Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 4.10.13

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Poll Question:

Should the Steelers match the Patriots offer sheet for WR Emmanuel Sanders, or take NE's 3rd-round pick?

Answer #1:

Yes, have to re-sign him (6%)

Answer #2:

No, take the pick (94%)

Jerry Micco: Hello everyone and welcome to this week's all-sports chat. I'll be back around noon to officially kick things off, but in the meantime, please submit early questions and participate in our quick poll. See you in a bit!

Ralph The Plumber: Sanders contract won't be matched, I don't care how Kevin Colbert and Tomlin spin this off season it has been a utter disaster. They know it, you know it and I know it, Reaction??

Jerry Micco: I understand the money the Pats are offering isn't very high, so they might match. I've liked the way Sanders has developed. He's an excellent route runner and is good in the open field. But injuries have hampered his career here and he has the occasional drop. For a cap strapped team, maybe you take the 3rd-round pick and hope you can pick up a veteran WR in free agency. I'd not call this offseason a disaster, but the Steelers have a load of work to do.

Guest: Jerry, We have to keep Sanders. We're already thin

Jerry Micco: If he goes, your starters are Plaxico Burress and Antonio Brown, with Jerricho Cotchery in the mix. And this is without Heath Miller, who likely will be gone for a big hunk of the season. That said, the 3rd round pick is nice in a draft that has few superstars but a lot of depth.

yinzer in va: Jerry, The Steelers have to sign Sanders because thay are already to thin at the position.

Jerry Micco: As I pointed out in the first couple of answers, you can draft a couple of guys, or you can go the FA route. Remember, guys get cut out of minicamp and training camp. You can pick up a veteran WR a lot of ways if that's what you want.

Ross: I say let Sanders go. He is not durable. which makes him an unreliable wr. What are your thoughts

Jerry Micco: As stated earlier, I think it's one of two things that has held him back. The other being the occasional drop. Again, having 2 3rd-round picks does something for you in a draft with depth. It also allows you to possibly trade one to move up in another round, or add picks in later rounds. I'm a draft and build guy, so I'm always looking at that piece of player acquisition.

Ken: Why can't people get it in their heads that it's time to reload through the draft after 11 good years? A third rounder for Sanders is a gift. Good route runner, but easily replaceable with someone who's more skilled, bigger. Are we really going to hear whining about a receiving corps that's already in shambles?

Jerry Micco: The WRs in this draft are good, but none are great. However, if the Steelers went defense in round 1. Then offense in round 2, then had 2 picks in round 3, they could split defense and offense in that round. Four picks in 3 rounds is not a bad thing in a draft that has depth, but isn't crazy with talent except at the very top.

Guest: Plaxico number one on the depth chart now?

Jerry Micco: After Antonio Brown. Plax could very well be No. 2 and Cotchery No. 3. Makes you wonder if the Steelers will go against the grain with first pick if Tyler Eifert, the terrific TE from Notre Dame falls to them. He is a bigger Gronkowski. Could be very interesting if they are in that situation. It allows the Steelers some options with Miller out and some real options when Miller returns.

The Chief: Hi Jerry, your thoughts on the Pirates after a week. Could this year be the opposite of the last two, weak start, strong finish?

Jerry Micco: Last year, the Pirates played under .500 ball for April and May, so poor starts aren't new to them. For this year to be different, they are going to have to survive April's tough schedule and as best and inconsistent team can, match some good pitching with some offense. You are seeing some of that now, but it would be nice to see them sweep a series rather than take 2 out of 3. Too many of those last year and while they are nice, sweeps are better. It's all about the pitching early, though, and Wandy being hurt isn't helping.

Bill L: Wow. Sanders or the best ILB available in the third round? Goodbye young money, and thanks (a no brainer).

Jerry Micco: Again, as a guy who loves to build from the draft, I can see that scenario happening. Or a very good safety that would be around in round 3 certainly would help.

Jon: Where did the rumors of Ferry to Hofstra come from? And, if it were to be true, how embarrasing is that for Duquesne? Hofstra > Duquesne???

Jerry Micco: I have no idea who started them, but I saw some folks on Twitter saying Hofstra had talked to Ferry about their opening. No one who I read or heard said he was a lock to Hofstra. So we had our Paul Zeise call Ferry and Greg Amodio, the Duquesne AD, and both denied any contact and had no idea where the story came from. So we reported what they said.

Jack Splat: Take the 3rd rounder and pick up a TE!

Jerry Micco: You could, though it's not a deep TE draft, there are a couple of good ones who could go in round 1, Eifert being the best. More picks give you more options. And again, that could be packaging one as a trade to move up in the 2nd round if you see someone there who you like. That's a steep price though, so you might not want to do that unless you can move way up. The Steelers don't always do a lot of draft day bouncing around, either.

Sarcastic Sword: Might we see Hines Ward re-sign with the team?

Jerry Micco: Only as a consultant to the next "Dancing With the Stars" candidate.

Jon: Tiger or the field this weekend?

Jerry Micco: The way he's been playing lately? I'll take Tiger. But as you all know, I'll be looking for Phil to win a 4th green jacket. Be nice to see him get it, but Tiger's putting has returned. If you can putt on Augusta's slick greens, you'll win. And he's done that 4 times already.

Jack Splat: In 2012 the Steeler offense was ranked 21 in the NFL while the D was ranked # 1. Based on the above the Steelers should draft offense - running back and wr- early and often.

Jerry Micco: But there are holes on defense that need to be addressed. OLB is one because while Worilds is there, he's unproven. ILB is another because they have little depth at that spot. The safeties are getting along in age and both backups are gone. Even CB could use a depth pick. So I think there is need on defense, too. Which is why, to me, if you can grab some draft picks, you get them. Or, you mine the FA market that generally steps up some after the draft.

yinzer in va: Jerry, Several weeks ago you said you would be meeting Ron Fritz of Baltimore Sun. I would like to get his perspective on the division this season. Pittsburgh and Baltimore lost a lot of players, and Cincy seems like they've kept most of theirs. The division could be theirs for the next couple years. I also expect Cleveland to do better too.

Jerry Micco: I may or may not see Ron this Monday at the Associated Press Sports Editors Mid-Atlantic regional meeting in State College. Ron's up in the air about going as I write this, but I hope to see him there. I'll certainly ask him his take on the AFC North.

RickT: Jerry, After reading SO many mock drafts they have the Steelers all over the Board, from OL, WR, OLB, ILB etc. What is Your Best "Guesstimate" for a Postion and a Name at this Time ?

Jerry Micco: Well, I mentioned Eifert in my earlier post, but he may be gone by then. A lot of folks think OLB Jarvis Jones is a shoo-in, but I'm not sure. I really like Kenny Vaccaro, the safety from Texas, who could be there at 17. Arthur Brown, the ILB from Kansas State intrigues me, too. If I had to guess right now where they'd go, I'd say Vaccaro or if Eifert is there, they'd take him.

JamesinNYC: Years of control...that is what Sanders is about...sounds like the Pirates not the Steelers, no? Don't they basically have to determine if they can keep him more then one year?

Jerry Micco: Yes, and the money might not be the issue. The issue might be if they are comfortable going into the draft with Brown, Burress and Cotchery as their main guys. If they are not comfortable with that, and if they think they can't do better than Sanders in the draft, they'll likely match the offer.

Bob May: Masters Week, John Feinstein said Tiger needs to win this week, not just a good showing to show he's back and to catch The Bear, agree with that?

Jerry Micco: I think Tiger still has time to catch Nicklaus, but I can see what John's talking about. If Tiger wins this week, it'll get him back in majors mode. And in winning majors mode. I said weeks ago, I thought he'd win one major this year, and maybe two. The maybe was the British Open, and I predicted he'd win at Augusta.

Guest: With the Atlantic wrapped up, are the Pens in the driver seat of the East considering most of their injuries should be cleared up by round 1?

Jerry Micco: Certainly in the driver's seat, but those injuries are going to be more felt in the playoffs. They likely won't get Martin back for round 1. Sid and Neal are undetermined as far as how much time they'll need. I think we are all looking at May 1 returns for them, but that isn't necessarily so. If all are still out by then, the Pens will have their hands full.

Phil: Starling isn't getting enough props. He looks fantastic. Is it possible NH and the organization did something right by not rushing him?

Jerry Micco: Could be, though I always worry about a sophomore jinx, and expressed that about Marte a couple of weeks ago. That said, he does look terrific, but if he keeps this up, you're going to want him hitting further down in the order with runners on. But since he's the only legit lead-off guy, besides Tabata, I guess you shouldn't fool with him because this is working.

Guest: for all you people who want that 3rd round pick, look back at all the misses in the 3rd round. Limas Swede was a 2nd rounder. You develop a young WR you keep him.

Jerry Micco: Good point. The draft is always a crap shoot. A sixth rounder, Brown, is a starter and a very good player despite a tough 2012. Wallace was a third rounder. Sanders a third rounder. You can go deep into drafts to find WRs. If you need a lot of help, sometimes you need the picks more than the player.

Guest: I'm no Pirates apologist, but losing 1-0 to Kershaw on the road, and 3-0 to Greinke doesn't seem too bad. Granted the Cubs series was a mess.

Jerry Micco: Smardjzja (and I know I butchered that one) looks like Roger Clemens every time the Pirates see him. And I'll give you that the Dodgers are very tough. I think they can win the pennant. But you can't contend if you can't win a road game in a tough venue. Pirates have to learn how to do that against the Kershaws and Greinkes of the world.

RickT: Another Quwetion on Pitt BB Jerry. Any "Hot" Players Dixon can bring in to fill those FOUR scholarships. Especially at Center and SHOOTING Guard ?

Jerry Micco: He has some solid recruits at guard, but the big guy is going to create a hole. Of course there's time to look at guys, but it's going to be very hard to fill in for Adams. Zeigler, not so much.

RickT: Fianlly Take the 3rd Round Pick !!

Jerry Micco: We'll see...they have until Sunday to match it.

NFL fan: I think the,Steelers blew it by not placing a higher tender, say second round, on Sanders. Another horrible move in a disastrous offseason.

Jerry Micco: Do they determine that or does the league determine that? I'm really not sure.

The Chief: Your thoughts on the Penguins limping(medically) into the playoffs and are they a prime candidate for a 1st round upset?

Jerry Micco: Their performance the past couple of seasons in round 1 will always make them an upset candidate. But I think this team is a bit deeper, albeit, right now it's not very healthy. If they can get by round 1 and get the injured guys back, they will be very tough to beat.

Brian: Do you see everyone back by early May for the Pens?

Jerry Micco: Martin maybe by mid-May. Sid and Neal I'm not so sure. I think Sid can make it back by then, but concussions are a wild card. Never know when you'll recover from them, so I wouldn't venture a guess on Neal.

The Genius: Emmanuel Sanders will catch over 100 passes in my 'system', good luck with that 3rd rounder

Jerry Micco: Will your system prevent him from getting injured? Seems to be his bugaboo.

Kiper fan: Last thing the Steelers need to do is move up and surrender picks. if anything, trade down for more picks with all the holes to fill!

Jerry Micco: And that could be what they are thinking and taking another 3rd fits that plan. But trading down in a depth draft is tough to do. Teams feel they can wait to see what falls to them more than when the draft is heavy in round 1, then drops off. I felt last year's draft was that type of draft.

Paul: Latest Jets incompetence--not getting rid of the annual contract hassle that is Darelle Revis. A guy who expects to be paid three times the market--every year. What a joke!

Jerry Micco: Still the best cover corner in the NFL, though. He makes your defense better because he takes away half the field.

Kiper fan: How big a deal is the Frozen Four? I would love to go and think it is great for thrpe

Jerry Micco: It's sold out, though some ticket packages went on sale this morning for all 3 games. I think it's a big deal, and our coverage will dictate that much. We had a terrific special section in this morning's paper (and it's all online, too) and we'll have a sizable group up there reporting, including myself. It's a lot of fun, I understand, and it will be some very good hockey. I'm looking forward to being there.

Bruce: How big is the Frozen Four coming to Pittsburgh? Wish I could go but am stuck here in Carolina.

Jerry Micco: As I answered, it's a big deal for the city and Robert Morris, the host school. And for the Pens, who assisted RMU in getting the event here. We'll see how the next 3 days go, but I expect fans to turn out and for Pittsburgh to put on a great show. It's a good city for this event.

The Hammer: So, did we finally see the real Brendan Morrow last night? What a goal!

Jerry Micco: Jury's still out on Morrow and how much he has left, but last night's goal was a keeper. Maybe now that he's got some games under his belt here he can be more comfortable in his offensive game. Be a very nice boost if he could do that.

Franco: If Lacy, the back from Bama is there at 17 do you take him?

Jerry Micco: No. If someone wanted to trade up 8 spots or so with me, I might take him in the mid- to late-20s.

The Great Roberto: Say Bucs win tonight and sweep. Will that get the Yinzers off the Clemente bridge?

Jerry Micco: Pittsburgh is a great sports town. And there are a lot of bridges. So you're always going to have fans of all the teams on the bridges. Just gotta make sure if they decide to jump, there's a life jacket for them.

Neal: If Neal Walker has a terrible year do you rethink signing him to a longterm deal?

Jerry Micco: I think that Pirates are going to watch his progress this year before committing to him. Seems they did that when they didn't sign him to a big deal before this season. He's really hitting the ball hard so far, just right at people. Good to see him get a couple RBIs last night. I think if he's healthy, he can be very productive. And if he shows that, he'll get that big deal.

The Chief: You can't belive the Mike Rice video at Rutgers is an isolarted incident. Is this the tip of the iceburg, and are we about to see more coaches fall in the near future?

Jerry Micco: You have to wonder, don't you? I think there were a lot of coaches burning tape after that became public. Bad situation all around for the players, Rice and the university. You don't want to label all coaches with a broad brush, but when these types of things happen, the public asks some very good questions.

Slamming Sammy: Sure hope Tiger does not win. Great talent, really bad guy, even the new improved Tiger. Can't compare to Jack and Arnie in the class category.

Jerry Micco: Tiger has never been my favorite person because I thought he was an uptight automaton. He's the best golfer I've ever seen, though. Probably why I always liked Mickelson. He seems like a likeable guy and when he does win, you feel like celebrating with him. To me, he's Arnie to Tiger's Jack Nicklaus.

JamesinNYC: Tyler Eifert or any WR in the first round?...I am leaning towards Eifert. Though I think there are a couple OLB types I would pick first like Jarvis Jones.

Jerry Micco: Eifert is very good and could go at 17 if he isn't already scooped up. My guess is he'll be gone before 17. Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee is considered the best of the WR lot, but again, I'd not take him at 17. If I was at 25, maybe. Jones is considered a strong OLB, but has some issues that the NFL can clean up. He takes plays off sometimes.

Barrasso: Are you as shocked as me that there was no suspension for the Neal hit?

Jerry Micco: I wasn't sure that was intentional, but everyone I have spoken with about it tells me I'm crazy. I don't think there should have been a suspension. A penalty? Certainly.

Phil: Let's see we have no future all pro potential at RB, TE, inside lb, safety, and a sluggish Woodley, an aging Ike and Keisel, a question mark at the other OLB, a small #1 WR who fumbles...take the third rounder!

Jerry Micco: Sounds like the scouting report for the team from the movie "Wildcats," starring Goldie Hahn. But it's not that far from being very insightful and accurate.

The Dude: How significant do you think the loss of Shel for Pitt football and Adams for hoops will be in the long run?

Jerry Micco: I think Adams hurts more now because you just don't find many 7-footers who can run the floor. His game will take time to develop, but the NBA coaches will work with him on that. While Shell hurts, Pitt has other RBs who are good, too. Shell wasn't an explosive back in the mold of Adrian Peterson. More of a power guy who can lug it 25 times a game. Still, that fits Paul Chryst's offense. I think Pitt football is better off with Shell than without, but the Adams loss to Pitt basketball will hurt more.

Big Ben: (Taking the gag out of his mouth) Who's going to catch my passes!!?? Sign somebody already!!

Jerry Micco: Only got a bit of cap money left. Can't sign guys you can't pay for. Draft still gives them the best opportunity, I think.

NFL Fan: Steelers, not NFL, determine tender. It is based on monetary figure, I believe. Bouchette explained it.

Jerry Micco: Then you got it from an expert. Could be they wanted someone to make an offer, so they lowered the price.

James_Pittsburgh: When will Francisco Liriano be ready to pitch?

Jerry Micco: I think I'm hearing early to mid-May. We'll see if he lands in the starting rotation. Will depend on how that group is faring by then. But I'd think they didn't sign this guy to have him in the bullpen on in AAA.

JamesinNYC: Any idea what money we are talking about for Saunders? We will get a comp pick if we match and he leaves next year.

Jerry Micco: I have not seen numbers, but hearing it's not an exhorbitant amount. And yes, they'd get a sandwich pick, probably between 3rd and 4th round, if he signs then leaves the following season.

Jerry Micco: I can take one or two more if you guys got 'em...

Jerry Micco: OK, I need to get back to some other stuff. Thanks for taking the time to join me today. Great questions and a really busy hour. Just how I like it. Have a great week and enjoy your sports weekend. The Masters, Frozen Four, Bucs vs. Reds at PNC Park. Great stuff all around. See you next Wednesday at noon! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco

Steelers


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