History Tells Us Alabama G Chance Warmack Likely To Be Available At 17th Overall

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock was on the “The Rich Eisen Podcast” recently to discuss the upcoming draft prior to him leaving for the NFL combine and during his interview he raved about Alabama left guard Chance Warmack.

“The best player I\’ve seen on tape is the guard from Alabama,” Chance Warmack, said Mayock. “Now, he\’s not going No. 1, but he\’s the best football player.”

Not that it matters, but ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said that he considers Warmack to be the best guard prospect that he’s seen since Steve Hutchinson, who the Seattle Seahawks drafted 17th overall in the 2001 NFL Draft.

The NFL draft process is not kind to interior linemen going early no matter how good the prospect is. Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers know this first hand as guard David DeCastro was the first interior lineman selected in the 2012 draft at 24th overall. Many of the experts thought that DeCastro was easily a top 10 selection and none of them envisioned him dropping out of the top 20.

When you look at interior lineman drafted in the first round dating back to 2000, Mike Pouncey, twin brother of Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, was selected the highest when he was drafted 15th overall by the Miami Dolphins back in 2011. He, however, was drafted to be a center like his brother was, not a guard.

As far as true guards go, Shawn Andrews was the highest to be drafted dating back to 2000 when the Philadelphia Eagles picked him 16th overall in the 2004 draft. After that you have Hutchinson at 17th overall in 2001 and Mike Iupati 17th overall in 2010.

So why are guards always crapped on in the first round? I have forgotten exactly how Bill Parcells put it several years ago, but when talking about drafting in the top half of the first round he said that his philosophy was to either get a quarterback, get a player that could protect the quarterback, or get a player that could get after the quarterback.

Protecting the quarterback means drafting a left tackle and that is why we usually see that position get selected at least once in the top half of every draft. This year will be no different. Quarterbacks go without saying as teams are always willing to pick one early. Defensive ends, defensive tackles and rush linebackers that can get after the quarterback usually dominate first rounds with a few cornerbacks, wide receivers and running backs mixed in.

So what does this mean for the Steelers? It means that there is a pretty good chance that Warmack could still be on the board by the time their first round pick rolls around. Would general manager Kevin Colbert really stick to his board and select yet another offensive lineman in the first round after drafting a total of four offensive linemen in the first two rounds the last three years?

Of all positions that the Steelers could use on their offensive line right now left guard is it. Ramon Foster figures to be gone via free agency and the future of Willie Colon, who has landed on injured reserve each of the last three seasons, is also currently in question.

Should the Steelers select Warmack in the first round you would figure that Colon would then be released, if he hadn\’t already been released, on June 2nd. That move would create $5.5 million worth of cap space in 2013, but produce $4.3 million in dead money in 2014.

We will have our eyes on Warmack during the combine, but his stock can only drop at this point. Judging by the last 12 years worth of drafts he could potentially still be on the board when the Steelers select and that is a scenario that will remain in play from now until draft day.

Early Round Draft History Of Interior Offensive Linemen Dating Back To 2000

2012David DeCastroG24th
2012Kevin ZeitlerG27th
2011Mike PounceyC15th
2011Danny WatkinsG23rd
2010Mike IupatiG17th
2010Maurkice PounceyC18th
2009Alex MackC21st
2009Eric WoodC28th
2008Chilo RachalG39th
2007Ben GrubbsG29th
2006Davin JosephG23rd
2006Nick MangoldC29th
2005Chris SpencerC26th
2004Shawn AndrewsG16th
2003Jeff FaineC21st
2002Kendall SimmonsG30th
2001Steve HutchinsonG17th
2000Travis ClaridgeG37th

  • Chris S

    While I agree that spending another high draft pick on the OL while ignoring other glaring needs is not good (as they ignored the OL for years and look what happened there). But if they took the guy I have no problem with it. But does he fit into the zone scheme the Steelers will play with the OL? I’ve heard he’s more of a man blocking OL.

    Also as far as Colon…one thing nobody has talked about is trying to trade him. Would this have the same impact on the cap/etc as cutting him or what? Even if they got a 5-7th pick for him its better than getting NOTHING. Maybe the Depot can clarify any different in trading versus cutting him.

  • SteelersDepot

    Bama ran both the inside and outside zone.

  • SteelersDepot

    trading Colon still accelerates bonus proration. Also, nobody is going to be willing to trade for that salary and remainder of contract that he has which they would take on via a trade.

  • While I would not put OG as a high round need, I think we have to take a long hard look at him if he is there. He may be too good to pass up.

  • Nolrog

    Didn’t they say similar things about DeCastro last year (he’s the best G prospect since )
    Honestly, I hope he’s gone so they won’t be in any way tempted to draft him. We can get a decent guard in the middle of the draft, and there are multipe needs elsewhere that are much greater.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Dave if he is there would you take him?

  • SteelSpine

    Agreed. And Colbert sounded pretty disgusted at all the personnel involving our running game, not just RBs. If Warmack’s available at our pick but we draft someone else at that spot, I’m OK because it means we got a dang good prospect (I hope!). We have very high needs at multiple positions, OLB & safety etc.

  • zyzak

    Steelers have run both zones last 3 yearsI Is this guy quick enough for LG? I think he’s too big

  • Caleb


  • Garrett Hunt

    To me talented D and O lines are the key to sustained success. Having another “all pro” caliber player on the line may not be the sexiest pick, but could make a huge impact.

    A potential line of Adams, Warmack, Pouncey, DeCastro, Gilbert would be very appealing to me. If all the players develop chemistry and reach their potential, it could make the best line the Steelers have had that I can remember (Obviously not the best of all time, but i’m 20 so don’t hate).

  • Caleb

    Might also be someone a team targets and the Steelers could move back.

  • dgh57

    It all starts up front in the trenches!!! If you have a strong o-line it makes your RBs look better, it protects your QB which in turn makes your WRs look better! It increases your Time of Possession on offense and keeps your defense off the field and rested! I would have no problem them drafting Warmack or even Jonathan Cooper with the 1st pick! We would have 3 1st rd picks in the middle and 2 2nd rd picks on the outside provided of course everything works out!!

  • SteelerFanInMD

    Last year the Steelers took the best value in the early rounds with DeCastro and Adams, which happened to coincide with their needs. I think they will continue to draft that way. If Warmack is rated as highly as the draft experts say and he falls to the Steelers, I think they will draft him.

  • Jollyrob68

    If Warmack is there then you take him.

  • LucasY59

    I think the only player that the Steelers should pick over Warmack would be Jarvis Jones IF they were both available at 17 (it would be like last year when It looked like the Steelers were going to pick Hightower, but DeCastro slid) It is a big IF and I can only hope the Steelers are that lucky 2 years in a row. (If Jones doesn’t clear medically its a totally different story) the other possible scenario is if both are available does that make the pick valuable enough that another team would be willing to give up multiple picks to get either Jones or Warmack? I think both players could help the team alot, but so would extra picks especially if they were early in the rds.

  • RMSteeler

    With the bottom feeder teams clawing over each other reaching for a 2nd or 3rd round QB, I think the Steelers will have 3 or 4 players fall to 17. Would be a difficult decision, but possibly a good place to be. Wouldn’t be surprised to see another 1st round prospect at 34. This may be the most difficult position to choose from in 10 years for the Steelers. Thank God the Steelers draft board won’t look like the Raiders DART board!

  • As long as it’s on the offensive side of the ball I don’t care who we pick in round 1.

  • HarryBackside

    Warmack is a top 5 player. If he’s there, the Steelers need to take him. It’s really that simple. Guard may not be a sexy pick, but Warmack is a player who can step in and start on day 1. Can’t say the same thing about any of the OLB prospects. Warmack would give the Steelers the best interior OL in the league. A successful run game opens up play action play action pass, which makes the offense more explosive, and helps keep Ben healthy.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Would like to see him at the combine measured against other interior O-linemen. Maybe Steelers pass on him yet land Larry Warford (Kentucky) in the 2nd rd or David Quessenberry (San Jose St) in the 3rd. Also not sure what role Beachum will play in the 2013 season. Is he starter material? At left guard?

  • steeltown

    Yea.. sounds good in theory.. except the Steelers grossly overpaid Colon and no Team wants to pay him the remainder of that salary, especially looking at his injury history

    I said it before, I bet the Steelers never give a player that much money ($30million contract) the year after a season ending injury again.

  • steeltown

    I hope we dont select OL in the 1st Rd again, BUT… Best Player Available… and also that would alleviate some of the concern over cutting ties with Colon, Foster and/or Legursky.

    In the end, I wouldnt be upset, I’d be thrilled to get a player of his caliber, but I also think we’ve spent enough high picks on OL recently…… but again, ‘Best Player Available’

  • Ahmad

    I was thinking about this early this morning. Pouncey feel to us at 18 back in 2010 and DeCastro fell to us last year at 24. I have no doubt that there is a strong chance that Warmack can do the same.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Agreeing. Desperate teams reach down for qbs every year. Plus there’s always surprises of a team at picks 7-15 taking an outside pass rusher who was not rated above round 2, & reporters at the draft scratch their heads. Thats why several players good for us will fall to 17, we’ll hav our choice or can then trade down.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Me too. DeCastro & Pouncey were rated NFL ready & were at least as good as Warmack. So figure he’ll still be available. The only way a big good guard is reached for from higher, is when teams want to move the prospect to offensiv tackle.

  • I would prefer to be amazed by one of the great defensive talents dropping to us at 17…

  • Mulletman

    if the steelers wanted this guy, they should have lost to Cleveland in the final game. I dont see the Rams, who pick before us, passing him up

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Whoever gets picked at 15 or 16, better not be great fits for Steelers, otherwise Steelers winning that worthless last game will be revisited.

  • If warmack is still there when we pick. Then i think we should pick him up. Followed by a RB and the defensive player.

  • Intropy

    I was thinking the same thing. And then I thought, “what if Lotulelei also falls to 17?”

  • LucasY59

    I think if Lotulelei falls within 5 spots of 17 they should start thinking about trading up to get him (he totally dominates every Olineman that he lines up across from) If he makes it all the way to 17 then the Steelers will have won the Draft Lottery two years in a row where they get a player that should’ve been gone 10 spots earlier.