Adams Can Make A Good Draft Great

The Steelers had a good draft, according to publisher Jim Wexell. But it will become a great draft if Mike Adams lives up to his promise.

And we thought the first-rounder who fell out of the top 10 and into Pittsburgh's lap was a great story.

It pales next to the story about the second-rounder.

It's a story that defines the standing of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the hearts of so many young football players and of course fans.

Mike Adams, born into the Farrell (Pa.) Steelers' educational system and raised a die-hard Steelers fan in Dublin, Ohio, failed a drug test at the combine and then lied to the NFL teams who asked about his drug use.

The Steelers were one of those teams. And that was a shame because Adams really wanted to play for the Steelers and the Steelers really wanted to draft this Ohio State left tackle in the first round.

But he lied.

And when he learned the failed results would soon be made public, and that the rest of the NFL would soon find out that he not only failed, but that he lied, he called the Steelers.

Only the Steelers.

And they told him no.

However, they said, if he passed a list of demands they had placed in front of him, they might reconsider. And that was if they still needed him and if he was still available when they were ready.

Of course, Adams did not get on his knees and beg any other team to put him back on their draft board. In that regard, he had limited his prospects for the love of one team: the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"When I was a four-year-old, my entire bedroom was all Pittsburgh Steelers' stuff," Adams explained. "I've been in love with this organization since I started watching football. It was important for me to reach out to them because this is something I definitely wanted to be a part of."

No doubt that helped the Steelers lie in wait late into the second round. They had a first-round grade on the massive tackle with the quick feet, but not everyone did. Teams questioned his ability to handle speed off the edge, and they questioned his love of the game.

The fact Adams failed a drug test at the biggest job interview of his life, one that gave him an immediate strike in the NFL punishment policy, seemed to answer that question about his love of the game.

But he begged the Steelers. He told them he did love the game.

"If you talked to any of my coaches or teammates, I don't think you can doubt my passion for the game," Adams told the media. "This is what I love to do. This is what I'm passionate about. And this is the only place where I can really see myself being."

So the Steelers had a first-round talent fall to them at pick 56. And because that player had put aside his ego and begged the Steelers to believe in him, there's a great chance he will work hard and truly turn his life around.

The Steelers say they are unconvinced, but I am more convinced than I ever had been about Adams. My feeling now is that he will turn it around, if for nothing else but to prove everyone wrong.

The draft fell that perfectly for the Steelers. They were blessed to have top 10 talent fall to them in the first round because of his rather ordinary position of guard, and then they had a motivated monster fall to them in the second round.

In the third, the Steelers wisely drafted a too-small coverage linebacker – Sean Spence – who is tough enough to play on run downs one day if there's someone big enough in front to occupy blockers.

Enter round four, and that big man – Alameda Ta'amu – was still there because, well, no one runs the ball anymore, so who really needs a nose tackle?

The Steelers traded up to secure him. He had gotten in shape by the Senior Bowl and showed everyone he – still a mere 21-year-old – was ready to play after riding the weight-gain rollercoaster during four years as a starter at Washington.

With size, mobility and pedigree, Ta'amu is the classic two-gap, linebacker-saving nose tackle in the most traditional sense. And the Steelers loved what they saw him do at the Senior Bowl, so they were able to draft him a few rounds later than he would've gone in the older, more run-oriented NFL of a few years ago.

Not that the addition of bulldozing running back Trent Richardson to the division affected the Steelers' decision in regards to Ta'amu, right?

Oh, it's easy to chuckle from the perspective of a patient front office. And, by the way, they added a sprinter – Chris Rainey – in the fifth round.

He's listed as a tailback/receiver/return specialist, and he's out of Florida. Herd up all those Gators and let Maurkice Pouncey teach them what it means to be a Steeler.

Mike Adams will be able to teach that lesson some day. My gut tells me he'll one day speak to rookies on what it means for him to be able to play for the organization. And my gut tells me this team hit the mother lode this weekend.

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