Ask Alex: Senior Bowl Q&A

Hey everyone. Since I missed last Thursday’s mailbag because I was at the Senior Bowl and I know you guys have asked tons of questions I wasn’t around to get to, wanted to do an hour-long mailbag to focus in on any Senior Bowl related topics you guys had from last week.

We’ll still have our regular Mailbag this Thursday at 2:30/ET. And just a heads up for those interested, I’ll be dropping my first mock draft tomorrow morning. Excited for you guys to check that out.

Anyway, to your questions!

knoxly: Hey Alex, overall thoughts on Antonio Gibson?

Alex: He’s definitely interesting. Memphis seems to always churn out those playmakers. He can be a runner, the Senior Bowl had him playing strictly RB, but he’s a receiver, and definitely a kick returner. Trying to judge the one year of production, where he best fits, and that makes him a bit risky on paper alone. But he’s an impressive athlete who can help your team in a ton of ways. Only adds to his value. I managed to talk to him on the final day of practice. Hope to have that interview posted in the next couple days.

Probably will go a little later than say, Tony Pollard, just because of that more limited body of work. 6th-ish round pick.

MoreRingsThanYourTeam: I attended school with Joshua Kelley at UC Davis before he transferred to UCLA. He was a teammate of Keelan Doss and I remember him telling me his plans to transfer. Like Keelan Doss, I feel he should be drafted. But where exactly do you think his draft stock is?

Alex: He will be drafted. Senior Bowl definitely helped him too. He was the best running back there. But it is a deep class full of underclassmen and I can see him going in that 4th round range a la Benny Snell because there are worries about his long speed and ability to create explosive plays. But he’s a solid mid-round pick who really is making me re-think my initial scouting report on him.

jarel billups: Who do you think was the most likely to go to/fit with the steelers? Was there any one who you feel filled a key need?

Alex: There were lots of guys who felt like Steelers. Whether you’re talking Brycen Hopkins or Adam Trautman at TE, Matt Hennessy along the offensive line (he’s a center) or Neville Gallimore/Davon Hamilton along the defensive line. Throw in ILB Evan Weaver, who is basically Tyler Matakevich 2.0. History says at least 2-3 of the Steelers’ draft picks will have participated at the Senior Bowl.

pghomer: Hey Alex … my 1st mailbag question ever!!!
I have my draft crush that I think can help the team….Josh Uche.
I think he could be a defensive chess piece in today’s NFL. Play ILB alongside Bush, cover / blitz ‘A’ gap. Move around rush from anywhere, expecially 3rd downs from edge. Even if we keep B Dupree I think he is an incredible tool for the team that gets him. And he just might be there at #49.
Your thoughts….and thanks for all your work you do for us.

Alex: Thanks for stopping by! Hope to hear more from you soon. I think you summed Uche up well. I worry about him on the edge on an every-down basis but he can rush the passer and he can cover. Lot of value in being able to do both of those things. Will take a good DC with a plan how to use him but like I mentioned with Kelley, Uche is someone who boosted his stock. Also someone I snagged an interview with. Hope to share that soon.

The Tony: Alex,
Who do you think is the under the radar guy the Steelers might look to target

Alex: From the Senior Bowl? I mentioned Weaver from Cal, who feels like a carbon copy of Dirty Red. Just a little bit taller/lankier. One name you want to keep an eye on is Notre Dame FS Jalen Elliott. Safety is an underrated need on this team. There is nothing, and I mean nothing behind Minkah and Edmunds. Position has to be addressed this year. Elliott might be that guy.

Horace: I know its early, but do you see any prospect that just screams “Pittsburgh Steeler”?

Alex: Basically the names I mentioned above. But Hennessy, the center from Temple, really hit me the hardest with that gut “he’s a Steeler” feeling.

Chris Janssen: Final thoughts on the TE group? See anyone that would be a reasonable day 2 target?

Alex: Improved as the week went on. Hopkins, Trautman were the most impressive. Harrison Bryant was quiet as a receiver but looked good as a blocker, especially in-game, and he weighed in bigger than what I thought. Even bigger than Hopkins. Sean McKeon? He’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Below average athlete but plus hands and one of the better blockers of the lot. Charlie T from Portland State has good hands and release off the line but isn’t an explosive athlete. Degura from Cincy is going to be looked as an H-Back type. Pinkney didn’t have a great week. Does everything ok, nothing spectacular.

Rell B: Did you see any players that you think will be UDFA’s to consider, that are true contenders to make 53?

Alex: Going to keep mentioning Weaver because he feels like that borderline 7th round pick that special teams coaches are going to have to convince upper management to take over say, a high-upside flyer at a skill position. So he’s on that draftable bubble, though I’m confident he’ll carve out an NFL career as a special teamer.

Beyond that, it’s hard for me to peg UDFAs. Day Three vs undrafted, it can be a thin line. We often see WRs fall out of the draft just because there are only so many draft picks and too much talent. So maybe someone like Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden falls out because he’s a small school kid or a Quartney Davis, a quick-twitch receiver with real gunner value.

Rell B: 

Last question from me,

Thoughts on this, Baron and Edmunds are roughly the same size. Edmunds is a much better athlete also a ton younger. The issue is Edmunds as a safety is that he lacks any concept of ball skills, however he plays very well in the box. If the steelers were to have a darling Safety fall to them in any way (Draft, Free Agency), thoughts on rolling edmunds down to being part of the LB rotation, especially on passing downs?

Alex: I’m really not in favor of it. I want him to focus on one position, being able to play fast and make strides after getting comfortable in one spot, which he should be at SS now given the roughly 2000 snaps he’s played. I don’t want to do what happened with Sean Davis who bounced around too much and stunted his growth.

I get what you’re saying and I’m going to write about Edmunds’ lack of playmaking in the near future. I’d be open to the idea of having him role down to a dimebacker in certain, future situations, but even that’s debatable because you question how well he’ll do man-to-man and finding/making plays on the football. Right now, you have your dime defender in Sutton, though there were multiple instances last year where he would bail to play FS and Edmunds would drop down into a hook zone.

Short answer. Trying to get Edmunds to grow in one spot as much as possible since the dude is still only 22 and I don’t want to assume he’s a finished product. Not interested in him working as an actual LB.

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