Steelers draft Ohio State tackle Mike Adams
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers had no interest in drafting Ohio State's Mike Adams after the talented but troubled offensive tackle tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine in February.
When Adams reached out to the Steelers for a second interview, the Steelers agreed though general manager Kevin Colbert told Adams "you're off our draft board.''
During the meeting Colbert, coach Mike Tomlin and owner Art Rooney II outlined a set of criteria Adams needed to meet if he wanted to get back on the board.
Consider it done.
Convinced Adams wants to turn his life around, the Steelers selected him in the second round on Friday with the 56th overall pick in the draft. While acknowledging Adams' checkered past - he missed five games last season while serving an NCAA suspension for receiving improper benefits - the Steelers also believe he's serious about turning his life around.
Though allowing the team's relationship with Adams is a "day-to-day process,'' Colbert thinks the gamble will pay off.
"It's more a risk than we're usually comfortable in taking but again because he was forthcoming, because he took matters and met our criteria, we're comfortable in taking the risk,'' Colbert said.
The 6-foot-7, 323-pound Adams is the fourth high draft pick the Steelers have used on an offensive lineman in the last three years. Pittsburgh drafted Stanford guard David DeCastro in the first round on Thursday, joining 2010 first-round pick Maurkice Pouncey and 2011 second-round pick Marcus Gilbert.
Adams was an All-Big Ten selection in 2010 and made the second team last year despite being limited to eight games following the suspension.
Offensive line coach Sean Kugler said Adams received a "first-round grade'' during his evaluation because of his size and agility even as his character issues dropped him to the latter stages of the second round.
"He's a physical player and that's a size combination that's tough to beat at the tackle position,'' Kugler said.
The Steelers are looking for some stability along the line after a bumpy 2011 in which the line struggled to stay healthy and had issues protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Pittsburgh gave up 42 sacks and struggled running the ball effectively in the red zone. Injuries to Pouncey, right tackle Willie Colon, guard Doug Legursky and guard Chris Kemoeatu forced the Steelers to constantly shift roles along the line to plug a hole during a given week.
The addition of Adams and DeCastro gives Pittsburgh depth and flexibility.
"We're adding two guys who are going to help us along the offensive line,'' Kugler said. "I promise we'll get the right guys in the right position ... I know there's been a lot of shuffling but that's been out of necessity, not out of plan.''