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Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

Welcome back to the weekly edition of our mailbag. Answering whatever is on your mind for the next hour. Hope you all are safe and healthy.

To your questions!

Marcel Chris Chauvet: Alex, if the Steelers work out a long-term extension with Bud Dupree before this year or next, does it have any effect on your perception of the Alex Highsmith pick? It’s a forgone conclusion TJ will be a Steeler IMO. I know the team has talked about more rotating at the position but the history of doing so under the current coaching regime doesn’t support that. Personally, I like the prospect. He tested well, had good tape and looked good running through drills.

Alex: Nah, not really. I generally draw a line between 2nd and 3rd round picks and their expectations. 3rd rounders still need to do well, they aren’t dart throws like late Day 3 guys, but if a 3rd round never becomes a full-time starter, only a part-time role player, I can live with that. Sorta like Cam Sutton. That was still a good pick.

Highsmith offers protection versus not getting Dupree’s deal done. That’s important. You don’t know right now what Dupree’s future holds and I’m not going to let the news of him getting signed, should it happen, impact the decision they had to make six weeks ago.

Plus Highsmith is bound to play whenever someone gets hurt. Pass rushing has become even more important as the Steelers’ OLBs drop less. Watt/Dupree were both under 10% last year; compare that to Watt’s rookie year where he dropped over 37% of the time. So you better have quality rush depth if/when someone goes down. And if that’s all Highsmith is, quality depth, a rotational/injury replacement, and solid special teamer, then I’m cool with the pick. Especially knowing he was a late 3rd round pick, too.

Christopher Pokins: Alex,
Post draft the Jaguars have 4 QBs in camp. Although I think Cam will wait until a contender suffers an injury at QB, I think Jacksonville may be a spot Newton considers during camp if he wants a chance at a starting spot. With this in mind, Joshua Dobbs could be a victim to the numbers game at the QB position. If released, any chance the Steelers would want to bring him back. Even if you view him as a #3 QB, definitely an upgrade that we know can play, and knows the system. I personally would be all for it. You?

Alex: Potentially, I understand your angle, but that’s a lot of variables you’re throwing into the mix. Something we’ll just have to visit whenever the time comes. Steelers goal right now is to evaluate the talent they do have. If Rudolph can show higher, more consistent play after a tough 2019. If Duck can even out, if Paxton Lynch can show glimpses again of what made him a 1st round pick. That’s my focus. Evaluate the talent you have, identify weaknesses, then add with signings and trades as you see fit.

falconsaftey43: Hi Alex, Any chance we could get a video breakdown one of these days of Brett Keisel running down kicks? Or just big guys in general on ST? Those have got to be some fun highlights.

Alex: Hmm, maybe. Would have to comb through for some footage. I’m not sure there would be a wide scope of interest outside of ST diehards like you and me. But maybe I can turn that into some sort of series.

MattSteelCurtain91: Ok Aliens have invaded and the looney tunes show up to help us out(ala space jam only football this time) you have the choice to fill out either the defense or offense with current and or former Steelers in there prime. Which side ya picking and whos your choices. Special teams will be a mix of players n tunes.

Alex: Appreciate the creativity of the question Matt but my Looney Tunes character knowledge is woefully limited…and I’m not 100% sure I understand the premise. Am I picking former Steelers to improve the current roster?

I’d definitely pick the offense. Confident the defense will be Top 5 again. And on offense, I’m beefing up the offensive line. Give me Faneca at LG. And Heath at TE. And hey, bring back AB. Normally I’d be against it but if there are Aliens, Looney Tunes, AB’s brand of crazy is gonna seem pretty mild.

MoreRingsThanYourTeam: I see you defending Terrell Edmunds early and often from that infamous “bust label”. I’m not calling him a bust or a stud, but out of curiosity, why don’t you consider him a bust?

Alex: Ask yourself this. Is he as bad as Jarvis Jones, Artie Burns, Senquez Golson? To me, there’s a clear separation between those guys and Edmunds.

Edmunds is sorta sitting in that Dupree status prior to last year’s breakout. Not calling Edmunds a bust doesn’t mean he was a good 1st round pick. He can be underwhelming and still avoid bust status, which is roughly where I place him right now. He still has the room to grow of course which is good, because he needs to get better.

stan: I see that Mark Barron is still on the waiver wire. What do you think the chances are that the Steelers could bring him back on a minimum deal?

Alex: Not impossible but pretty low. They like UG3 and wants to see what he can do. Go through the summer, camp and preseason, and evaluate the roster as you get into August. Bush is going to be the every down player, Barron wouldn’t be a great ST’er, so I’m not sure what role he would occupy anyway.

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