Happy Friday and I hope your week went well.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a somewhat busy week and it included a few more of their own free agents being re-signed in addition to one outside one. Additionally, the team hosted several pre-draft visitors this past and that list figures to perhaps double next week.
Well, the MLB season has now started while the NHL season is beginning to wind down. Both Pittsburgh teams won Thursday night and the Pirates actually enter Friday night with a 5-1 record and leaders of the NL Central Division.
Three weeks from tonight we’ll have a few new Steelers players to discuss and that figures to be an exciting time. In the meantime, I have five new questions for yinz to answer on this fine Friday evening and I hope several will do just that.
Enjoy your weekend and peace and love to all of yinz!
1 – Of Fitzgerald Toussaint, Daniel McCullers, Stevan Ridley and Justin Hunter, how many of them will ultimately be on the Steelers Week 1 53-man roster this year?
2 – Now that the Steelers have signed free agent S Nat Berhe, will veteran safety J.J. Wilcox be released before training camp gets underway?
3 – True or false: The Steelers will draft at least one running back and one wide receiver this year.
4 – Now that they have two first-round selections in this years draft, will the New England Patriots ultimately trade up the first night and draft a quarterback?
5 – True or false: The Steelers first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft will be one of these 8 players below.
LB Rashaan Evans
DL Da’Ron Payne
S Ronnie Harrison
S Jessie Bates III
LB Tremaine Edmunds
QB Mason Rudolph
TE Mike Gesicki
RB Derrius Guice
Question 1 – 66% named an offensive player as a Steelers first-round selection they hope is not ultimately picked. QB Mason Rudolph (9); RB Derrius Guice (7); QB Lamar Jackson (2) were specifically named but seven (7) folks said any quarterback, running back and/or offensive player picked in first round would make them unhappy. Six defensive players were named: LB Rashaan Evans (5); S Ronnie Harrison (3); LB Leighton Vander Esch (2); Edge Lorenzo Carter (1); CB Donte Jackson (1); C Jaire Alexander (1)
Question 2 – 55% do NOT believe that 2018 is the last best chance to win a Super Bowl with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Several commenters believe that with Ben and Antonio Brown as offensive weapons coupled with an improving defense; 2019 could be as viable a team as a 2018 team. The yes votes pointed out the likelihood of losing Le’Veon Bell and/or Martavis Bryant as reasons why 2018 is the last best chance.
Question 3 – Generally, whether bulls or bears; the grade differential between this year’s current roster going into the draft compared to last year is close. The median grade was an even split at 8 for each year. The average of all the grades assigned; had last year with a slightly higher grade of 7.7 compared to 7.5 for this year. A third way to look at it is by grades by each respondent: 12 had this year’s pre-draft roster better than last year compared to 20 saying it was better in 2017 and 4 that see them even. The bears see the loss of Ryan Shazier as hurting this year’s roster while the bulls view the addition of JuJu Smith-Schuster, TJ Watt & Mike Hilton as helping this year’s roster. The folks saying it is even see these as offsetting.
Question 4 – The initial reactions to Ben Roethlisberger’s selection in the first round varied from 63% positive saying they were excited, hopeful, optimistic to Chad Weiss swearing he called the pick and lowercase heath miller saying it was the “greatest day of my life.” I was surprised that Heath Miller’s selection wasn’t the greatest day in his life. 18% were meh – “I was ok with Tommy Maddox.” 11% had negative reactions either they did not feel a quarterback was needed – or they wanted Phillip “cry me a” Rivers instead – they can fess up in the comments below. 8% don’t recall. One respondent said Ben is the only quarterback they have known as the Steelers starter. Boy, I’m getting old. One bit of related trivia. Of the 47 quarterbacks the Steelers have drafted since 1936; only 5 were picked in the first round: Ted Marchibroda (1953); Len Dawson (1957); Terry Bradshaw (1970); Mark Malone (1980); & Ben Roethlisberger (2004).
Question 5 – Here are the Steelers positional needs as Steelers Depot respondents view it. Figures in parentheses are the median rank followed by rank average: ILB (1/1.5); S (2/2); OLB (3/2.7); DE (4/4.3); CB (5/4.5)