Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

Welcome back to your weekly Pittsburgh Steelers mailbag. As always, we’re here for the next hour to answer whatever is on your mind.

To your questions!

David Levesque: Hello Alex,

With JC signing with the giants, is this is another reason to believe the Steelers will be drafting a center in this draft perhaps earlier than we think?

Alex: Well it seemed pretty clear Pittsburgh didn’t have much interest in bringing Hassenauer back. For whatever reason. And they’ll need a backup center unless they want Nate Herbig to try and/or they love Ryan McCollum which…doubtful. My puzzlement comes from the strong Day One/Day Two interest they’ve shown in the interior class. A Day Three type? Sure, that makes sense. But the Torrences, Michael Schmitzes, Avillas…I’m not sure what they’re doing there, to be honest.

Richard Prezel: This is a year I wish we had 9 picks with some positions deep in quality players.
If you could trade picks or players to obtain more especially in the middle rounds where do you see the most probable value.

Alex: It’d be trading down from 17. Or maybe back from 32, a popular place given the lull between Day One and Day Two. Allows more times for offers, for you to assess, negotiate, and not “be on the clock” and all the chaos that comes with it. Those two are the most likely if you want to move down and get more Day Two picks. I agree there’s strength in the middle of the class, Rounds 2 and 3.  There’s also that hole on Day Three, no fifth- or sixth-round pick, and I gotta think Omar Khan in his first draft won’t sit there for 120 picks and let the rest of the league work Day Three.

SoCal now Central PA Steeler: Hi Alex, I’m kind of getting the sense that the Steelers may like Deonte Banks better than Joey Porter, Jr. or the sense that they’re looking at a different position at #17. Or it could be them hiding their true intentions (finally) What are you feeling in that respect?

Alex: It’s hard to know for sure. They’ve shown interest in both. I don’t think they hide their intentions. They don’t play those games. But this draft is certainly more difficult to predict at the top than the past couple when we knew they loved Najee Harris, when we knew they were taking a QB, etc.

Brian Tollini: Disappointing to not see a ton of interest in slot guys like DJ Turner, Hodges-Tomlinson, or Phillips so far and it’s hard to imagine them drafting one of those guys before an outside CB like Ringo or Brents anyway, but is there a guy you see as a good fit after day 2 for that role? Kei’Trel Clark perhaps? Any others you have your eye on?

Alex: Yeah, I thought I’d see more there. Turner could still be in play. The Steelers were at his Pro Day and I think Grady was there too. But you hit on a lot of the names there. South Carolina’s Cam Smith is versatile, and I thought there might be more interest in him. Right now, it’s on teammate Darius Rush. Slot corner feels like a real obvious problem area the team hasn’t paid much attention to.

Mark O’Connor: Hi Alex, was there much Steelers representation at Devon Witherspoon’s workout? Just wondering if they’ve shown much interest in the unlikely event that he falls in the draft. Thanks!

Alex: I have looked at the couple of clips out there. It isn’t much and haven’t seen any Steelers. Reportedly, 23 teams were there. I have a feeling Pittsburgh was not one of them but can’t confirm.

MAK Lives Free: It’s never been the Steelers to select a tackle high in the draft (round 2 being a typical move). Is there anyone in that 2nd round who might interest them more than the top tackles with their round 1 pick?

Alex: That’s what makes this year kinda weird. They’re picking at 32, which is nearly a first-round pick. It’s like winning a Super Bowl without winning one. It’s not like a “normal” second-round pick at 49 or 53 or 60 where a lot of those tackles are gone because of the supply/demand factor. No one wants to be left holding the bag without one. So there are lots of names that could be there. Darnell Wright, Dawand Jones, Anton Harrison, Matthew Bergeron, there should be some guys. But we’ll see which come off late in Round 1 and I still don’t discount Jones at #17.

Chad Prince: 


If Darnell Washington is there at 32 how much do you think the Steelers would really consider it?

Khan and Tomlin seem to really want to transition to this power football team. Washington surely fits that bill. I also think he’d help a good bit in the red zone, which has been a big problem. I keep trying to talk myself out of Washington due to other needs, but he actually makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about it.

Alex: As much as we’ve talked about it and entertained the idea, I don’t think it’s on the table. They’ve just done homework at so many other positions. Now Washington is a unicorn so you aren’t interviewing other body types and skillsets like him as you do with CB, WR, DL, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

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