioned. Too easily distracted and has multiple off-field issues that already have eliminated him from consideration on some NFL draft boards.
Generated a buzz at the Senior Bowl because of his giant stature and ability to match up well in pass protection. However, he lacks the mental makeup, toughness and consistency desired on the front lines and has clear bust potential.
Adams has a good frame and good enough footwork to not get beat at the college level. He employs a decent pass set to get back and anchor himself against the bull rush, and has the footwork to shuffle and keep his feet chopping when blocking to drive a man downfield in the run game. His big-game experience playing at Ohio State helps his value.
Adams is not a very exciting player and can struggle at times with effort-based issues that don't allow him to get much movement on the line when run-blocking. He is more of a catch-and-react blocker than one who delivers blows, and will need to play with more fire and look to unleash his inner-athleticism to be able to succeed at the next level. Those suspensions and injuries will also eat away at his draft stock.
Mike Adams is probably not ready for the NFL's speed rushers, or the pass-rushers that can keep him off-balance with a variety of moves and strategies. He'll need to be more consistent, intense and durable to break into the starting lineup.
He could be a very good starting tackle for a long time if he works on those issues. Players with his natural size and movement skills are rare, and he'll get a few chances to fail before a team gives up on him.
There's a reason the Steelers are perennial contenders, and it's making prudent choices like this in the draft. Coupled with the first-round selection of David DeCastro, the Steelers now have a young, fortified front to protect Big Ben.