View Full Version : Time to move away from old tackles

tony hipchest
03-11-2009, 09:53 AM
im torn. supply and demand say a tackle in the draft may be the most valuable pick, however a cb or de may be the best player available at #32.

cant deny this league wide trend though.


Every offseason is an opportunity to remedy a problem, go in a different direction or get younger.

For example, teams started moving toward a two-running-back system a few years ago. Before you knew it, there were very few "bell cow" backs, and just about every team was using a rotation of runners.

As I prepare for the 2009 NFL Draft, two issues keep surfacing, and the April selection process will be stressed by the number of teams looking to do the same thing.

1. Time to move away from old tackles
The offensive tackle population in the NFL is starting to look old. The retirement of tackle John Tait at age 34 left a void on the Chicago Bears' offensive line. Their bookend tackle, John St. Clair, is 31 years old and yet to be re-signed. Chris Williams, a 2008 first-round draft pick, will fill one spot, but tackle is a concern not only in Chicago but around the league.

Al Bello / Getty Images
Born in November of 1973, Jon Runyan is the NFL's oldest starting offensive tackle.

Aging tackles who could be affected most by draft
Player Team Age
Walter Jones Seattle Seahawks 35
Jon Runyan Philadelphia Eagles 35
Flozell Adams Dallas Cowboys 33
Willie Anderson Baltimore Ravens 33
Jon Jansen Washington Redskins 33
Orlando Pace St. Louis Rams 33
Chad Clifton Green Bay Packers 32
Cornell Green Oakland Raiders 32
Jeff Backus Detroit Lions 31
John St. Clair Chicago Bears 31
Mark Tauscher Green Bay Packers 31
Mike Gandy Arizona Cardinals 30
Right now, 21 offensive tackles penciled in as starters for 2009 will be 30 years or older when the season kicks off, and that's a concern for general managers.

Eight of the old tackles will be 32 or older, and now is really the time to start thinking about replacing that aging player with a younger athlete. This is the year to seriously consider taking a young tackle in the draft, especially after the success that rookie tackles had last season. Ryan Clady played like a 10-year veteran for the Denver Broncos, and so did many members of the 2008 class. Now is the time to take a long hard look at Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith, Michael Oher, Eben Britton and William Beatty early in the draft to get younger and, in some cases, much cheaper.

As some teams draft a tackle in the first round -- and I expect at least five teams to do so -- we should see veterans traded, released, not re-signed or, in some cases, moved to a backup role.

It was a bit surprising to see the Jacksonville Jaguars sign 34-year-old Tra Thomas to a three-year contract when a solid rookie tackle would be available at the No. 8 spot in the draft, but it also says the team has other needs to address when it's on the clock.

The St. Louis Rams could take a tackle at the No. 2 spot, especially because they released seven-time Pro Bowl selection Orlando Pace on Tuesday. The Seattle Seahawks also could need a young tackle if they cut veteran Walter Jones, who has four years left on his deal for $21.8 million ($5.45 per year) with one modest roster bonus.

03-11-2009, 10:54 AM
Our OT's look downright youthful comparitively...

03-11-2009, 10:55 AM
i didn't realize how many old ass tackles there are in the league

03-11-2009, 10:57 AM
im torn. supply and demand say a tackle in the draft may be the most valuable pick, however a cb or de may be the best player available at #32.

cant deny this league wide trend though.
If the Steelers were to take a tackle with the 32nd pick, they would be in the 2nd tier of OT's at that point. Guys Like Britton or Beatty could be good prospects without a great drop off in talet from the back-end 1st tier guys. I would be fine with either of those guys.

I believe in the value system to some point. I think there would be much greater value, imo, in taking the best or a high rated interior lineman like Mack or Robinson. Much like past drafts when the Steelers picked Faneca or Simmons later in the 1st round.

I would have no problem with a DE or CB, but I think those positions are pretty deep and with good scouting, the Steelers could find a great player at those positions in the 2nd round or later...but not too much later.