The first article in this series looked at whether any of this year's offensive line prospects could be worth the Steelers' pick at #22 overall. The big four we considered were Andrus Peat from Stanford, Iowa’s Brandon Scherff, Cedric Ogbuehi out of Texas A&M, and Ereck Flowers from Miami.
I’m not going to ask the easy question. If one of those 1st-rounders should fall to 2:24*, he’s probably good value regardless of the position. Too many weird things happen in the NFL to ignore an early-1st talent who falls into the bottom half of the 2nd. If Marcus Mariota falls to 2:24 the Steelers would probably pick him too even with a healthy Ben in the prime of his career. At some point the value of the player clearly trumps the value of any given position. The question always comes down to whether that point has been reached.
Frankly, most of us doubt the Steelers would select any of this year’s offensive linemen at 1:22 even if one of those four should drop. None are so utterly outstanding that Colbert & Crew would be tempted away from players who could fill a bigger hole. It gets more interesting in the second round because the stakes are a little lower and the players who might be available could cement the Steelers’ line (including depth) for many years to come. So Steeler Fan, are there any dream linemen who could tempt you away from a pass rusher or a corner in round 2? Here is a brief list of some options who might (in a dream world) be available:
La'el Collins, OT/G, LSU – 6’5", 321 lbs. Collins is a massive road grader. Questions about his feet lead most analysts to project him as a better Right Tackle prospect than someone you’d put on the blind side, but he’s almost a sure-fire success at that spot and maybe an even better option as a Guard. High floor and position flexibility combine to make him a pretty tempting option. This is a nice scouting report from Football Insiders if you want more information.
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - 6'5", 315 lbs. As Daniel Jeremiah said, "good size to go along with great feet and balance" are enough to generate a lot of buzz. But there’s also a real sense that you’d be picking Stanley more for what he can be than what he is. As this scouting report points out, the skills are 3rd-round quality even if the potential is all but unlimited. Still, that’s why he might drop to an affordable spot. And just imagine what might happen if you gave that much raw potential to Coach Munchak.
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt - 6'6", 315 lbs. Does he have the foot speed to play left tackle in the NFL? If so, this local product could be an all-pro when all is said and done. He's already a heck of a run blocker. This is a nice little scouting report from a Patriots fan site.
Tyrus Thompson, OT/G, Oklahoma - 6'5", 336 lbs. There’s something about Tyrus Thompson that screams "Steelers." He’s big and athletic enough to play tackle, but not so tall, or lanky that Guard is out of the question, and he can move well enough to play in either a "power" or a "zone" running scheme. That makes him a very flexible asset, which Mike Tomlin always loves. Thompson seems to be a mature and fairly charismatic young man, as indicated by this article and this article, both of which focus on his enduring friendship with Oklahoma’s other Tackle Daryl Williams. But he still has some "nasty," as shown by a flash-in-the-pan 2012 scandal where he through a punch. Perhaps best of all, Thompson may drop a bit because this is a strong class and he has a number of technical flaws that will require skilled coaching to fix. It would be hard to design a better toy for Coach Munchak to play with.
Cameron Erving, OT/G/C, Florida State - 6'5", 308 lbs. Erving is a remarkable athlete who started on the defensive side of the ball, moved to the offensive line, and has played both Tackle and Center at a high level. No one doubts that he’d excel at Guard as well. And therein lies his peculiar value to the Steelers. We all know how much value Mike Tomlin places on position flexibility. Cam Erving would singlehandedly cement the team’s depth at every position along the line, especially with Mike Adams as an alternate tackle. Pittsburgh would be able to dress only seven offensive linemen per game, freeing up a spot for anything else the team might need. That’s good value above and beyond anything he does on the field directly. But as they say in the infomercials, that’s not all! Erving will drop to the late-1st or early-2nd because of various technical flaws in his game. They’re all fixable, but they’ll have a definite impact on how quickly he can make it onto the field. Once fixed, however… This is another young man with a truly sky-high ceiling. My personal prediction is that he’ll blow up the Combine and propel himself into the 1st round for a team that’s willing to bet on potential, but anything is possible. You can find a summary scouting report here.
So, those are the options. How do they compare, in your mind, to the players we currently rank at 2:24 on the Big Board – including pass rushers like Nate Orchard, Jordan Jenkins and Mario Edwards; pass defenders such as Lorenzo Doss, Senquez Golson, Doran Grant and KeiVarae Russell; and tight ends such as Jeff Heuerman and Clive Walford?
Enter your votes below, and your thoughts in the Comments.
* I understand that the Steelers have the highest pick of the three teams that finished 11-5. Thus Pittsburgh gets the 22nd pick of the 1st round, the 24th pick of the second round, the 23rd pick of the third round, etc.