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Youngstown St. Missouri Valley
Started in 38 of 40 games played at Youngstown State and was a two-time first-team All-Missouri Valley selection (2012-13). Started at guard during sophomore and junior seasons before moving to center for senior season.
Plays with leverage and competes. Able to bend his knees and work his hips. Nice mobility to the second level. Durable, experienced team captain with 38 career starts. Has played center and guard. Assignment-sound, consistent performer who did not allow a sack as a senior. At his pro day, had outstanding 40-yard time (4.98 seconds) and three-cone drill time (7.33 seconds), which would have led all guards at the combine.
Plays short-armed and hand strength is just pedestrian. Does not jolt or control defenders. Could stand to improve his balance. Cannot overpower interior defenders and could struggle to anchor against widebodies.
Priority free agent
Left-handed, scrappy positional blocker who will have to prove versatile enough to provide depth at more than one interior position to give himself a chance to stick in a zone-blocking scheme.
Elkins is one of those guys who don't fit the template in terms of size, but he seems to have excellent technique and could be this year's Beachum just like Beachum was the two years ago Beachum.
Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!
Since they can't both be Beachum, how's this?Wesley Johnson is this year's Kelvin Beachum (smart, versatile late round draft pick). Chris Elkins is this year's Ramon Foster (underrated, overachieving, undrafted free agent).David DeCastro is this year's Maurkice Pouncey (first round pick who blossoms into a Pro Bowl interior o-lineman).Mike Adams is this year's Marcus Gilbert (second round pick who doesn't live up to expectations at tackle).
But sounds like a very good practice squad player. A year to get bigger . Unless he continues to wow us. Could be a diamond that we find every once and awhile
Steelers will sample the art of cut blocking
July 31, 2014
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak shouts out instructions during Wednesday afternoon workouts at training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.
Before there were multimillion-dollar contracts, Steelers offensive linemen routinely chopped down their teammates with cut blocks in training camp. Under Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll, it was commonplace to witness a lineman placing his shoulder and helmet low against a defensive lineman or linebacker and taking out his legs to prevent him from making a play. Noll knew the best way to prepare his players was through repetition, and the only way to do that was in practice.
That all went away once NFL owners realized there was no sense in putting their highly paid players in danger for the sake of practice. But the financially motivated decision from owners has made life difficult for offensive linemen, who continue to be asked to cut defenders in games.
Just ask right guard David DeCastro, whose poorly executed cut block in the opener against Tennessee last season resulted in him knocking out teammate Maurkice Pouncey for the season.
The Steelers did not practice cut blocking once a year ago at camp under former line coach Jack Bicknell. New offensive line coach Mike Munchak is not making the same mistake. He will have his linemen go through cut-blocking drills during camp that could prevent another catastrophic injury.
“It’s helpful,” DeCastro said. “He knows what he’s doing.”
The linemen won’t be cutting their teammates, but Munchak has a few drills that will give his linemen a better sense of how to go about executing the block.
“It’s hard to simulate,” Munchak said. “There is no doubt about that. We’ll do things where we pick up towels. We’ll cut block on air. We have a landing platform like they use for special teams when they try to block a punt. Somewhere in camp, we’ll do some of that. We won’t spend a lot of time on it. That’s why you’re smart when you do it.”
But, in the end, the players are going to have to execute the block without the benefit of live repetition. The first opportunity the Steelers will have to execute a cut block for real is the Aug. 9 preseason opener against the New York Giants.
That makes team drills in training camp an interesting exercise for the offensive and defensive linemen. Fans might see offensive linemen grabbing defensive linemen in what appears to be an obvious holding penalty, but they are merely doing that to alert them that they would have been cut had it been a real game.
“I would give an analogy to when a defensive back tries to line up a receiver in practice,” left tackle Kelvin Beachum said. “Instead of KO’ing him, he’s just putting himself in a position to do so. That’s kind of what we have to do as offensive linemen. We have to put ourselves in position to cut. We can’t cut in practice, but, in a game, we have to be in the correct position, take the proper angles and proper steps so when it comes to the games we’re able to execute with the same type of violence. Not being able to practice it, we have to make sure our footwork is right, our hat placement is right and make sure the angles are right to make the cut.”
The Steelers stopped running the outside zone-blocking scheme last year after Pouncey was injured and the offensive linemen were not asked to execute many cut blocks. But Munchak is an advocate of the outside zone and cutting is a necessary part of that scheme on occasions.
DeCastro knows that. And he knows all eyes will be on him the first time he has to execute a cut block.
He worries some about executing the block, but said he won’t fully get over what happened last year until he does it again.
“Of course, there is some trepidation,” DeCastro said. “But it’s football. You have to continue on and learn from it. It’s a tough way to learn, but there is nothing else you can do but learn from it.”
Steelers tackle Mike Adams not having a memorable training camp
July 31, 2014
Mike Adams is a big man. He is on record as standing at 6 feet 7 inches tall and 323 pounds. That's a mountain of a man.
Now meet Shamarko Thomas. Standing at 5 feet 9 inches tall and a whopping 217 pounds.
In a live drill, one would think the much larger Adams would swallow the much smaller Thomas, but that wasn't the case in this 2014 training camp. In fact, the complete opposite happened.
Thomas came on a blitz and absolutely leveled the much larger Adams to the ground. Big trees fall hard. Adams told Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he slipped on the play, but that could also be a proud professional trying to cover up after an embarrassing play.
Let's not discredit Thomas here either. He is as strong as they come for his smaller frame, and is every bit capable of laying out a number of bigger men on the Steelers' roster, but that doesn't help make things any better for Adams.
It only seemed to get worse from there. In yesterday's practice Adams found himself on his back again, but this time it wasn't a smaller player but the largest man in the 2014 NFL Draft that did the honors of placing Adams on his posterior.
Daniel McCullers is a large human with tremendous power and strength and is more than capable of making a number of people foolish in a one on one setting.
What all this boils down to is the simple fact that Adams is having a rough start to camp. Barring something catastrophic, Adams will make the team and could even press Marcus Gilbert for the starting right tackle spot. What this demonstrates is that even in his third year, Adams can fall apart pretty fast.
The Steelers need Adams to develop the way they hoped he would when they drafted him in the second round in the 2012 NFL Draft. Their depth at the tackle position depends on it.
Adams has had a rough row to hoe his first three years. From being a turnstile his rookie season, being stabbed before last season and having his ups and downs in the 2013 season. Adams has the size and the ability, but whether or not he will be able to put things together to be a viable option for the Steelers has yet to be determined. Entering his third NFL season, the organization has to wonder how much longer it will take for this development to come to fruition.