Guest: What’s the best part about covering the combine as a journalist?
Gerry Dulac: Two words: St Elmo's
Guest: Is Hunter Henry a 1st Round talent or do you see him as a 2nd Rounder?
Gerry Dulac: I think he's a late first-round pick, great early 2nd round pick
Craig in Austin: Do you see the Steelers making any moves prior to the start of free agency or will they sit and wait since they are starting out under the cap for the first time in a while?
Gerry Dulac: No, not prior but don't be surprised if they make a quick move once free agency starts
Guest: Any sleeper picks you have your eye on at this combine?
Gerry Dulac: Too early Give me a few more days
ChicagoNate: Hi Gerry, you mentioned in your blog that Pouncey missed last season with a torn ACL. That is not correct right? I believe he missed the season with a fractured ankle and ligament damage in his ankle.
Gerry Dulac: You're correct. Mistake on my part. Ankle and other complications
Steve: Gerry, I know the Steelers tend to draft by board rankings and not so much position of need. If that were the case this year, and Robert Nkemdiche were to fall to them, would he be a possibility. I know he has of the field issues, but he is a physical freak who can rush the passer as well as play the run. I think he could line up at nose tackle between Tuitt and Heyward. What a line that could be. Your thoughts.
Gerry Dulac: I agree with you on Nkemdiche as a player, but they don't need to address their front seven in the first round. And he does have that little off-field incident. But I could understand the logic, much like when they drafted Shazier
Guest: Do you like Indianapolis? What are some of your favorite things about the city?
Gerry Dulac: I do.
Guest: Gerry, the steelers may have 3 7th Round picks - please give us 3 names of players who we might see them draft in that round. THnaks.
Gerry Dulac: I can't reach that far. And neither can the Steelers
GjSteel: Hi Gerry, will the retirement of Heath Miller prompt the Steelers to make a draft pick higher for TE than the planned to do this year..or will they be commited to improving a defense to make it a top 10 defense again?
Gerry Dulac: I've thought all along they would take a tight end in the first 3 rounds and would be the first offensive player they drafted. And that was when I thought Heath would come back for one more year. Nothing has changed, except I think it puts a greater sense of urgency of signing a TE in free agency, someone who can be a starter/contributor
JamesinNYC: My annual question....who are you most interested in interviewing this year?
Gerry Dulac: This combine lacks the star player or sideshow act as past years. There are no Tim Tebows or Andrew Lucks or RG3s or Manti T'eos or Johnny Manziels or Michael Sams
SoCal Michael: How bad off are the Steelers at TE if they don't draft Henry? I'm not sure I can see them paying for one of the available FAs and it sounds like no one is convinced Jesse James is the solution.
Gerry Dulac: I don't think their fortunes hinge on drafting Henry. I think there are a couple other guys who can help them. Don't forget, they have a lot of offensive talent with AB, Bell, Bryant, Wheaton, maybe even Coates. They don't need a big play TE. It won't make or break them
The Card Says Moops: How much do you get in to watch drills, if at all?
Gerry Dulac: Not at all
Guest: Thought on Tyler Higbee TE from WKU?
Gerry Dulac: Very good athletic pass catcher because he's a former wide receiver. Good spread tight end. Can't block so Steelers might not be interested. But a sleeper pick
Steve: Would the Steelers consider Robert Nkemdiche in the 1st round if he was there and was highest rated player on their board? Would he even be on their board with of field issues? Would look good between Tuitt and Heyward.
Gerry Dulac: See above answer.. No doubt a good player. But don't see them doing that
The Card Says Moops: Let's all say it together now, "it's still early", but does Xavier Grimble have any realistic chance to make an impact on this team? He strikes me as the kind of guy some fans clamor for, like Howard Jones, but never pans out. I'd like to be wrong.
Gerry Dulac: I don't think you're wrong necessarily, but I will say this -- when I watch Grimble in practice he has stood out with his route running and, more important, pass-catching. He has nice size and athleticism. I'm not annointing him a Pro Bowler or even starter, but I'm not going to dismiss him
Renegade: The secondary needs are well documented and now need a TE as FA or draft. However, if LB Ragland is there at 25 do you take? He seems to be very talented to play immediately and ultimately to be a successor to Timmons.
Gerry Dulac: No no a thousand times no!!
GjSteel: Gerry, how real is the possibilty that L. Bell could miss some part of the regular season?
Gerry Dulac: I wouldn't over-react like a national reporter did
The goose: Hey Gerry, cornerback, safety, or tight end in the first round?
Gerry Dulac: If it's me, I go cornerback, safety, TE, DE w first four picks. Even some variation would be acceptable
GjSteel: Gerry, do the Steelers realize how much they need to improve in the secondary to make them more successful at pass defense..?
Gerry Dulac: Believe me, they realize it more than you and me
me: When can free agents start signing with new teams?
Gerry Dulac: March 9. They can begin talking with teams Mar 7
me: Since they have extra cap space from Heath's retirement, will they still ask Timmons to restructure his contract?
Gerry Dulac: Yes. $15 mill is a lot of shackles. But they can't re-work his deal because he's in the final year. They will have to tear it up and give him a pay reduction.
Jake: When are the defensive backs going through drills?
Gerry Dulac: Sunday I think is their day
Steve: i AGREE THAT THE FRONT 7 ISNT THE BIG NEED, BUT I THINK ITS MORE LIKELY THAT nKEMDICHE PLAYS RIGHT AWAY AS OPPOSED TO A CORNER OR SAFETY. pLUS i THINK THE PUSH IN THE MIDDLE HE COULD CREATE WOULD HELP THE BACK END OF THE DEFENSE. i THINK ITS MORE LIKELY THE FIND A CORNER THAT CAN HELP RIGHT AWAY IN FREE AGENCY.
Gerry Dulac: Well, he won't play right away because he's not going to supplant Heyward or Tuitt. At best, he's a backup in a rotation. A cornerback or safety has a chance to come in and start.
TShip: I know it's early but the corner I would most like to see this weekend is the Jackson kid from Houston, great size I think 6'1" and 210 any buzz on him?
Gerry Dulac: I won't argue with there. He's on the rise. Could be a mini-sleeper
WAROnTheRock: I'm sorry of this is turning in to a TE themed chat but what about this JuCo kid who had a beer in Miami and then went to Montana State...Beau Sandland...is he at the combine? I think this kid could be a sleeper...
Gerry Dulac: He is not at the combine
Guest: Gerry, per your comment above - Is St. Elmo a church in Indy worth visiting? We'll be there this summer and we're always looking for a good church to visit. Thanks.
Gerry Dulac: Sorry, steak house
Miller: Should we just look for the highest rated blocking TE and go from there for the Steelers? Maybe the kid from Ohio State. And also, with the depth at CB this year, how many would you say have to be chosen in front of the Steelers for them to look at another position? Kyle Fuller from VT, who got hurt last year, but was regularly that defense's best player the previous two years, would be a good pick.
Gerry Dulac: Don't turn your back on the kid from Ohio State -- Nick Vannett. Good combo of blocker/pass catcher. That's what the Steelers like
Joe C.: How much effect did K. Bulter have on the defense this season? Were they better because of him or did the talent get better?
Gerry Dulac: Both, but there is always the ability to utilize the talent in the best way possible
Rob: Is there any concern Bell's injury will inhibit his ability to play at the same level?
Gerry Dulac: Well, I think there always is until you see him play
JamesinNYC: I think Henry might well be there in the second round, outside of PGH he looks to be in that area. What are the chances the Steelers take an outside linebacker or guard and the Steeler Nation goes nuts....as usual?
Gerry Dulac: There will be no OLB or guard early. that's for sure
Gerry Dulac: Well, that's all the time we have today kids. Back to the prospects.....See you next week
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