49ers Trade Up for Staley, Goodbye Kwame
The 49ers moved up from 42 to 28 and selected OT Joe Staley, Central Michigan. Goodbye Kwame. The early reports are that the 49ers gave up a 4th this year and a 1st next year.
Having arrived on Central Michigan’s campus as a 225-pound tight end in 2003, Staley has not only matured physically, but has developed into one of the elite offensive tackles in the collegiate game. Blessed with incredible quickness, Staley has the long wingspan and strong hands to consistently neutralize his opponent.
Known for his drive-blocking ability, he helped the team produce three 1,000-yard rushers during his Chippewas career. With former teammate, center Eric Ghiaciuc, emerging in his second year with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006, pro scouts are eagerly anticipating Staley’s arrival at the next level, as many feel he is the best down lineman the school has ever produced.
Staley lettered twice in football and track at Rockford High School. He was a Grand Rapids Press Dream Team member and ranked No. 13 overall prospect by the Detroit Free Press on its Fab 50 squad and No. 49 on the Detroit News Blue Chip list. Advance newspapers added him to its all-area team.
The prep tight end caught 24 passes for 559 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. In track, he set three school records in the 200-meters (21.9), 4×100 (42.5), and 4×200 (1:27) relay teams. He placed sixth in the state in the 200-meters to earn all-state honors, as the team finished fourth in the state finals in the 4×100, fourth in 4×200,and sixth in 4×400 (43.1).
Staley enrolled at Central Michigan in 2003, starting four of 11 games at tight end as he was limited early in the year by an August camp ankle sprain. He grabbed 11 passes for 130 yards (11.8 avg.) and one touchdown. The sophomore added more than 25 pounds of muscle to his frame, which earned him a move to right offensive tackle in 2004, where he started 11 times. His blocking helped the team average 370.7 yards per game.
Another position move in 2005 saw Staley emerge as one of the best pass protectors in college. He shifted to left tackle and did not allow any sacks, as the team featured a 2,800-yard passer in Kent Smith and a 1,000-yard rusher in Ontario Sneed.
The team put more of an emphasis on the passing attack in 2006. Staley earned All-Mid American Conference honors while manning the left tackle position. Even though All-MAC offensive linemen Ghiaciuc and Adam Kieft graduated, Staley more than filled the leadership void up front, guiding an offense that ranked No. 22 in the nation in passing (245.93 yards per game) and No. 23 in scoring (29.71 points per game). He even caught one pass, but it was good for a 3-yard loss.
He finished his career by starting 39 of 46 games for the Chippewas, adding more than 75 pounds of muscle to his frame while maintaining his impressive 4.72 speed.
Positives: The first thing you notice on film is Staley’s ability to explode off the snap … Has excellent initial quickness, showing a strong base with the suddenness to get his hands into the defender in an instant … Has a tall, angular frame with developing muscles, long arms, large hands and minimal body fat (11.4 percent) … Possesses wide hips, thick thighs and a frame that can carry at least another 25 pounds with no loss in quickness … Has excellent athletic agility for this position … Still possesses the loose hips, lower-body flexibility and valid quickness of a tight end, coming off the snap with very good explosion … Quick to get out on the edge and shows very fluid knee and ankle bend when changing direction … Adds a good blend of strength, especially in his hand jolt … Moves well in the open, doing a nice job of locating and neutralizing linebackers … Shows outstanding acceleration on pulls and traps, running with short pitter-patter steps with the plant-and-drive agility to redirect … Smart enough to call blocking assignments … Makes quick adjustments on the move and will have no problems dealing with the mental aspect of the game … Plays with a high motor, knowing that his athletic ability will let him beat even the speedier pass rushers along the edge … Very light on his feet for a player of his size, showing quick reactions to combat any defensive movement … Does a solid job executing reach blocks and maintaining position when working in-line … Could use more bulk to clear out and maintain the rush lanes, but shows quick feet in his kick slide … Can fire off the ball on run blocks, showing very good hip roll in this area … Quick to get his hands into the defender to lock on and control … Has good forward body lean to maintain the rush lane and can move the pile when he uses his legs to drive hard and gain leverage … With added bulk, he could be exceptional as a drive blocker … Worked mostly from the spread and shotgun offense, but with his foot speed he was very effective at sliding out to neutralize the edge rushers … Could use more bulk to anchor, but he has the feet, balance and body control to ride his man out of the play … Fluid with his shuffle/slide and stays square and balanced attacking the defender … Has the flexibility and reach to adjust to second-level defenders … Will smother linebackers and move on to another target when he plays at a good pad level … Has the foot quickness to make the reach blocks and is fluid in his kick slide … Loops well and is quick to change direction, reacting quickly moving side to side … Shows good vision to combat twists and has the balance to recover when caught out of position.
Negatives: Can slide well in either direction and pulls well along the line, but tends to lose some hand placement attacking on the move … Has good explosion off the snap and good timed speed, but when he gets too erect in his stance he will struggle a bit to redirect … Has a strong hand punch, but needs to be more active using those hands in attempts to sustain … He seems to struggle getting low in his stance to generate leverage on the move, but he has the reach and extension ability to cover defenders up at the line of scrimmage … Showed much better explosion with his hands coming off the snap, but will tend to lean and use his body more than gain proper hand placement (is not punching the defensive end often in pass protection) … Athletic and smooth in his movements and has the body control to execute blocks in space, but needs to maintain proper pad level working in the second level (will get too tall in his stance, causing his base to narrow … Does a good job of executing pancake blocks when he stays on his feet, but must stay low in his pads in order to make contact on open-field blocks … Can extend, jolt and shock the opponent when he gets his hands on them, but needs to do it with more consistency … Strong on top, but still learning the proper technique for grabbing.
Compares To: Ross Verba, Detroit Lions … Staley’s foot speed can rival that of Oakland’s Robert Gallery, but he plays with much better aggression … Like Verba, Staley shows great fire and aggressiveness in his play … He has the vision and alertness to pick up stunts and the foot speed to easily neutralize edge rushers … Like Verba, Staley needs to add more bulk to play left tackle at the next level, but his strength and speed are great assets that will make him ideal protecting the quarterback’s blind side.
2003: Suffered an ankle sprain in mid-August.
Campus: 4.7 in the 40-yard dash … 450-pound bench press … Bench presses 225 pounds 28 times … 600-pound squat … 31-inch vertical jump … 9-foot-3 broad jump … 4.35 20-yard shuttle … 11.4 percent body fat … 33½-inch arm length … 10 1/8-inch hands … Right-handed … Wears contacts.