Lot to Love

The Steelers are placing a heavy emphasis on front-seven defenders this draft season, but they're not blind. They understand they may have a problem brewing on the offensive line and are looking hard at a left tackle who projects to be drafted in the bottom third of the first round.

Wex's Draft Series
  • Mid-round LBs
  • Jason Capizzi
  • Ikaika Alama-Francis
  • Jon Beason
  • Tony Hunt
  • Le'Ron McClain
  • Michael Bush
  • Daniel Sepulveda
  • Darrelle Revis
  • LaMarr Woodley
  • Lawrence Timmons
  • Chris Houston
  • Marshawn Lynch
  • Ben Grubbs
  • Leon Hall
  • Adam Carriker
  • Jarvis Moss
  • Anthony Spencer
  • The Odds
  • Not that the Steelers would draft Central Michigan left tackle Joe Staley at pick 15, but according to a source, offensive line coach Larry Zierlein "loves" Staley and is trying to convince the personnel department to consider him among a pool of players they'd draft in a trade down of "seven or eight spots" in the round.

    There's plenty to love about Staley, best of all his feet and movement skills. Staley wowed scouts and coaches – including Zierlein, the Steelers' new line coach – at his pro day when he ran, according to NFL.com, a 4.82 40, a 4.2 short shuttle and a 7.09 three-cone drill. The 6-5 7/8 tackle did that at 304 pounds.

    All 32 teams attended the workout. One line coach raved about him to John Murphy of Yahoo! Sports.

    "That was probably one of the best all-around workouts I've seen by a big tackle in recent years," the anonymous coach said. "He moves around like a defensive back: light on his feet and just great movement skills and agility.

    "My personal assessment would be that kid does not last past the top-20 picks; just too much ability and the potential to lock down a left tackle spot for the next 10 years."

    Another coach told a local paper that Staley "made millions for himself today." The Steelers agree with the assessment, but won't take him with pick 15 because he's still not "the finished product just yet," according to the source.

    Staley has worked his way into the draft's first round. (Photo: Central Michigan Athletics)
    Staley's drawback is a lack of strength. While he put the bar up 27 times at the combine, he's not naturally strong and lacks a punch at the point of attack. He's also not much of a run-blocker, although the Steelers believe Staley's so dedicated to the game and the weight room that game strength will come in time.

    Staley was a track star at Rockford High School in western Michigan. He ran the 100 meters in 10.8 seconds and set the school record with a 200-meter time of 21.9. He was also part of two record-setting relay teams.

    He went to Central Michigan as a 230-pound tight end and caught 11 passes for 130 yards as a true freshman. He moved to right tackle the next season and started all 11 games. He moved to left tackle in 2005 and started every game the last two seasons. He played at 295 pounds as a senior.

    Staley weighed in a 305 at the combine, but didn't work out after pulling a hamstring while training in Houston.

    "I'm at athletic tackle. I get out in space well," he said at the combine. "I'm definitely a hard worker. I take pride in finishing my blocks. I'm real competitive." Staley moves down the field like ex-Raider Hall of Famer Gene Upshaw, but said he doesn't emulate anyone. He did spend plenty of time working under 13-year veteran Brad Hopkins in Houston.

    "We have similar styles," Staley said. "He was an athletic tackle. He came into the league a little bigger than I was and he lost weight through his career. He was an athletic tackle and moved well. He played on the left side where you're dealing with speed rushers so much. Playing tackle and having that athletic background is definitely going to help me. I have the balance and coordination that comes with being a left tackle."

    Staley didn't work out at the combine because he pulled a hamstring workout out with Hopkins. He obviously recovered in time for his pro day, and perhaps for a spot with the Steelers.


    Steel City Insider Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n Wex's Draft Series
    \r\n
  • Mid-round LBs
  • \r\n
  • Jason Capizzi
  • \r\n
  • Ikaika Alama-Francis
  • \r\n
  • Jon Beason
  • \r\n
  • Tony Hunt
  • \r\n
  • Le'Ron McClain
  • \r\n
  • Michael Bush
  • \r\n
  • Daniel Sepulveda
  • \r\n
  • Darrelle Revis
  • \r\n
  • LaMarr Woodley
  • \r\n
  • Lawrence Timmons
  • \r\n
  • Chris Houston
  • \r\n
  • Marshawn Lynch
  • \r\n
  • Ben Grubbs
  • \r\n
  • Leon Hall
  • \r\n
  • Adam Carriker
  • \r\n
  • Jarvis Moss
  • \r\n
  • Anthony Spencer
  • \r\n
  • The Odds
  • \r\n \r\n\r\nNot that the Steelers would draft Central Michigan left tackle Joe Staley at pick 15, but according to a source, offensive line coach Larry Zierlein \"loves\" Staley and is trying to convince the personnel department to consider him among a pool of players they'd draft in a trade down of \"seven or eight spots\" in the round. \r\n\r\n

    There's plenty to love about Staley, best of all his feet and movement skills. Staley wowed scouts and coaches – including Zierlein, the Steelers' new line coach – at his pro day when he ran, according to NFL.com, a 4.82 40, a 4.2 short shuttle and a 7.09 three-cone drill. The 6-5 7/8 tackle did that at 304 pounds. \r\n\r\n

    All 32 teams attended the workout. One line coach raved about him to John Murphy of Yahoo! Sports. \r\n\r\n

    \"That was probably one of the best all-around workouts I've seen by a big tackle in recent years,\" the anonymous coach said. \"He moves around like a defensive back: light on his feet and just great movement skills and agility. \r\n\r\n

    \"My personal assessment would be that kid does not last past the top-20 picks; just too much ability and the potential to lock down a left tackle spot for the next 10 years.\" \r\n\r\n

    Another coach told a local paper that Staley \"made millions for himself today.\" \r\n\r\nThe Steelers agree with the assessment, but won't take him with pick 15 because he's still not \"the finished product just yet,\" according to the source. \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\n

    \r\n
    Staley has worked his way into the draft's first round. (Photo: Central Michigan Athletics)
    \r\n\r\nStaley's drawback is a lack of strength. While he put the bar up 27 times at the combine, he's not naturally strong and lacks a punch at the point of attack. He's also not much of a run-blocker, although the Steelers believe Staley's so dedicated to the game and the weight room that game strength will come in time. \r\n\r\n

    Staley was a track star at Rockford High School in western Michigan. He ran the 100 meters in 10.8 seconds and set the school record with a 200-meter time of 21.9. He was also part of two record-setting relay teams. \r\n\r\n

    He went to Central Michigan as a 230-pound tight end and caught 11 passes for 130 yards as a true freshman. He moved to right tackle the next season and started all 11 games. He moved to left tackle in 2005 and started every game the last two seasons. He played at 295 pounds as a senior. \r\n\r\n

    Staley weighed in a 305 at the combine, but didn't work out after pulling a hamstring while training in Houston. \r\n\r\n

    \"I'm at athletic tackle. I get out in space well,\" he said at the combine. \"I'm definitely a hard worker. I take pride in finishing my blocks. I'm real competitive.\" \r\n\r\nStaley moves down the field like ex-Raider Hall of Famer Gene Upshaw, but said he doesn't emulate anyone. He did spend plenty of time working under 13-year veteran Brad Hopkins in Houston. \r\n\r\n

    \"We have similar styles,\" Staley said. \"He was an athletic tackle. He came into the league a little bigger than I was and he lost weight through his career. He was an athletic tackle and moved well. He played on the left side where you're dealing with speed rushers so much. Playing tackle and having that athletic background is definitely going to help me. I have the balance and coordination that comes with being a left tackle.\" \r\n\r\n

    Staley didn't work out at the combine because he pulled a hamstring workout out with Hopkins. He obviously recovered in time for his pro day, and perhaps for a spot with the Steelers. \r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n","skipOnMobile":true,"skipOnMobileReason":"UnsupportedHtmlTable","unsupportedMarkup":"LackingResponsiveTableClass","media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-04-09T07:20:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:420608]","mainImage":{"url":"[MEDIA:420608]"},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:420608]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"497","name":"Central Michigan"},{"id":"9942","name":"Central Michigan - Football"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh 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