Ask Alex: Steelers’ Mailbag

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Can I tell you all how big of an idiot I am? In case you ever wonder how I got something wrong or think I’m being too arrogant, just remember I have to be the dumbest person around. Let me tell you why.

I actually ventured outside this Saturday night to go hang out with – gasp – friends. We went to dinner a little out of my way and I needed to take my GPS so I didn’t get lost and stranded in my McLumina, a terrifying thought. My mom got my a GPS stand for Christmas, probably a subtle hint for me to go anywhere besides your house and McDonalds. Fair enough.

I tried to sit the GPS and the stand it attaches too into the beanbag. But as I’m fiddling with the thing, the stand wouldn’t secure. It looked like a suction cup type thing and I thought I just had to press down on it but nope, no dice. I was really trying to avoid having to hold the GPS or sit it next to me and have to look down at it (it was getting dark and the McLumina’s headlights are actually just dollar store flashlights).

I used to use sticky tac for an old stand and was racking my brain to find a replacement for sticky tack. My brilliant idea was to chew two pieces of gum and use that as my sticky tack, fix it to the stand. So that’s what I did and I used all my bloggin’ strength to press the stand into the beanbag. As I was attempting that, I realize there’s actually a knob on the stand that turns and locks the GPS into place.

Oops. A little too late to find that out.

The gum actually didn’t break the lock and I thought I was in the clear. Ten minutes later, I took a left turn and the entire thing, beanbag and stand, went flying across my dashboard and crashed underneath my passenger seat. That broke the lock and I had to sit the GPS next to me the rest of the time.

Bottom line: I am very dumb and probably ill-equipped to answer your questions. But I’ll do my best.

To your questions!

Micah Walker: Just curious if you think they’ll draft more than one at each LB and CB/S?

Alex: I think they double dip at one of those positions. Not both. Cornerback feels a little more likely to me.

Jeff Papiernik:  The stars align and Haason Reddick, Obi Melifonwu, and your favorite edge rusher not named Myles Garrett (i.e. Harris, Lawson, Rivers, etc.) are sitting there at number 30. Who do you take?

Alex: Man, we’re starting early with the difficult questions. I keep putting off watching Harris though the little I have seen and hear from others has me excited. I think you nailed it though and those are all the guy sin the mix. I would add Kevin King and Tyus Boswer to that list. Those are the seven I’m honing in on.

I’d lean Melifonwu right now. Harris if I had to go with an edge rusher. But, I mean, there really isn’t a wrong answer here.

Spencer Krick: Is there a prospect that everyone you talk to is really high on and you just don’t get it?

Alex: I wouldn’t take Dalvin Cook in the first. This RB class is too good and he’s got baggage too. With Mike Williams, I am worried about his ability to separate and create space. Treadwell is having/going to have the same problem in Minnesota. That’s why I like Davis and Ross more. And Takk McKinley. Really not much of a fan and that’s even before considering his injury situation.

Robbie: Are u with Dave on taking the 4th rounder over Cockrell?

Alex: I’m not sure Dave has really come out and been in favor of that. But I know I’m not. Have you seen some of the mid round corners the Steelers have drafted? Cockrell looks like a HOF compared to that.

DirtDawg1964: Who would be the one highly touted player you wouldn’t take at 30, no matter what.

Alex: Who has been connected with the Steelers or just overall? Like I said before, I’d stay away from McKinley. I just don’t think he’s ever going to bend the edge and be the dominant pass rusher the Steelers need him to be.

Steelers12: Obi Melifonwu is the player i most want in this draft, if he is there what percentage do you give of Steelers drafting him and what other free agents could you see Steelers signing

Alex: A percentage for any player is near impossible because of all the variables. I’d say he has as good a chance as anyone though, the Lawson’s and King’s of the world. It’s a really good fit and he can be a year one impact player even without being an actual starting safety, which he won’t be.

Other free agents? I think the team is just about done. There isn’t much else out there. I’m fine with them waiting until the draft for an inside linebacker. Focus now turns to getting Bell, Tuitt, and Villanueva inked long-term. Keep building from within.

RickM: How good or bad is Russ Cockrell and what’s his realistic ceiling? I just didn’t watch the guy closely enough. Thanks.

Alex: Ideally, he’s a #2 corner for a team. He was the Steelers’ best cover corner last year though I guess the competition he faced isn’t really strong (declining Gay, wide-eyed Burns). I thought he embraced some of the tough challenges of shadowing top receivers when the team asked him to do that early in the season. Really performed admirably against AJ Green and pretty good against Brandon Marshall. I don’t love him but I think too many people are down on him.

Darth Blount 47: Can I have your thoughts on Jairus Byrd? Here is a guy who has already made a ton of money, and when healthy, would provide solid veteran leadership. He also fits the ‘Shane Mitchell’ requisite of being a good tackler. 🙂

Alex: I really haven’t watched his game. I live in my Steelers’ bubble. I’d stay away though. Know he flamed out in New Orleans after landing that monster deal leaving Buffalo. Think there’s been some injury problems. I’m happy with the safety group. Unless it’s that hybrid guy, I’m really not interested. Don’t want a more true FS like Byrd.

Craig M: Alex, what’s your thoughts on Darelle Revis as DB, at minimum salary w/ Jets picking up the balance of his contract?

Alex: I have zero interest. None. Nada. Wouldn’t sign him on a plane. On a train. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. *links the rest of Green Eggs and Ham, forgets actual question*

But seriously, this CB class is strong. Revis has no chance to start here. Isn’t going to do much on special teams. Old, over the hill, no long-term future. There’s just no good reason to do it.

stan: I was curious to see the Steelers spend so much on Alualu when they already had quality depth at the position in Walton and Maxey. Do you see think this is an attempt to use him as a part-time DT? Maybe insurance in case Tuitt doesn’t sign an extension?

Alex: It’s really not a lot on Alualu though. It serves as a one year deal, that’s why the $500K roster bonus in April of 2018 exists. His base salary for this season is low. It jumps in 2018 but that allows the Steelers to take a year and figure out if he’s worth it. If he is, then I’ll happily pay it, even if it is slightly more than what’s ideal. He’s earned it. If you, you cut ties, take the tiniest dead money hit (something like $700K, I think? Around there) and try again.

I like having the roster bonus due in April, too. So if you’re on the fence, you can still explore FA and if you find someone else, you can let him go. It’s not like it’s due right when the new league year begins and you have to make an immediate decision before playing the FA field.

To the actual question, he’s going to be the backup RDE in base. Walton backup LDE. He’ll see a little time in nickel as the three but really, opportunities will be limited. He’s fourth in the pecking order behind Heyward, Tuitt, Hargrave.

stan: How do the recent FA additions figure into the compensatory calculus for 2018?

Alex: Doubtful they have much of an impact since they were all cheap and won’t play a lot for Pittsburgh. I think Wheaton has a good year in Chicago. Timmons will net a 5th rounder. Steelers will have a couple comp picks next year, I’m pretty sure.

PaeperCup: Any predictions on who might be this years Andrew Billings? Someone seemingly a good fit for the Steelers 1st round pick, and one often mocked to us, but slipping several rounds.

Alex: Welp, just choose whoever I’m hyping up the most, I guess. Better watch yourself, Carl Lawson.



What price do all of you think AP ends up playing for this season?

Could we have the upper hand in creating the most entertaining backfield in NFL history?

Yes, we know he is old, but we have his old position coach, and who better to know All Days capabilities then him after a short look?

So, what’s the price gonna be; and what are your personal thoughts?

Alex: Not much, I know that. I don’t know the exact number but it’ll be cheap. But I have no interest in him coming to Pittsburgh. If you want an old RB, bring D-Will back. I’ll go through the draft. Cheap, long-term, way less miles.

That’s all for this week. Great chat everyone!

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