Kelvin Beachum may be 31 years old, but he could be getting flashbacks to his 2012 rookie season during his first year with the Arizona Cardinals.
He is here to replace Marcus Gilbert, whose injury in 2012 led to Beachum’s first career start as a rookie tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gilbert, now with the Cardinals, opted out of 2020 due to health concerns related to the coronavirus.
Beachum will also play for offensive line coach Sean Kugler again, who left the Steelers after 2012 but kept in touch with his rookie tackle.
“I’ve known Kugs. I remember the actual suit and the tie that I wore for our pre-draft visit when I went to Pittsburgh some years ago and we stayed in touch over time,” Beachum said. “It’s been a great relationship.
“It did play a part in just being comfortable with somebody that I knew during this type of environment. This is challenging times for everybody across the nation, across the world. To be with some familiar faces was special during this point in my career.”
The familiarity in Arizona doesn’t end there. Beachum works out in the offseason with left tackle D.J. Humphries and left guard Justin Pugh, so he knew he had a camaraderie with the offensive line group for his new team.
Beachum, who played for the New York Jets the last three years, said he’s “grateful for the opportunity” to land with Arizona. Inking a deal in July, just as Gilbert opted out of the season, Beachum competed with 2019 starting right tackle Justin Murray in training camp. He won the job, giving Murray the backup right guard and tackle roles.
It makes sense given their experience.
Murray earned his first career start in Week 1 of 2019 after being a waiver-wire pickup just a week prior. He threw together an impressive 12 starts under his belt from there, but Beachum has 99 career starts to his name.
As for that move to right tackle following a long stint on the left side after he became a seventh-round pick of the Steelers in 2012, Beachum shrugged the switch off. “Execution,” he said, is all there is to it.
His less serious teammate, Humphries, who has made the switch from right to left tackle, gave a more honest assessment of the challenge.
“It’s like writing with your left hand,” said Humphries, adding that Beachum is like his big brother. “If anybody can make that transition, it’s Beachum. He’s a pro’s pro. He’s one of those guys, he does everything right.”