Welcome back to your weekly Pittsburgh Steelers’ mailbag, answering whatever is on your mind for the next hour.
To your questions!
SteelCity: Developing any draft crushes this year yet?
Alex: I feel like I have fewer of them this year. Baylor DB Jalen Pitre has been on my list for awhile now. I like Boston College OL Zion Johnson a ton too. And Penn State WR Jahan Dotson has always caught my attention. But I don’t know if there’s a guy I love as much as some past years classes.
With Mike Tomlin’s recent comments on “how the board falls” in the draft, is it possible the plan could be to see who Carolina takes (Pickett or non-QB) then hit the go button to try to trade up for Willis?
I also don’t understand the absolute hate for these QBs? NFL draft analysts are hardly accurate with QB predictions. Mahomes was suppose to be a big arm, inaccurate project guy, Herbert was suppose to be a bust. Are these QBs really THAT bad, or is it being blown out a little?
Alex: Potentially. I think a lot of things are on the table. #5/6 is where things get interesting. Giants ahead of Carolina, not that they’re taking a QB but a potential trade-up spot, and then certainly the Panthers at #6. For the Steelers, pick #5 is where the draft “starts” for Steelers’ fans.
I think it’s fair to say this class isn’t as strong as past years. But you’re right. QB projections are all over the map. I’m guessing one of these guys will hit. Who that will be is really a dart throw.
Yeshaya: Hey Alex. I can’t remember another HC moving from coaching to FO like Bruce Arians did. Do you know of any, and could you see Tomlin or any of our other coaches making that kind of move eventually, to stay with the organization but hand over the duties to someone else?
Alex: I’m not sure. I’m guessing there are other examples in football history. Marv Leavy took about a decade off from coaching to return as the Bills’ GM which was kind of interesting (and also short-lived). Tom Coughlin worked for the Jags’ FO shortly after his years with the Giants. But that’s not 1:1 with Arians, I know. Bert Bell went from Steelers’ coach/owner to NFL commissioner, ha.
I know Tomlin has no plans to do that now. He shot the notion of it down earlier this week. Dude loves football. He loves the grind, the day-to-day. Could that change 10, 20 years from now? Sure. But not anytime soon.
Will other coaches do it? I’m sure that’s possible. But there’s only a couple who qualify. Guys who are older and have coached for a long time with great success to have the latitude to say “eh, I’m done coaching and going to the front office instead.” That’s not something every coach can do.
falconsaftey43: Alex, should we be talking about the possibility that the pick at 20 is Kyle Hamilton? Colbert at his Pro Day, SS is currently the biggest starter void on the team. They’re clearly looking to upgrade from what Edmunds brought to the position. Safeties, especially SS do not usually go high 1st round, and with his less than stellar workouts, he could slide that far (Derwin James went 17th).
Alex: I’ve thought about it some. With his 40 time questions, I think it’s ok to talk about it out loud. But I still don’t see him going all the way to 20, especially in a weaker QB class where it’s not like five of those top 19 spots are occupied by QBs. Hamilton could slide into that 10-15 range but I don’t see him going down to 20 and I don’t see Pittsburgh moving up at all for him.
I do still have Colbert listed at ND’s Pro Day on our tracker because that was the report. But for what it’s worth, I’ve yet to actually see Kevin there. And I went through a lot of footage/video to try and track it down. I saw his son Dan there but no Kevin.
Brian Tollini: My feeling is both Tuitt and Edmunds will be back for 2022. If this is the case and we stay @20, give me 3 non-QB’s that would make sense here. Also, do you see any positions that should not be in play @20th overall? With the exception of TE & RB I don’t know if I can.
Alex: If we’re going off what “fits,” you can include guys like Georgia NT Jordan Davis/Devonte Wyatt, Georgia WR George Pickens, Georgia SS Lewis Cine, and Clemson CB Andrew Booth. Davis/Wyatt could still in theory be in play even if Tuitt returns as a Tyson Alualu replacement and Edmunds, even if he re-signs, won’t be had for much money. So Pittsburgh still could explore a better and longer term option. Booth fits as well though his surgery slightly complicates matters. Pickens is a good fit here.
renoir: What happened with WR Washington here ? Was it lack of talent or the fact he was Masons boy? Also is this Johnsons last year as a Stiller? What with the ridiculous WR money being thrown around. Ty young Alex!
Alex: I think they just liked Claypool’s potential more and wanted to try to make him work. Rudolph didn’t have anything to do with it.
For Johnson, we’ll see. Like you said, WR market has gone up. Really just depends on what Johnson is asking for and I have no insight into that.
Do you think the steelers are strong enough at CB as things stand? Do you expect any more additions here?
Alex: Yeah, they could still add. Especially in the slot. Can never have enough CB help. It might not be super early because they have a solid set of starters but depth is really important. So I could see a later-round add.
MAK Lives Free: Two questions:1) Prediction on who will be the starting strong safety?
2) Is there any player (non-QB) you could see the Steelers trading up for? For example, if Kyle Hamilton falls into the teens…
Alex: 1. I really don’t know who it’ll be. There’s nothing out there that makes me think one name has a 51%+ chance of being signed. Edmunds is an easy answer, I suppose.2. Nah. I think it’s move-up for a QB or no one.
steeltown: I do not know much about this Wideout class, but is Pickens truly a 1st Rd prospect? Explain why for me because I admittedly havent looked at WR till JuJu and RayRay left
Alex: I’m less in that first round camp than others but I recognize he could be. His odds of making it to 52 aren’t zero. But they aren’t viewed as likely. Obviously, the torn ACL hurt his stock and ability to basically play at all last season sans the last couple of games. The fact he is still in that first-round convo demonstrates the talent he has.
Steel PAul: Alex! Hey, I’d like to hear who is your best guess at this moment in time as to what the Steelers will do at 20. I won’t hold you to it.. still lots of time.
Alex: Hey man! I wish I had a good answer for you. Odds are good it’ll be a QB. Who that guy is is much harder to determine. Think they’re willing to make a move-up for Willis but I don’t know if they’ll actually pull it off. Not sure who their #2 QB on their board would be. Still mulling that over.
What is your thought on the price to possibly bring Edmunds back? I have a hard time believing the Steelers would not be interested.
Do you see Pgh adding another vet WR either pre or post draft? Or do they feel they have a good #4 already under contract?
Alex: It should be cheap. I’m not sure of the exact number but probably in that $3-4 million range. Nothing expensive. I think Pittsburgh – and maybe Edmunds – is just weighing their options. I don’t think it was the first choice for either side to have Edmunds play in Pittsburgh.
I would like to think they’ll add a vet WR. But Colbert sounded comfortable with the group they have so we’ll see. It’s hard to know who that vet guy will be, especially as a slot WR. But it makes sense they would add.
BurghInPhilly: Hi Alex, you’re Colbert/Tomlin, in which order do you rank these guys on your board: J. Davis, D. Wyatt, A. Booth, D. Stingley, L. Cine, D. Hill, Pickett, and Willis. There are other names, but Colbert and Tomlin didn’t go to their pro days.
Alex: I don’t have a complete list. I didn’t do the reports on all those guys. Hill from Michigan is a worthwhile name mentioning too I should’ve included in that previous answer. Obviously if there’s a QB you love, you take him. I’ll have my QB ranking and thoughts on Monday morning for you guys. But QB is where it all starts in your draft process and decision-making.