Welcome back to another chat. Like always, I’ll answer as many questions as I can over the next hour.
Before that, I wanted to share a thought I had yesterday. There are probably only like, three US Presidents left. Four, max.
I know this because I stumbled on the Bear Grylls episode with President Obama yesterday. And in it, I found out that the President doesn’t have his own smartphone. He has a Blackberry and that’s it. Can’t text. Can’t tweet. Any phone with a recorder, he can’t have for security reasons. It’s apparently too easy to track. So no smartphone for the President and probably for all future ones.
But for a guy who is 54, I bet it doesn’t bother him that much. Smartphones were just becoming a thing when he took office. But fast forward 30 years from now, good luck finding anyone willing to give up their phone to have the highest pressure job in America. Half the population hates you and you can’t send out your hot taeks on Twitter?
In the future, policy isn’t going to mean a thing when it comes to the next President. All that will matter is finding a guy able to put down Candy Crush for eight years. Good. Luck.
To your questions!
Nicholas Allen Cotner: Calvin Johnson……HOFer or a case of “what could have been” if injuries hadn’t been so frequent?
Alex: Tough for receivers to get in but he’s a HOF for me. And I don’t usually say that about players I watched. I just look for guys who were the best at their position for a long period of time. And from 2008-2013, he pretty much was.
Tom Jackson: Hey Alex, about how many draft prospect did you scout yet? And could you give out your favorit 3 players at OLB, Safety and CB for the steelers?
Alex: I went through about 40 players before the Senior Bowl. Haven’t gotten to many others yet. These might not be the best but these are some guys from each I like.
OLB: Noah Spence, Carl Nassib, Jordan Jenkins
S: Kevin Byard, Darian Thompson, Deiondre’ Hall
CB: Harlan Miller, Kevin Peterson, William Jackson III
The only one of those who might go in the first round before 25 is Spence. And as we saw with Dupree last year, sometimes guys fall when we don’t expect it.
Tre Atkinson: Hey Alex, with safety being an issue I was wondering something. If the Steelers somehow manage to sign Weddle, would you still take Darian Thompson at 25 if he’s there
Alex: That’s a tough one. Good reason for and against. Safeties take time to develop so being able to get a guy to play now and for the future would make you feel comfortable. But you’d almost hate to spend that on a guy who probably wouldn’t contribute year one. As always, it would just depend on the board and what else the team did in free agency. I certainly wouldn’t be adamantly against it though.
Matt Manzo: Any chance we can find one guy to man both the back up DE and back up OLB spots? Someone who can put their hand down and stand up?
Alex: No. Two totally different positions. Sure, you could find an edge guy who can rush with their hand down but not as a true DE. Just an OLB playing down, like the Steelers would occasionally do with guys like Dupree this year.
James Cowan: Hey Alex, any danger the Steelers don’t bring Gay back? 31 now so the age DB play starts to drop off.
Alex: Man, I can’t see any situation where he leaves. He left once and obviously didn’t find greener pastures. He’s going to be pretty cheap, his football IQ is invaluable (a good reason why he stayed in the slot so long last year), and he can still hit and even run. I remember him running step-for-step with Travis Benjamin last year. The guy still has it.
Nigel Walker: Hi Alex, do you think the steelers would have any interest in bringing back Al Woods or Corbin Bryant and what are your thoughts on Akiem Hicks could be a good third DE at a cheap price.
Alex: I doubt either happens. I know the Steelers have brought back some guys for a second go-around (Gay, Randle El) but overall, like any team, you prefer to find someone new. Woods would be the more likely of the two. Bryant barely ever did anything here. I’m on board with the Hicks idea though he could command more money than you might expect, and probably doesn’t want to get stuck in a rotation with Heyward/Tuitt. Not sure what the compelling reason to come to Pittsburgh would be.
RickM: In terms of a future pass rush, do you feel that Dupree can ultimately be a guy who gets consistent pressure off the edge. If yes, could you explain the techniques that he needs to learn or refine and also why they weren’t tried or successful this past season. Thanks.
Alex: Short answer, yes, I think he can be. I loved him out of Kentucky and my thoughts won’t change after one year. I’m probably not the most qualified to answer about specific techniques but I’m really looking for him to be able to flatten the edge and get upfield. Some of that is natural talent, the ability to have hip/ankle flexibility, but there’s some technique at work too. In general, he needs to continue to work on his counters and set up his rushes. Convert speed to power, win inside. He probably tried to win the edge too often last year, making him a more predictable rusher who would get worked up the arc too often.
DirtDawg1964: Any recent cuts that interest you?
Alex: Not really, to be honest. There are usually good reasons why these players are getting cut immediately.
falconsaftey43: Alex, do you think the Steelers would be open to drafting a DL player in the top 3 rounds that could play NT in base and DT in the nickle?
Alex: I never rule anything out but I’m looking for a more true five tech, unless there is some elite talent floating out there. But that’s unlikely given where the Steelers are picking. I assume Steve McLendon will be re-signed and with how little the position is used, not even a third of the time, it isn’t worth it.
Spencer Krick: There’s a Safety and an Edge Rusher of equal talents available at 25. Who do you take and why?
Alex: Gun to my head, edge rusher. All starts with building a quality front seven.
Ike Evans: Hey alex…Do you see haley talking them into drafting another wr/rb/return specialist type guy or did rainey and archer kill that experiment?
Alex: It wouldn’t shock me. I mean, they’re almost always good to take at least one receiver a year. Maybe that turns out to be a hybrid position. Try to find someone who can impact the return game. But more on the WR side than RB, if that makes sense. But we’re talking late rounds. 7th round pick or a priority free agent.
Gluebucket: Do you see us drafting an ILB this year or next to replace Timmons? Or do you think Vince Williams could be a long term replacement?
Alex: I can see them taking one but not as an obvious replacement for Timmons. You know I love Vince Williams and think he can be his replacement, provided he doesn’t leave Pittsburgh before Timmons’ time is up.
58Steel: Alex, any doubts we draft an edge rusher at some point in this draft (I’m assuming we don’t get one via FA)? Still a huge need in my book
Alex: I’ve said it’s a tough situation, especially if Harrison comes back. If he does, you have 4 guys likely to be on the roster Week One. But I’m all for adding competition at your most important spot. So one will get brought in. Just a question of when.
Ken: I’m sure you have already answered this somewhere, but which place kicker are we keeping?
Alex: Good question, Ken. I think everyone assumes it’s Boswell. All I know is kickers are the most fickle guys in football. Good one year, bad the next, good again. It’s a toss up for me but if Boswell does well again, I do think it’ll be him.
Another awesome chat with you guys! Can’t wait to do it again next week!