Welcome back to your Pittsburgh Steelers’ mailbag. The final one before Round One of the 2022 NFL Draft kicks off. Going to be a crazy night. We’re here for the next hour for some last-second answers.
To your questions!
NickRVA: Hi Alex, happy draft day! It was great to hear your excitement over the return to St. Vincent this summer. With all of the additions to the team over the years since they’ve been there, is there a person (currently on the roster or soon to be) or unit that you’re most interested in watching this summer?
Alex: Happy draft day, Nick! Definitely, I’m thrilled to return to Latrobe. I’m not sure if there’s someone above the rest I’m excited to see. I’m interested in them all. The young guys trying to make the jump, the new faces, how all the pieces fit together.
Obviously, there will be interest in Trubisky and life after Ben. Doubly so if this team drafts a QB today.
The 2nd years of guys like Dan Moore Jr. and Kendrick Green will certainly be worth watching as well.
SteelerFan08: Hey Alex- How many receivers are we coming away with in the draft this year?
Alex: I’ll say one. Probably as early as Round Two. Round 3-4 at the latest. Always the chance to double-dip late but they only have seven picks this year. When they double-dip, it often is because they have a ton of picks (8+).
falconsaftey43: Do you see ILB as a first round possibility (Dean, Harris, Quay Walker would seem to “fit”)? Not sure how their view on Bush plays into that possibility. Not as clear as it is with Edmunds (who they’re clearly ok with moving on from) at SS.
Alex: As a possibility, sure. I think Walker would fit best and be the most likely option of the group. But with Jack signed and some hope on Bush for 2022, it’s a lot less likely than other positions. But it’s worth mentioning.
JMD: If the Steelers go ILB in round one, would they conceivably turn around and immediately trade Bush for picks in the 2022?
Alex: I don’t think he’d have a ton of value right now. ACL in 2020, poor play in 2021. I’d rather stick with him and see if you can turn things around. If not, then move on after this season.
With all the draft buzz going on, how long do you think post-draft will the Steelers announce the next GM? If you’re The Rooneys, how fast do you want to get your next guy in the chair before all of the training programs start?
Alex: I don’t know the exact timetable but my guess is mid-May. Interview finalists a week after the draft, make a decision a week later. But it could be a bit later than that. There isn’t a super big rush to make it happen now, I suppose. Quieter part of the offseason and obviously, no one else is competing to hire a GM right now. But I think it’s good to make that transition sooner to get the new guy running the show.
SteelDodo: Hey Alex,
All the mock drafts have been predicting what will happen tonight. If you were the GM, how would you WANT to do the draft? E.g., which players/positions would be your first 3/4 picks?
Alex: I don’t feel as strongly this year as last year. It is more mixed up. I’d be looking at Willis/Corral as first round options at QB. Then look at slot/safety on Day Two, OT on Day Three with a RB getting strong consideration too. I suppose not too different than the conversations right now.
I don’t have a “guy” I want to take at 20 like I did with Creed Humphrey last year. Will say if Kyle Hamilton falls, he is awfully difficult for me to pass on, even if the QBs are there.
I’m so looking forward to you weighing in on what
actually happened tonight.
Reading about what you think is going to happen for months now.
is getting very tedious.
Alex: It’s worn on me a little bit too. Excited to get answers tonight. Enjoy the draft!
HardPunkKore: Alex, thanks for all the great work you and the depot team have done to inform us all about the draft prospects and what the Steelers may do. My question to you is who is your favorite player in this draft? Then who is a late round gem that will be a draft steal?
Alex: My favorite overall? Man it might be Arnold Ebiketie, the EDGE from Penn State. I think the dude will have a great career. Not getting enough love at the bottom of Round One. Ditto with WR Jahan Dotson.
Late round gem? Several safeties who fit that bill. I’d put Virginia S Joey Blount at the top of the list. Happy the Steelers have shown some interest.
Billjump: Could you see the steelers doing another trade this year similar to the Loudermilk one to get an extra pick? If so, what positions do you think it could make sense for? Maybe tackle?
Alex: Don’t rule it out because of that gap between 4th and 6th round selections but a minor trade like that is harder to do knowing you aren’t getting any comp picks next year. So unless you could package your 6th/7th for a fifth, Colbert might be unwilling to do it.
What position? It could be DL again given the unusual body type the team looks for at end. Other than that, it could just depend on their board and one guy they really like.
JMD: Alex, let me flip one of the earlier questions: who is the one player you DON’T want the Steelers to draft (of the guys who are in play at #20)?
Alex: Good question. I don’t know if one name pops to mind. Devonte Wyatt would be a surprise from a historical perspective. I have a lower 2nd round grade on Kenny Pickett. So I’d probably answer him in terms of “guys who could become Steelers I wouldn’t want.” Ditto with Desmond Ridder.
Regarding interest in quarterbacks. Wouldn’t a responsible organisation want to go to meet them as often as possible, go to every pro day and have them all come in so the QB coach/OC/decision makers watch tape understand their processing etc to make sure they aren’t their guy? A good process is doing all the due diligence possible which rules someone out as well as ruling them in.
Alex: Of course. It’s the smart thing to do and what they should/will do each year until they draft a QB. You’re right that sometimes it’s about ultimately ruling guys out as it is ruling them in. But it makes it hard for us to know which guys are in or out. Why it’s been tough to gauge which way they’ll go. Hard for to believe they don’t like any five of these guys.
Bill Sechrengost: Hi Alex. Great coverage, as usual, from everyone preparing us for the draft. So if the Steelers do not draft a QB in the first round and there are some of the top 5 or 6 quarterbacks fall into the second round, would you draft/trade up to get one in the second?
Alex: Usually against it. If you don’t like a QB in the first, I’m not sure what makes him that much more likable in the second. Either you think he’s the guy or he isn’t. But we’ll see how the board plays out. Maybe it’s a case of a Kyle Hamilton or Jordan Davis falling and they can’t pass on him so they take him and then go move back up.
Happy draft day Alex!
Do you plan on taking a vacation this off-season?
Alex: Been too busy to think about that much. Maybe. No idea where I’ll go. Right now, just focused on the draft and the next three days.
Daniel Moon: Hey Alex, I really hope the Steelers don’t move up by giving up a future 1st round pick as this year’s QB class does not impress me at all. I do think the Steelers are 1 or 2 pieces away from being competitive and their adding a QB won’t make this team better this year. Why not go for someone like WR Olave, WR Williams, WR Wilson, DL Davis, S Hamilton who will contribute right away.
Alex: Argument seems to contradict itself. if they’re not one or two pieces away, why worry about drafting a WR who “will contribute right away?” If anything, that should push the team to look towards the future of a QB and make a move for that guy. You’d be more apt to not do that if you were 1-2 pieces away from winning right now. Which I agree with you, they aren’t.