Steelers select OLB Keion Adams in seventh round of 2017 NFL Draft
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a solid history of finding overlooked players in the deep rounds of the NFL Draft.
They may have found yet another in Western Michigan defensive end Keion Adams. A four-year starter with the Broncos, Adams’ size makes him a candidate to transition to outside linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 defensive scheme.
At 6’2″ and 245 lbs., he already has the athleticism to get after opposing quarterbacks. In 2016 alone the defender had 18 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. His production caught the attention of the Steelers, who brought Adams in for a pre-draft visit. Thus it was no surprise that Pittsburgh sought a player with tremendous upside late in the draft, at a position of need.
The Steelers had already spent a pick on an edge rusher earlier in the draft (Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt) but were staring down the barrel of having to potentially replace several of their edge rushers following the 2017 season, including James Harrison (39-years-old), as well as Anthony Chickillo and Arthur Moats (both are currently only under contract through the 2017 season.)
Ironically, Adams’s NFL.com draft profile lists his pro comparison as Moats:
Adams is an elusive pass rusher who wins with athleticism and foot quickness… has pursuit quickness around the field and can be very disruptive when allowed to shoot gaps against the run…
The article goes on to talk about areas of improvement for Adams at the pro level, but make no mistake that the Western Michigan standout not only has a chance to make the team in the near future but potentially become a contributor as he works on improving those traits behind the franchise’s all-time sacks leader James Harrison.
Adams acknowledged his shortcomings, along with the opportunity to work out with “Deebo” and having grown up in the same town a Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave in a recent interview our own Eric Herrmann had with him a few weeks ago. He had this to say about an opportunity to train with Harrison:
They call him Deebo, that’s a whole different monster. He lives, breathes, and sleeps in the weight room when you got a guy like that who just has no remorse for the weights and doesn’t care and just tosses them around like they’re pillows, it’s tough to keep up with. But at the end of the day, I’d be up for the challenge, I’d go in there and give it my best. I ain’t gonna back down from that.
Even if analysts feel Adams has some downside, his combine numbers showed the speed and explosiveness necessary to achieve at the next level. During his career with Western Michigan, Adams played in 50 games, accumulating 71 solo tackles with another 53 assisted. 32 of those were for a loss.
He also brought down passers 13 times by himself.
With numbers that are nothing to sneeze at, Adams can only look up from here. Should he improve in the weight room and on the field, Pittsburgh will have found another steal on draft day.