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Ask Alex: Steelers’ Mailbag

Lot to get to today, free agency kicks off in 90 minutes, so let’s jump right into your Thursday mailbag questions.

Matt Manzo: Do you think Foles would be an upgrade over Landry?

Alex: I think it’s pretty negligible, they’re pretty much the same guy in my eyes, but if Jones goes somewhere else, Foles would be a viable replacement.

Peter MacDonald: 

Love these Alex, thanks! How’s the McLumina runnin’?

This offseason has looked great so far, what would be a worst case coming off the rails in your eyes

Alex: McLumina is good…for once, knock on wood.

Worst case scenario? Goodell not giving clarity on Bryant’s situation before the draft. That might be the worse thing that could happen unless, like, Roethlisberger actually does up and retire.

But with the Ravens losing Wagner and maybe Brandon Williams and the Bengals being poached like a Pirates’ Rule 5 draft, the Steelers are winning by keeping their core guys.

WeWantDaTruth: What do you make of the Ravens signing Jefferson? I haven’t seen him play much, but heard he’s solid against the run. How is he in coverage?

Alex: Top safety on the market and he/Weddle is one of the top three duos in the league. They’re banking on stil having a stout front seven with Michael Pierce replacing Brandon Williams – assuming BW leaves – while investing heavily in the secondary.

They’ve had a weird offseason. Not sure what direction they’re going in but they’ve lost a lot and gotten worse overall.

T3xassteelers: It’s FA day… So, how much would you pay TOPS to Logan Ryan? Steelers have the cap room to make a splash I feel.

Alex: 6 million per year. Guy who is a strong tackler (4th most tackles of any CB last year, most of any FA), can play inside or out, and is a playmaker. That’s value on a lot of levels. I don’t have any particulars of a deal but I’m willing to go above the norm of a “big” deal for Colbert (4-5 million) with extra cap space and a big need.

Hard to draft a slot corner for day one. Tough position to learn. FA is the right way to go and why I’ve been focusing on CB more than any position in free agency. Don’t need an edge, don’t need a TE. Need a CB here.

steelersfan: Why do I still believe the Steelers will make a splash in FA every year despite every logical part of my mind screaming it’s never happening?

Alex: They have though! Mitchell and Green, those were splashes that surprised everyone. Colbert isn’t Ted Thompson. No big belly flops but he’ll wade into the shallow end of the pool. Team is in win-now mode. I think they make a move. Excited to see who it is.

Steelers12: Hey Alex the safety out of Connecticut stock is rising so would you be shocked if the Steelers took him in the 1st round and if you do believe that is an option would you take him over Peppers?

Alex: Wouldn’t be shocked. He’s a good player. Can get him on the field Year One. Definitely would take him over Peppers. More confident in him in coverage, created more splash plays than Peppers did (and Peppers played in a great scheme under one of the best DCs in college football). I’d play Peppers on offense, not safety.

Ken: Do you think the Steelers just keep Mettenburger as their #2 qb and draft a qb also?

Alex: No, I don’t think there’s enough confidence or evidence to have Mettenberger as a backup. I’d be surprised. Want someone with a better resume in and out of Pittsburgh. Jones had to wait behind Gradkowski. Didn’t just got thrust into that spot.

Grizzly Adams: Say Steelers go different route than EDGE in round 1. Who are some EDGE options to look at in rounds 2-4?

Alex: There’s a lot of them. Tarell Basham from Ohio is someone I need to look at closer, two games on him so far plus the Senior Bowl, but I like his speed to power ability. Trey Hendrickson from FAU had a great Combine. It is a deep class so maybe the EDGE guys get pushed down and creates good value in say, Round Two.

Darth Blount 47: Please name your top 3 draft crushes as we sit here today on March 9th.

Alex: Haason Reddick, John Ross, and Chidobe Awuzie. Reddick gives you so many answers on defense, Ross is so dynamic, and I love the demeanor Awuzie plays with.

Aj Gentile: What players, other than Peppers, are a Lb/S type player in the draft?

Alex:

Obi Melifonwu/UConn
Nate Gerry/Nebraska
Josh Harvey-Clemson/Louisville

Just a couple off the top of my head. I’m still not *that* well-versed with the draft so I’m sure there are another 2-3 options out there. You could put Reddick in that group as well, even though he’ll never actually line up as a deep safety.

Brian Tollini: Your thoughts on Wayne Gallman -RB Clemson?

Alex: I like him. Decent size and good burst. Steelers certainly have a lot of choices in the mid-rounds of this draft. He could be in the mix. I think Perine is someone they are/will be pretty interested in.

Jeff McNeil: Which TE could we get in round 2 fit the Steelers scheme the best?

Alex: Hard to say who will be there at the end of the second round. I have had my eye on Gerald Everett, who is smaller but basically clone of Ladarius Green. Guy you can detach from the line, don’t ask him to do much as a blocker, and be a vertical threat. I’m hoping to get him in the third round though.

Jordan Leggett and Adam Shaheen are other options.

James P. Kelly: If any of the top four QBs are there at 30–Watson, Mahomes, Trubinski, Kizer–do you think the Steelers would prioritize getting a replacement for Ben onboard enough to delay filling more pressing needs for other positions?

Alex: Nope, wouldn’t do it. Doesn’t matter if they’re all there. The mission is to win now with Ben. And that means adding talent who can get on the field right away to bring home a Lombardi…not stash a QB on the bench.

Barry Foster: Hey Alex how do you feel about the steelers signing Conor barwin ?

Alex: I haven’t really watched him. Know he was an iffy fit in Philly. I have an Eagles’ buddy I’ll have to ask him about. Wouldn’t hate the idea but in general, I’d rather just go through the draft where there’s so much talent who can still get on the field immediately. EDGE isn’t too high on my FA wishlist.

Jeff McNeill: If we did sign Dre K would you be happy and if so at what number?

Alex: I wouldn’t be mad about it. The number is something I’d be curious about because it sounds like it’s going to cost so much. Seems unlikely to happen so I really don’t have any emotion attached to it anymore.

Petherson Silveira: Do you see us signing an OLB with 30+ years old? And do you think that the retirements age has gone up last couple years due to lack of young talent?

Alex: I floated out the idea of Erik Walden but in general, stick to free agents under 30 for Kevin Colbert. Almost always who they target. The age has gone up? I didn’t know about that. I just saw a study done yesterday of something like the average age of players has gone down by six months over the last decade or something. Everyone is trying to get younger, the CBA is more friendly to the rookie class, hurting the middle-of-the-road veterans, and more players are walking away from the game earlier. So if anything, I feel like the retirement age has lowered.

Sam Clonch: Who’s having a rougher offseason, Ravens or Bengals? (Let’s assume Ravens lose Brandon Williams too)

Alex: Can I just say yes? If you made me choose, Cincinnati. They haven’t added anyone, the Ravens got Tony Jefferson, and the Bengals lost one of their linemen to the Browns (Zeitler). That’s like your girlfriend breaking up with you to date your best friend. Salt to the wound.

Michael James: Would you like a signing of Logan Ryan? How would he fit in our scheme and what’s the most you would pay him?

Alex: I am still watching him but I think I’d like it. He’s physical, supports the run, versatile, and has shown ball skills. Slot corner was the one area I wanted to upgrade in free agency and Ryan would do it. Maybe he is the starting LCB and kicks to slot in sub-packages, bringing Cockrell in. I’m cool with that. Probably makes sense because Ryan is better vs the run than RC.


That’s all for this week. Happy free agency!

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