I look at Staley almost the same way I look at Alex Smith. There are only going to be 5-7 "elite" QBs in the league. 32 teams can't all have a top 10 QB. We have a QB that executes a winning game plan very well, and in the last two years has shown at least some potential to put the team on his back (though not enough to rely on him all the time, the way you could an elite QB).
The specialization and quality of pass-rushers has reached the point where there's only going to be a small handful of "elite" LTs that can shut them down, and even those elite guys are going to have some
snaps where they get beat. Joe Staley isn't an elite LT; he's not top 10. But he's absolutely fantastic in the run game, and can execute a winning game plan well.
If you're talking about "upgrading" at the LT position, then you're talking about using a top 10 pick, and we'd have to trade up to get that.
[ Edited by sspiker on Oct 2, 2012 at 4:54 PM ]