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Potential Draft Pick Profile: Joe Staley

If the Steelers decide to use their first round draft pick on an offensive player, it's a safe bet that they would look to upgrade the offensive line.

It's pretty much a given that OT Joe Thomas (Wisconsin) will be taken long before the Steelers pick at #15. It's also safe to assume that OT Levi Brown (Penn State) will also be snatched up somwhere before the Steelers are on the clock.

Many draft experts think USC Center Ryan Kalil is the next best lineman after Thomas and Brown. Jeff Hartings did retire, so there's a possibility that the Steelers might go after the big talented Trojan, but they'd likely trade down a few spots knowing they could still get him in the 20-25 pick range.

I want to talk about Joe Staley though, a player I think may surprise some people by being selected somewhere in the middle of the 1st Round. Staley was unable to participate in the 2007 Combine due to a pulled hamstring, but absolutely amazed scouts during his Pro Day Workout on March 15th. Staley's 40-yard dash (4.80), shuttle (4.30), and three-cone drill (7.17) were all the fastest recorded by an offensive lineman in the 2007 draft class.

Joe Staley may end up being the steal of the 1st Round if he falls to the late 20s

Staley started his career at Central Michigan as a TE, but was moved to the line after putting on nearly 70 pounds. He now stands 6'6" and weighs 306 pounds, but feels he can comfortably add another 20 lbs before reaching is ideal playing weight.  

There's more good news. When asked which offensive linemen he admires most, he said:

I really like watching Alan Faneca play, just because he is such a mauler. He really gets after people.
And to boot, he grew up watching the Steelers and still considers them his favorite team!

Nice taste Joe. Nice taste.

So let's review. He's a late bloomer who recorded one of the finest workouts ever by a lineman, he loves the Steelers, and emulates the physical play of Alan Faneca. Sounds like a winner to me. Don't think that Mr. Rooney and Mr. Colbert don't have this guy on their radar. If they do decide to take an offensive player with their first pick, my money is on them taking Staley higher than most would have predicted.