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Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

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Hey everyone, welcome back to the mailbag. Sorry if you have had some issue with the site yesterday and today. Some stuff Dave and I are working on. If you are having issue seeing new posts on desktop/laptop, try it on mobile. And be sure to follow our Twitter account and our Facebook page as a temporary workaround.

As always, to your questions!

@kanozie80: How many Alabama-based defensive players do you project the Steelers taking in this draft, considering the presence of coach Karl Dunbar?

Alex: I think there are good odds the streak ends this year. Joshua Frazier late on Day Three is certainly possible. Rashaan Evans is looking more likely to being available at 28. And I don’t want to forget about Ronnie Harrison either.

I don’t think Dunbar is the sole reason for it, Bama has plenty of talent this year at positions of need for the Steelers but it sure doesn’t hurt to have him onboard.

@SpencerKrick: Hey Alex, which position would you say is most likely for a double dip in the draft?

Alex: That’s really tough to figure out. I think that often happens because of value, not always coming into the draft thinking “let’s take two of this position.” Even ILB, there’s no real reason to take two. Take one and you have: Bostic, Williams, rookie, Matakevich, and Fort. There’s a solid group of five right there.

If you make me guess, I’ll say safety, because you’re going to keep 10-11 DBs overall and depth is still a little weaker there. Have four right now: Davis, Burnett, Berhe, Wilcox (and who knows, maybe he is axed in camp).

But with only seven picks and a lot of areas to address, I’m not counting on a double-dip. They double-dipped last year but had eight picks. Ditto 2015. Or 2013 when they took a pair of WRs but had nine selections to work with.

@rkc284: If not for his baggage, what do you think the Steelers could get in a trade for Martavis?

Alex: Probably a first rounder. But that also means we’re assuming Bryant played all of 2016 and wasn’t hamstrung by the league to start last year, sitting out the first half of camp until the league finally cleared him. Baggage is the reason why his value is so low.

todd_hall1: Do you see the Seelers signing any more FAs?

Alex: Nothing above the minimum. And I suspect they’re done period until after the draft. They’ve plugged the holes they’ve needed to plug.

@rkc284: Is it more likely for the Steelers to trade up or down with their first pick and for what reason?

Alex: That’s a tough one to answer. My gut reaction is to trade up because trading down almost certainly means trading out of the 1st round, something they haven’t done in 50 years. But trading up is going to be tough with limited picks this year compared to previous ones. Still, I think it’s more likely. In win now mode, go get a guy you think can be a playmaker. Trade 2019 picks if you have too. And then trading out of the 2nd wouldn’t be a bad idea either, something they have done before.

@Nichola96415748: With the new safety Behre signing, could you see the Steelers using JJ Wilcox in a trade? Like Wilcox+5th for a 4th?

Alex: No. He’s not going to have that type of value. I don’t think anyone is taking a guy who did pretty much nothing last season. If you’re going to trade him, bring him into camp, get some good tape out there, and then deal him for a team hit by injury for like, a 6th round pick, best case scenario. No one is trading for average talent today when they can draft one in three weeks, for cheaper and with a longer contract.

@sbeeghley: Does it make sense for the Steelers to trade back to pick up draft picks if their top couple of guys are gone at 28??

Alex: Sure, it does. That always makes sense. But of course, it’s very rare to happen, at least, trading out of the 1st altogether.

@WilliamFrischJr: Is pick #60 too high for a project like Malik Jefferson?

Alex: Not at all. I think 60 is a sweet spot for him.

Brian Tollini: The more I look at prospects in this draft and the Steelers needs, the more I want the Steelers to wait till day 3 to take an ILB. No disrespect to LVE or Rashaan Evans because I think they will both be good pros, but I would much rather wait and take someone like Genard Avery, or especially Oren Burks. High character, very versatile, (former safety and OLB) and an excellent athlete. I see the drop-off to this position talent-wise, less than our other positions of need. Agree or disagree?

Alex: Sure, I understand the logic. I’m not locked into “Steelers need to draft this position in this round.” That’s how you reach, miss out on value. My only stipulation is the first two picks have to have a Year One role/plan. I don’t want those guys sitting on the bench and for years in Pittsburgh, they haven’t been. Need guys who can come in and help, maybe not in an 1100 snap capacity, but someone to make this team better.

Of course, Colbert’s comments on ILB makes it sound like he thinks it’s thin, so I’m not banking on a them waiting until Day Three to pull the trigger.

Keith Evans: Hi Alex, I feel it’s a certainty we will draft a rb in the first 3 rounds, but what kind of fit….? A scat back to compliment Bell/Conner, i like the guy out of USC or a straight out Bell replacement?

Alex: I’m definitely a lot less certain than you. Don’t know why you feel so confident. They clearly like Derrius Guice and if he’s at 28, maybe they go with him. But not a lot of known interest in any other top RB, which makes me think they’re really just looking at Guice because of the value/grade rather than a position of need.

If they do take one, I expect it to be the same dude like the others they’ve taken. The big, workhorse looking back. Bell, Conner, Dwyer, Mendenhall, all pretty big guys. Kallen Ballage, Josh Adams are two guys who fit that mold.

Putter: Any thoughts on drafting an interior OL as possible replacement for Foster and/or Finney. I believe they are both in their last year? I haven’t read much on that?

Alex: I’m confident at least one of those guys will return, heck, maybe both. If they move on from Foster, Finney is staying and starting. If Foster comes back, obviously, there’s your answer. If they draft an OL, it won’t be until late on Day Three. Losing Hubbard didn’t kill their depth. Still have Jerald Hawkins, last year was really his first, and Matt Feiler, who they’re high on. Let Munchak develop another UDFA/late round pick.

Real: Big Al seemed to underperform last year especially against a high octane pass rush like jacksonville’s. My question is will they consider other options at his position or will they keep him?

Alex: They’re committed to him and I have no problem with that. He’s just gotta work on getting off to better starts to the season. Always struggled the first few weeks. Beyond that, he’s solid as anyone. If we’re using Jacksonville as the bar, you’d be considering a lot of different players given how many of them struggled vs Jacksonville.

Darth Blount 47: 

Hey, Alex! Let’s talk Safeties… But let’s not talk about the same old names at the top of the draft. I wanna go a bit more of a deeper dive. Can you tell me your thoughts and Combine notes on Sean Chandler, S, Temple? And also, Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern? And would it be possible to put in a request for a draft profile on each of those? I like both guys and want to put them on the official radar of the ‘Depot readers who may not know of them.

ALSO… we’ve got to talk about a sleeper whose name is just recently finally getting pub, after his INSANE pro-day performance. Yes, Tarvarius Moore, FS, out of Southern Miss. Have you seen his numbers?! 6-1, 199-pounds. Recorded a blazing 4.32 40. A 6.5-second three cone, 39.5-inch vertical jump, and an 11’1″ broad jump. Apparently, PFF graded him as a 2017 All-American Safety. Why this kid didn’t get a Combine invite is beyond me. Any chance you know of him or can rush a profile of him as well? Thanks as always!

Alex: Sorry Darth, going to be a short answer here. I don’t know enough about those three guys yet. Moore’s numbers look strong but I don’t know if that translates to the tape. Why he didn’t get an invite? Hard to say. He’s a JUCO kid who didn’t have much production until 2017. So sort of off the radar. Remember, Kevin Byard didn’t get a Combine invite either and that was a year where he was invited to the Senior Bowl. Shaq Griffin nearly didn’t get the call this year. The Combine misses guys sometimes.

Marcel Chris Chauvet: Hey Alex, how many FREE safeties do you really see in this draft? And do you think the Steelers really need to get one of them?

Alex: Not many. Definitely a position that is very shallow. You have Justin Reid, Jessie Bates, and….that’s about it in terms of high end guys. I think VT’s Terrell Edmunds can do it. You could argue for a guy like Kyzir White. And you have other smaller name guys who aren’t good enough in man/aren’t physical enough/don’t have the right frame that you sort of have to peg them at FS. But in terms of top level guys? They are few.

Starting to lean back towards them taking Bates at 28. Position scarcity, need, value, and all the boxes he checks (Power 5, underclassmen, Pro Day dinner with Colbert and Tomlin).


That’s all for this week. Thanks for stopping by everyone.

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