Welcome back to your weekly mailbag. Here for the next hour to answer whatever is on our mind as we transition to draft season.
Speaking of which, there will not be a mailbag next week. I, along with Jacob Harrison, Jonathan Heitritter, and Tyler Wise will be at the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. So we’ll be bringing you coverage though, meaning I won’t be around for a mailbag.
Anyway, to your questions!
BurghInPhilly: Alex, if you were the Steelers GM, what personnel and scheme changes would you make/prioritize going into the 2022 season? Thanks!
Alex: I don’t know if I have a lot of great answers for that right now. Still taking the season in. Some of that stuff is hard to judge in terms of coaching staff. I think you obviously still need a lot of work up front with this offensive line. I’d let Turner and Okorafor walk and start over on that right side in the offseason through draft and/or free agency. And this offense needs big-play ability. It’s been so limited, just a ten-yard box it’s been confined to for the past couple seasons. So a QB with an arm, mobility, and bringing in speed at receiver. That’s where I’d start. Defensively, there isn’t a whole lot I’d touch. It’s just about developing those young guys and getting healthy again, especially along the d-line.
Couple Questions 1) Whomever the Steelers bring in at QB. Can you guys do the panel discussion again breaking them down.
2) If Edmunds doesn’t return, what is the profile of safety the team could look at. Is there a height they shy away from too high, too short.
Alex: To the first question, we’ll see. Certainly will cover that guy – whoever he is, wherever he comes from – from every which angle.
To the second, I’d have to look at some of the “what they look for” studies. They honestly haven’t at least drafted a lot of safeties in the Tomlin era. Helps when you have studs like Troy/Clark and Minkah. Guys that hang around at their position for awhile. But you’d want a good tackler and I presume, if they’re letting Edmunds walk, someone who can make some more splash plays. But you want your SS to be well over 200 pounds so he can thump in the box. Edmunds came out at 217 pounds.
Best case, worst case , most likely and what would you do about the QB situation?
I’m all about letting it ride this year and finding a QB in ‘23.
Alex: Best case is being able to find that franchise guy right away. Either through the draft a la Ben where you take a guy and he quickly reveals he’s a special cat. Or a trade like a Rodgers or a Carr where you’re not hunting for an answer for the next five years.
I’m with the team. I keep it all open. But my siren is going off. It was this time last year. You need a franchise QB to compete. So I’m always looking and thinking about how to get one. Maybe that happens this year, maybe not. But I’m being aggressive about it. I’m not waiting around.
First off great podcast this week. You, Dave, and the guys were excellent.
I know there’s been a lot of quarterback talk about the Senior Bowl and rightly so. Is there a non quarterback invitee you’re particularly excited about seeing?
Alex: Thanks for listening! That’s a good question. I don’t have a name right now. Partly because I haven’t had the time to study the whole QB class and partly because, to me, unless you’re a high-level guy, I generally don’t have a lot of interest. Go big or go home. Take a QB in the top two rounds or don’t at all and grab a veteran. I’m either all-in or all-out on QBs. No “solid backups” need apply to my draft board.
SteelCity: Stephon Tuitt selling his Pittsburg home all over the internet…thoughts?
Alex: Maybe something. Maybe nothing. I try not to play House Hunter to determine a dude’s future plans. I remember something similar happened with Villanueva’s house last year. Something about a for sale sign taken out of his yard, I forget all the details. But it didn’t mean whatever people thought it meant.
Could it mean Tuitt is leaving? Sure.
Could it mean a million other things? Sure.
I looked at the house. It’s huge. Not like a guy needs a mansion like that. Upkeep is high, property taxes are high (I live in the same county as him, trust me, I know) and who knows, maybe the death of his brother caused Tuitt to become less materialistic. I don’t know. Maybe he just wanted a smaller house. Maybe he’s buying another in the area. Maybe he’s jumping on a hot housing market. I have no clue. And I’ll just wait for something more concrete than a real estate agent’s listing.
Ethan: Alex, you mentioned in the first question you wouldn’t touch this defense much. But corner is a big need, Inside Linebacker is a big need. Safety has the potential to be a big need. Also you need that solid #3 OLB to backup Watt and Highsmith. Also this team needs to find the future at NT, Tyson is back next year but that is it.
Alex: Sure, I would make changes and upgrades. I guess that was in more response to scheme and personality type of stuff. Yes, ILB is a need. Corner could become one, depth at least, but we’ll see what happens with Witherspoon. Like I said, it’s hard to outline everything in one response. I’m happy with Montravius Adams. I’d maybe spend a late Day 3 on DL, maybe higher if Tuitt isn’t in the plans, but that group just needs to be healthy and have young guys grow.
Hey Alex, with the OC search. At first I was happy the Steelers were at least looking around before promoting Teryl Austin. I knew that they had to interview a minority candidate, but I didn’t realize it had to be an external candidate.
We requested interviews for Patrick Graham and Kris Richard, so when I heard we had another interview set up with Joe Whitt Jr. it made me think maybe they’re actually entertaining the idea of someone out of house.
I’m ok if Teryl Austin is the guy, but do you think they’re really entertaining the idea or did maybe one of their interview requests get denied and they had to try to interview a third person to get fulfill the Rooney rule?
Alex: I think it’s due diligence, as Mike Tomlin talked about earlier in the year when evaluating internal vs external candidates. They did that last year with Adrian Klemm, talking to several external people before promoting from within. And I get the sense the same is happening here and that Austin will still become DC. I don’t know if they had an interview denied or not. It doesn’t sound like it but I’m not sure. In this world of Zoom calls, it’s not like a guy has to fly into town to come meet with you and shake your hand.
Marcel Chris Chauvet: Alex,
Given all the significant needs this team has, can you think of a better time to simply go BPA at #20? Are there any positions you would truly rule out?
Alex: Sure, a couple. RB/FB, tight end, specialists. Wouldn’t taken an EDGE. If I re-sign Edmunds, wouldn’t take a safety. Doubt I’d take a DE, even if Tuitt retired. Some positions will be off the board.
Talk the theses attributes you are looking for in our next QB.
Where does Character fall in there
Alex: I mentioned on the podcast that I get greedy and want to look for it all. Miss a key trait and it’s hard to win consistently. Most of the best QBs in football have all those things you listed. But…
3. Pocket Presence
4. Arm Strength
Character, it’s probably in the middle. You do need a leader, a high-quality person to take charge and command the room. Like I said, it’s one of those things where if you don’t have one of those things, it’s going to be hard to win. Especially the first several ones I listed.