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The long and winding road of Kelvin Beachum

The jack of all trades replaces the master of none. Beachum's start over Mike Adams is not a long-term solution; Adams will eventually get his job back. Adams was taken in the second round, he won't be benched for a seventh-round pick for very long.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The demotion of Steelers left tackle Mike Adams was the solution of a problem. Such reflexive problems, though, require the subtraction of one as well as the addition of another.

And if you really want to get technical with the fundamentals of problem-solving, the assignment of blame piece is particularly interesting (read: annoying). Adams was a second round pick, and was benched in favor of a player taken in the seventh round of that same draft.

Both Adams and Beachum are 20 games into their professional careers. Beachum has played in 12 of those 20 games, and Adams has played in 14. Both have played right tackle, but Beachum has also played center (in Week 1 against Tennessee) tight end (Weeks 1 and 2) and left guard (Week 4).

The jack of all trades replaces the master of none.

The hope here is simply to remove the leaking pipe and replace it with one that doesn't leak. The Steelers aren't looking to change out their entire piping system with Beachum; clearly (hopefully) they aren't seeing this as a long-term fix.

And that's exactly what Beachum has been throughout his short professional career. A late-seventh round pick out of SMU, Beachum was something of a surprise when he made the roster out of training camp last season. His versatility and intelligence being the keys for his ability to hang around - the Steelers kept him over former 6-position offensive lineman Trai Essex, almost a passing of the torch of one multiple-position replacement to another. Where Essex was the solution to all the Steelers' offensive line problems, the one player he couldn't eventually replace was Beachum.

The word was Beachum was being trained along the interior line this season, and figured to be the replacement of interior savant Doug Legursky. It appears now he's more a hybrid of Legursky and Essex - a Swiss Army offensive lineman. Has all the tools, but none of them can stand out in a manner of effectiveness on their own.

Clearly, it has some kind of value. While it took Essex an entire career to eventually play all six offensive line positions (including tight end), Beachum will have knocked out five of them (all but right guard) by his 21st game in the league.

So he's used to this weird game of Musical Beachums - just keep patching pipes with No. 68.

For as mentally lapsed as Adams appeared in all four games the Steelers played this season, none of them resulting in wins, there's no better way to say "we're going to target an offensive tackle in the offseason" than "we're benching our second round pick in favor of our seventh-round pick."

This isn't at all to suggest this isn't the right move to make; Adams needs some time to get caught up with the offense. It appears he's missing signals the rest of the line is getting. His beats aren't of the physical nature necessarily, and even if they were, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers in back-to-back weeks is a tad tougher of an assignment than whatever the Jets will throw at Beachum.

Adams will eventually get his spot back. Swiss Army Beachum will eventually be used in another fix-it manner. But one really has to wonder at the overall state of evaluation that's leading to this decision.

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