2013 NFL Draft: Why The Steelers Should Take A Chance On Warmack

By Jeremy Hritz

Dave Bryan wrote an interesting article the other day about the availability of Alabama guard Chance Warmack at number 17 when the Pittsburgh Steelers make their pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. While the Steelers have invested heavily in the offensive line over the last several years, including last year’s selection of David DeCastro, it seems probable that the player that Mike Mayock called the “best player in the draft” will be available to become a member of the black and gold offensive line.

While it may seem unlikely that the Steelers would burn another draft pick on the offensive line in the first round in 2013, the pick may make more sense than it does at first glance.

There is no question that there are numerous question marks on offense, especially at wide receiver, running back, and due to injury, tight end. However, the likelihood of a first year skill player setting the league on fire is not guaranteed. If the Steelers selected Warmack at number seventeen, not only will the Steelers have guaranteed a line that could play together for several years, but they could field what could be one of the elite offensive lines in football, and the impact of such a line could compensate for some of the areas of need at the skill positions.

Ideally, an offensive line composed of Mike Adams, Warmack, Maurkice Pouncey, DeCastro, and Marcus Gilbert would afford Ben Roethlisberger time to throw the football that he has never enjoyed during his career, not only addressing his injury history, but also giving his receivers more time to get open. Additionally, the issues that the team has experienced running the football last year could potentially dissolve as they would have an offensive line at least with the tremendous potential of creating running lanes. Selecting the Warmack in the first round would still enable the Steelers to pick up a wide receiver and a running back in the later rounds.

The biggest question here is whether or not the Steelers see enough value in Warmack to pull the trigger at 17. With the rumblings that Kelvin Beachum will move to left guard, the Steelers may feel confident moving in another direction in the first round; however, will any player they select at 17 be able to have the type of impact that Warmack could have? The complexity of the defense will make it difficult for an outside or inside linebacker to come in and start year one, so why would the team use a pick knowing that the emphasis is on winning now? And is there that much of a gap between receivers forecasted to be selected in the first and second round this year? Not much. And as far as selecting a running back in the first round, based on the outcome of the selection of Rashard Mendenhall years back, it is unlikely the Steelers will do so this April.

Does this mean that the Steelers will select Warmack? No. But the longer you examine the context of the pick and secondary effects, it begins to make a great deal of sense.

Investing in another early pick on the offensive line can extend Roethlisberger’s career. And the longer that he is in Pittsburgh and healthy, the more opportunities that the Steelers will have to bring home more championships.

Hopefully the “Chance” is there for the Steelers in April.

  • Jollyrob68

    If Warmack is there you select him unless Jarvis Jones falls.

  • Kusko_Ken

    I’ve felt for awhile now that Warmack will be available at 17 and it will be interesting to see if they stick to their board and draft him. I know i’m getting way ahead of myself but if they do select Warmack and the Oline lives up to expectations are the Steelers really willing to put 40-50m a year into the Oline? A good problem to have, but historically the $ is spent on the defensive side of the ball.

  • Jollyrob68

    Inside Linebacker could start in this defense. That seems to be the Steelers problem. They don’t play their young players fast enough.
    Olb will have a harder time unless they’ve played in a 34d or very skilled

  • Jollyrob68

    time to rewrite history

  • Nolrog

    The Steelers should already have an elite line with the 4 high picks already. There’s no way they should use another high pick on the OL. And when you add in the DL, it’s been 5 years since they used the first round pick on a non-lineman and 6 of the top 8 picks in that time were on the line.

    I seriously hope that Womack is gone before we pick, so they won’t be tempted to select him.

  • Game_Time

    I agree that an ILB could come in and compete for a starting job
    considering Foote’s age and limitations (should they decide to bring him
    back) and also the question mark hanging over Spence’s health (Who by
    the way seems to be more of a Big Nickle coverage type ILB)…..
    However, they can pick up a quality ILB who is smart and physical and
    has played well in the base 34 D in the 4th rd in Nico Johnson….Chance
    Womack makes a lot sense at17 because he is pretty much a “No
    Risk, High Reward” player that fills a needs and helps to resolve the
    cap issue all in one

  • Garrett Hunt

    Warmack in the first, and Deandre Hopkins in the second would be a dream start to the draft for me.

  • Garrett Hunt

    We would be writing new history not re-writing the past

  • DeCastro and Adams didn’t exactly set the league on fire last year either. So, if we can get someone that can contribute immediately at the WR position with our 1st round pick I’d say pull the trigger even if playing time only amounted to the no. 4 WR position to start. However, Cordarrelle Patterson is the only receiver I think is worth the 17th pick, and because of that I think he gets drafted a few spots ahead of us. I’d be happy with Warmack at 17 too, but I’d rather they go with offensive skill position players with their first few picks. The fact that Starks, Foster and Colon are all probably gone means we’ll need to address the O lIne one way or another, but I think the WR position is just as important if not more. RB and TE needs follow closely behind.

  • Game_Time

    The Steelers D was ranked #1 in yardage allowed again last year. However, the offense ranked in the middle of the pack in what has now become an offense driven league…. Therefore, you pick up a player like Womack who can come in and contribute right away with your 1st pick. Then plug in a few smart young athletic splash players to rotate in and out of Dick LeBeau’s system until they are ready to take over a starting job.

  • steeltown

    ‘Best Player Available’ and that could very well be Warmack….. players will fall as they do every year, the chances of an interior lineman falling is even higher

  • steeltown

    Oh man.. yes, that would be sweet!

  • mlc43

    DeCastro had a major injury and then was coming off of a major injury. He did extremely well in the preseason (graded very high). Adams, though he didn’t do well in the preseason, played very well at RT. The running game was never as effective as it was after we lost him. He does have some pass protection problems that he has probably worked out this off season. WR, while definitely needing addressed, doesn’t have any 1st round value this year. I could see Warmack with the 1st, as long as they pick up one of the great Safeties in the 2nd.

  • mlc43

    I was dead set on wanting them to draft some pass rush in the 1st. Warmack is the only thing that has really moved me off of that idea. Defense is still the most pressing concern. I know that the unit ranked out at no 1 again, but it was a very weak no 1. There was no pass rush or turnovers and that really hurt them. I think we have to pick up one of the Safeties in this class and we have to address pass rush. Though as soon as we draft an OLB one of the ones on the roster will put up 16 sacks lol.

  • zyzak

    Hopkins is the most complete guy, he won’t last past #23

  • steeltown

    I could see Warmack in the 1st but I almost hope they get one of the top WR’s in the 2nd, like Hunter or Hopkins..and then Safety or RB in the 3rd, the Safety class is pretty deep, Cyprien, Williams, Swearinger or even Wilcox could be had between the 3rd and 5th Rds

  • Since Hritz is usually so stuck on WR and RB that I am surprised to read this, though I agree completely.

  • Sign Wallace and Lewis then draft Chance in the first and Eric Reid in the second.

  • mlc43

    Wow…where do they get all that money?

  • Cut colon, restructure a lot of people trust me they can make it work. Wallace will get a Brown like contract and Lewis will get a longer Ike contract. Together it will be around 11 mill on cap space

  • dgh57

    If Warmack isn’t there at 17 I’ll settle for Jonathan Cooper!! All I know is if Foster or Colon aren’t brought back we have a BIG HOLE at LG!! It’s a no brainer when it comes to who you select at 17! One of those 2 should still be on the board at 17.

  • alex

    the logic works for me,given that Foster may get some interest in free agency, and possibly be too expensive to bring back…the same can be said abou ta CB, given the Lewis breakout year…

    so many FA with such a big cap hurdle, tis all conjecture right now until this all starts to play out…

  • All jokes aside. I would love for them to sign Lewis. Put Beachum at LG, draft Ta’o in the first, Eric Reid in the second, Brandon Jenkins from FSU in the third, Le’veon Bell in the fourth, Jon Bostic from UF in the 5th. Then maybe get a WR. We can live with Brown, Sanders, Coch for now

  • Cody Younkin

    While i agree that we need a lot of offensive talent compared to defense, its our lack of skill players and unhealthy o-line thats killed us. We have good line players, and while Warmack is a good option, it wont matter unless these guys can stay healthy

  • Cody Younkin

    Wallace is garbage, always has been and always will be.

  • Guest

    Statistically-speaking, false.

  • LouPGH

    In my book, this is the credited response.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I would love that kind of draft maybe pick up Marcus Davis from va tech if he falls in the 6th then maybe Craig Roh from michigan to add D-line depth

  • SteelSpine

    Regarding DeCastro & Adams performance last year, you must have been referring to dreams, not what was on field.
    – CWilkes implied DD did not play real well, & DD did not, including DD did not “played extremely well in preseason.” Based on DD’s college ability I & everyone assumed he’ll be a solid pro, I still think he’ll probly become a good pro, but on field last year (camp & pre & reg season after they all said DD had healed), DD didn’t play well.
    – Adams liability on pass protection, is not “played very well.” For off tackle in pros, pass blocking is actually important. To keep saying Adams is why our run game was at it’s best, it’s not that simple. And curious what basis do you have that “Adams probably already worked out his pass protection problems this offseason”, on-a-field or a dream? Therefore why not assume Jonathan Scott & old failed off tackles fixed their pass protection problems already.
    Of course DD & Adams were rookies & we all wanted them to do well, but to imply they already proved near solid last year is bullcrap. Saying they already showed it, is different from my saying they have the tools to become good pros & probly will become good pros.

    I agree with you though re Warmack & I too want a safety before round 3.

  • SteelSpine

    – Ahh yes that’s intriguing if Warmack available will they take him & have an offensive line totaling high picks $.
    – I think there is room for another high-pick offensive lineman into the mix on our offensive line. Our off line was sooo shaky last year, that I hate assuming every off lineman of ours will be healthy plus assume Adams & DD will be good starters early in the reg season. Assuming all that is like counting on all the stars suddenly being aligned.
    – I think it’s a dilemma that we have very high needs though at OLB & safety, need a major caliber WR too. So I wish we were one of the teams which once in a while has 2 1st-rond picks or 2 2nd-round picks. I guess we have nothing we can trade to get another 1st or 2nd round pick. I wonder how far down we’d have to trade our 1st round pick to get a 2nd round pick.
    – On a minor note, when Google Warmack, seems like every teams’ fans are writing that they want Warmack. But I too recall best guards in drafts don’t go higher than #17.

  • JT

    I would be less than thrilled with Warmack, but I could live with having one of the best lines in football if everyone pans out. HOWEVER, considering the time it takes to “learn” the Steelers D. If there’s a first round grade safety or pass rusher there at 17, how can the Steelers realistically pass that up? As much as the win now mentality matters with an aging team, looking forward helps keep the team from falling off a cliff.

    But BPA has worked out pretty well for them. Certainly a tough decision for Colbert and Co.

  • JPDQ

    I’m definitely in the camp that says “no” to drafting an O-Lineman in the first round, I don’t care who it is. Too many other glaring needs, and as someone else pointed out already, our line should be plenty capable at this point with a pair of first rounders and a pair of second rounders. Besides, for the past couple of years someone on the line goes down EVERY FREAKIN GAME, so you know no matter how good our line looks on paper, it’s never gonna play out that way in reality. We can’t just keep wasting picks on O-Linemen and then watch them miss half the season with injuries. Maybe our new zone blocking scheme will help, I dunno.

    Personally, I tend to believe we need an impact player, a difference maker. Either a big receiver who knows how to go up and fight for a ball, or an OLB who can get to the QB. For the first time in a long, long time – our LB situation really makes me worry.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I wouldn’t have said DeCastro made it to 24 last year. Crazier things have happend in the draft. A LOT of 2nd round WR talent. Who knows who falls a little

  • LucasY59

    I think the Oline has been one of the biggest problems on the team. Warmack could fix that problem (other than staying healthy and getting some experience, since the line is so young, not exactly a bad problem to have) the only piece missing on the Oline is LG so I think it would be ok if they picked him. I’m not sure the problem needs a 1st rd pick to fix it (two players that could be a good zone blocking LG and may be available in the 4th rd or later are Brian Winters, Kent State and Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech) I dont think Colon, Foster, or Beachum should be the starting LG next season. Colon’s move to LG did not even come close to the expectations that I and others had hoped, plus the injury problems and cap hit means he needs to go. Foster is a Solid player, but may be going for more $ in FA and doesnt move very well so would be worse at LG than he was at RG and the change to zone scheme doesnt work for him either. Beachum could be decent at LG, but I think he is only a backup type of NFL lineman (like Legursky and Essex) he can fill in when needed and has versatility to play multiple positions on the line, but won’t ever be more than average.

  • RMSteeler

    I think there will too many play makers to choose from if/when he falls. I don’t see him being at the top of the Steelers board at 17. If he was their best rated player available on the board at 17, they likely would attempt to move down. If they take Jarvis Jones, I’m gonna puke. He’s one bad hit from paralysis or worse. He should have had surgery during the year he transferred. Then he would be worth the pick. I have spinal stenosis in the neck. Had one disc removed and fused. With the worst disc, I had constant tingling down my right arm and lost more than 50% of my strength in that arm. After the surgery, good as new. Other two discs didn’t cause symptoms so I didn’t have them all done at the same time. A year ago, I had a bad fall on ice. Whiplash damaged the next disc up to the point I will probably need surgery as the same symptoms are getting worse. It seems half the players on mock drafts predicted for the Steelers have comments about coming off serious injuries.

  • Nolrog

    They may have been #1 in yardage, but if you look deeper, you’ll see the stats drop quickly. They created few turnovers and put almost no pressure on the QB. Plus, Harrison will likely be gone, we have only one MILB and our two safeties are on the wrong side of 30 (plus, Woodley spends more time at the buffet than in the weight room.)

    If you want to take offensive talent (something I agree with) then do so. We need a RB, WR and TE. There is decent OL talent in the middle of the draft and we already have four top picks there. Womack is not a smart pick for this team.

  • JohnnyV1

    Priorities at other positions (WR, OLD, NT, TE, CB) all trump another OG, no matter how good he is. I just don’t see it.

  • JPDQ

    Agreed, agreed. Plus, when run effectively, Haley’s scheme is supposed to help protect the QB. I could be wrong, but I bet less than a quarter of the league has an O-Line with two first rounders and two second rounders on it.

    It’s way past time that the conditioning and flexibility of these guys is looked at very closely. If we could stay even remotely healthy, our line would be just fine as is.

  • Nolrog

    Wallace was an important piece to the offense. We’re better off with him than without him (salary not withstanding.)

  • Nolrog

    He came up with a very clever headline, and then wrote a story so he could use it. 8-D

  • Best player available means you take a top 5 player at 17 if he falls. We can probably all agree that he isn’t the biggest need but if he is far and away the best player on the board you take him.

    I don’t think there is any doubt he would improve both the running and passing game.

  • Superdriller316

    After what happened to DeCastro. If we move Gilbert to the left, look to losing another #1 for 3/4 of a year again. I don’t see it. We have bigger needs.

  • westernsteel

    A first round ILB should be able to compete for a starting job, seems like a bigger need than OLB with Worilds who should be ready to take over for Harrison. The Steelers have a lot of draft pics on the OL, time for a play maker.