Welcome back to the second mailbag of the week. Know much hasn’t happened since Monday’s chat but if you have anything on your mind, let me know.
To your questions!
nikgreene: In Dave Bryan’s article earlier today he notes PFF recently rated Bud Dupree the Steelers’ worst starter. Who would you rank as he weakest starting player on both the offense and defensive side of the ball? I hope I’m not skewing too negative, just interested in where you think the team might be vulnerable to being exposed by the opposition.
Alex: I think Dupree got ranked that way because he is still unproven. We can really only go off his rookie year, which I mean, was his rookie year, and they don’t generally grade well. I would probably rank Artie Burns as the weakest starter. A lot of progress made last year but he was still so high and so low. We’re expecting him to improve of course, but I have more confidence in Dupree right now.
falconsaftey43: Is there currently on the Steelers roster, a player that WILL win one of the big awards sometime during their future Steelers’ career? MVP, DPOY, OPOY, DROY, OROY.
Alex: Hmm…that’s a tough one. I’ll be optimistic and say yes. I think Shazier will get DPOY one of these years where he can play the entire season. The freedom he has to blitz, his interception numbers and improving ability in coverage, he’ll rack up a lot of tackles.
Alex: I don’t think I’d rock the boat too much. Outside corners are a no-brainer; Burns and Cockrell. I wish Sutton was kicked inside to compete with Gay now and have a high chance of, at worst, being the starter in 2018. At WR, Brown/Bryant as the X and Z. And I’d just let Rogers/Ayers/Smith-Schuster battle it out in the slot.
I know I’ve been high on Smith-Schuster and have pushed hard for the idea of him being the slot starter. But there’s no guarantee. Guy has to prove it and it’s a tough position to play. Wouldn’t make anyone the starter; whoever earns it.
Steeler4Ever: Hi Alex, what are the odds that David Todd has another meltdown(warranted), over bad clock management this season. Im betting 50 50…ha
Alex: Ha, I’m sure it’s high. And he won’t be alone. Tomlin will have one or two gaffes this season. That’s the downside to working with your gut and not looking at the numbers. Sometimes it works, other times you fall flat on your face.
Jeff McNeill: Would you be in favor of signing Zack Orr and what would he bring to the Steelers? Do you think they would be looking at him to possible bring in to look at?
Alex: That’s a REALLY tough question for me to answer, Jeff. It’s all about his medical of that spine injury. He’s going to have to pass a scrutinized physical in order for any team to feel comfortable with him. On talent, on the field, he was obviously a good player for the Ravens and considering the depth at the position, especially at Mack linebacker, it makes sense. But it’s all about his health. And I have no idea what direction it’s trending in.
Culdesac Bill: Thanks Alex for keeping us interested during this downtime of the season. Do you think that the Steelers will keep only 8 OL due to the depth of the WR and CB positions? If so, who does that leave out?
Alex: Thank YOU all for sticking around during the deadest weeks of the season. We certainly do appreciate it.
Here are the OL who are making the roster:
OT: Villanueva, Gilbert, Hawkins
OG: Foster, DeCastro, Finney
That’s eight there. The next two up are Brian Mihalik and Ethan Cooper. They are definitely going to have to play their way onto the roster; they were regardless of what the other positions looked like. They’re going to be depth, not dressing on gameday, and still have practice squad eligibility. Mihalik has the better chance of the two to make it but I don’t think the odds for either are terribly high when you look at the depth of, as you said, WR and CB. And with the Steelers adding another competent safety like Daimion Stafford, it only creates more competition.
But put Mihalik and Cooper on the PS? Top to bottom, one of the best looking lines in the league.