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 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.