Worth the wait for Beachum

Getting drafted by an NFL team can be one of the best days in a football player's life, but it also can be one of the longest and most stressful days.

For Southern Methodist offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum the wait had to seem like an eternity. But in the end, it was well worth it.

Beachum was the 248th pick overall in this year's NFL Draft, taken by the Steelers with their fourth and final pick in the seventh round.

"It is tough," said Beachum. "You get a lot of calls from a lot of other teams, some talking free agency, and then you have to talk to your agent.

"Then you get a call from Coach (Mike) Tomlin and I'm with Pittsburgh. It's just tough, but it is exciting. All the emotions you can think about, that's what goes on."

Beachum was the third offensive lineman the Steelers drafted this year, selecting guard David DeCastro in the first round and tackle Mike Adams in the second round. He is an interesting prospect for the Steelers, though.

Beachum started every game he played at SMU at left tackle, but at 6-3, 305 the Steelers would consider moving him inside to guard, with the ability to use him at tackle if need be.

"He probably doesn't have prototypical tackle size," said general manager Kevin Colbert. "We had him in for a visit. This is a kid that could have some position flexibility, even though he has been a left tackle. We know he can play tackle but he really has guard size and has a center's intelligence. This kid is extremely bright."

Beachum, the Student Representative for athletes to the SMU Board of Trustees who earned his undergraduate degree in economics and is working on his Master's of Liberal Studies, is smart enough to know that position flexibility is something that will be a key for him in the NFL.

"They did (talk about guard) when I was there for the visit a couple of weeks ago, with the ability to swing at tackle if need be," said Beachum. "It's just being a team player and understanding what the Pittsburgh Steelers are all about. It's a team atmosphere, it's about winning as a team and if we need you to play another position are you willing to play there and I'm all for it.

"I understand my role and what they need from me, and that's what they are going to get."

The Steelers are also getting a player who hasn't missed a game in his college career. Beachum, who earned first-team Conference USA honors his junior year, started all 52 games in his college career showing his durability.

"It shows them that I'm committed to playing football," said Beachum, who will report on Thursday for the team's rookie orientation weekend. "Football is my life and I want to be the best at staying on the field and I'm going to find a way to get on the field.  I think that's the type of competition that they want to have come in and make their organization better to get us back to the Super Bowl again."

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