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Kelvin Beachum, the long-term solution at left tackle

If Beachum is that solution, there are several other problems within this franchise. Or, they were able to find a diamond in the rough after a long string of failed experiments. Which will we see against Baltimore this weekend?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Never before has a seventh-round pick who's only played a modest amount of games in two seasons received so much attention.

The Steelers set out in 2012 to find an answer to their left tackle woes - an internal battle over the viability of Max Starks at the position had been waging since Marvel Smith was released after the Steelers' Super Bowl XLIII championship season.

Starks was their on-again, off-again choice for most of that time, minus a few spells of Jonathan Scott. Tony Hills was brought in as a possible long-term project replacement that never got out of the garage.

Starks came back in 2011, before the team drafted Mike Adams presumably to start at left tackle at some point. That didn't happen, Starks started all 16 games, and Adams played a bit at right tackle.

He was replaced for the remainder of last season at right tackle.

It seems now Beachum will replace Adams now at left tackle for the remainder of this season. How he'll do or how the Steelers have found themselves in a position where a seventh-round pick outplays a second round pick from the same draft are equally profound questions without easy answers.

Maybe it's an issue of the complexity of the scheme. The highly intelligent Beachum is picking up on it faster than Adams is. Does that create long-term stability?

Adams is physically gifted, and will continue to be the team's back-up at left tackle moving forward (yet another left tackle option was brought in, Levi Brown, but he was injured so severely in warm-ups, he won't play again this year).

If you're counting at home, that's one first-round pick on injured-reserve, one second-round pick on the bench and one seventh-round pick starting.

And if Beachum is indeed this team's optiom moving forward the rest of the year, the team has failed to develop a player taken approximately 150 spots higher than the guy they're now starting.

Beachum likes playing left tackle, according to Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette. So there's that.

Sad part is, it's probably the right move. The Steelers are losing the battle and losing the war. But if Beachum is a long-term option, then so be it.

It's no longer about Adams, though. It's Beachum replacing the ghost of Max Starks - a player who's had some success against Baltimore's Terrell Suggs in the past. Beachum is getting thrown into the Sizzle Sunday, one week after having to handle the Jets' dominant defensive end, Muhammad Wilkerson.

Whether it's Beachum, Adams, Starks, Smith or any other Steelers' tackle, it seems likely the pressure off Ben Roethlisberger's left side will be heavy and running lanes will be closed quickly.

Behind it all sits the curious question of why the Steelers can't find a left tackle who can consistently play the position - or if Beachum works out, how they managed to start their future left tackle at tight end this year.

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