The Pittsburgh Steelers took a leap of faith by taking second-round OT Mike Adams because he practically begged them (and only them) to draft him, willing to do anything to prove he could reform himself after a positive drug test at the combine. Now, less than a month into his career, they have upped the stakes riding on the risky but potentially rewarding move by making Adams their starting left tackle.
Yesterday, former starting right tackle Willie Colon told the Steelers official website that he was being moved to left guard. Mark Kaboly, a Steelers beat writer from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, expected Marcus Gilbert, who filled in for Colon at right tackle last year, to be moved to left tackle. Kaboly's reasoning was that head coach Mike Tomlin doesn't give rookies starting jobs this early in their career.
Today, long-time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette beat writer Ed Bouchette reports that Tomlin did just that. A source close to the situation told Bouchette that Gilbert will stay at right tackle and Adams would then be installed as the new starting left tackle—which was his position at Ohio State. Bouchette reminds us the situation could change if Adams struggles, but that the coaching staff must believe he can handle the job if they are willing to give it to him so quickly.
Normally, protecting your quarterback's blind side with a rookie who failed a drug test at the combine and had his dedication to football universally questioned would be a recipe for disaster. When you're the Steelers, who have been trying to do better than Max Starks at left tackle for a few years now, it will be somewhere between treading water and a massive instant upgrade.
What looks like a big gamble from the outside is probably just the logical move for a team that has been getting by with subpar tackle play for years—including one that ended with a Super Bowl victory.