The Steelers went out of their comfort zone in two very big ways, bucking their history and challenging their own sense of rejecting players of questionable character when they drafted Ohio State Mike Adams on the second round Friday night.
It's the first time since 1968 that they drafted two offensive linemen on the first two rounds, taking Adams one day after they drafted Stanford guard David DeCastro with the first pick.
And they dug deep into their research to draft a player who tested positive for marijuana use at the Indianapolis combine and then lied to everyone about it.
Adams, who is 6-7, 322 pounds, apparently was mortified when he learned he had tested positive. A native of Farrell, Pa., and a lifelong Steelers fan he said, according to his agent, Monroeville native Eric Metz, "I blew it. I blew my chance of being a Steeler.''
Metz said he told him, "If you were my son, I'd tell you to get in the car, drive up there, see them face to face like a man and tell them you screwed up. He got in his car and drove over there. It was important to him, he wanted to be a Steeler.''
When he arrived, he met with Colbert, coach Mike Tomlin and president Art Rooney.
"We told him he was off our draft board,'' Colbert said.
But the fact that Adams made that drive, which the Steelers appreciated, led to circumstances that culminated in them drafting him Friday night.
The Steelers laid out some stipulations for Adams to get back on their draft board, which included counseling. Colbert said he met them all, and the put gave him a first-round grade on their board.
Colbert admitted he was a risk, but said all draft picks are risks, and that Adams showed them he is serious about making up for his mistake.
As Metz said, "He ate a big piece of humble pie and he's ready to move on with his life."
If he can put the marijuana issue behind him -- he also was suspended for five games last season after getting caught up in the Buckeyes' "tattoogate" -- then the Steelers might have gotten another steal as they pour another high pick into the rebuilding of their offensive line.
The last time the Steelers drafted offensive linemen on the first two rounds was 1968, when they drafted Mike Taylor of Southern Cal and Ernie Ruple of Arkansas, both tackles.
The Steelers have now spent four top draft picks in their offensive line over the past three seasons. They drafted Maurkice Pouncey with the first pick in 2010, tackle Marcus Gilbert with their second-round draft choice in 2011.
"I feel very fortunate to have two quality players we feel very highly of,'' said line coach Sean Kugler. "We had to research it and we feel comfortable with him. He has great size, he has long arms, he can bend for a guy his size, he has a lot of length to him, which is important to the tackle position.
"He has things to work on in his entire game. I wouldn't say he's a finished product."
Kugler said he wasn't sure what affect, if any, Adams' selection would have on their plans to move Gilbert to left tackle. Adams played left tackle at Ohio State but Kugler said he can play both sides.
Kugler has had to juggle offensive linemen over the past two seasons and said that was only out of necessity. His goal, he said, is to have five stable starters and not move them around.
First Published April 28, 2012 3:45 AM