Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 4.24.13

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Poll Question:

You are Steelers GM Kevin Colbert. Your pick in the 1st round of the NFL draft is:

Answer #1:

Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame (Votes: 39%)

Answer #2:

Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia (Votes: 15%)

Answer #3:

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tenn. (Votes: 15%)

Answer #4:

Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas (23%)

Answer #5:

None of the above (Votes: 8%)

James_Pittsburgh: It is nice to see the Pirates out to an 11-9 start. I hope they will continue to play above .500.

Jerry Micco: We'll see. Right now, considering the schedule, you'd have to say they are above expectations. If the pitching can hold up at all, they should be OK. I'm sticking with my 83 wins total. But it's a long season.

James_Pittsburgh: Can the Pirates survive a three game series with the Brewers on the road next week?

Jerry Micco: At some point, you'd think, they Pirates would look around and say "we're the better team," then just beat the Brewers. But Miller Park has been a house of horrors for the Pirates. You'd like to come out of this trip 5-5, and a key to that in my mind is to take 2 of 3 in Milwaukee.

James_Pittsburgh: What is your sense for the Steelers. If they could move down in the draft and acquire picks, would that be a scenario they would jump in an instant?

Jerry Micco: It depends on who is asking, what they are offering, and who is on the board at that time who the Steelers think they could get if they stayed at 17. And since so many teams are tying to trade down, you might not get as much offered in return as in other years.

James_Pittsburgh: Reports are that Jarvis Jones will be off the board when the Steelers pick. I see the Steelers taking Tyler Eifert or Kenny Vacarro.

Jerry Micco: If Jones is gone, it means he's moved up on a lot of boards in the past week. I think there is less a chance that Vacarro or Eifert is there than Jones. And if Jones is gone, I think they'll go Eifert and get a safety on day 2.

Chunkles: Jerry, Troy Polamalu is a good guy and he seems to have a charitable family. Why not have the Steelers draft Teo and have him live and be mentored by the Polamalu's? This would be a great story and it would give this talented kid a chance to right himself and the Steelers would end up with a top notch linebacker who they wouldnt have to use a first round pick on to get.

Jerry Micco: Wonderful idea, but I don't think the Steelers will go inside backer in round 1. I don't think it's so much the fake girlfriend thing that will keep them from taking him, I think it's Teo's performance in the BCS title game that may keep them away. However, I do think Teo is going in round 1.

The Chief: Jerry, Tomas Vokum recorded is NHL win 300 to put him in an elite group of goalies. Any concern that he has only three playoff wins or are we going to live/die with Flower?

Jerry Micco: I think Bylsma will put all, or most of, the playoffs in Fleury's hands. But don't be surprised to see Vokoun if the Pens get up big in a series, or, if they get down big. Vokoun has shown this season to be a very good goalie, despite his playoff record.

James_Pittsburgh: I would love to see Le'veon Bell in a Steelers uniform. Any second day picks that you like?

Jerry Micco: I like Bell and I like Montee Ball from Wisconsin. If Kevin Minter, the inside linebacker from LSU is there he might be a very good pick in round 2. I was thinking WR, but all the "good" ones will be gone in round 1 or the top of round 2. In that case, better to wait until the 3rd or 4th round to get a WR. I think safety is a higher priority if they don't take Vacarro.

Don Nehlen: Geno Smith falls to the 2nd round?

Jerry Micco: I don't think so. But if he falls out of the top 10, then you may see him fall to the top of round 2.

Guest: In looking at the potential targets for the draft, it seems like adding a dynamic TE might be more impactful than a WR. Especially if Heath comes back healthy, that would seem to allow them to have what amounts to 4 pass catchers and 7 OL on the field at all times, what do you think?

Jerry Micco: I think Eifert is an intriguing pick because you can line him up wide or in the slot and he can run deep seam routes. And you won't have Miller around for at least half a season. If Jones and Eifert are both there, it'll be a nice discussion in the Steelers draft room.

Guest: Hi Jerry, Any word on Pitt basketball and recruiting?

Jerry Micco: Ray Fittipaldo is handling that. There's a kid today who's announcing at 2:30 that has Pitt in his Final 4. Since I don't follow recruiting beyond what we put in the paper, I'm not sure of his name. But Ray will have that news as it happens.

Gary@NorthernVirginia: Jerry, of the 4 names in the poll, who do you lean towards?

Jerry Micco: Very tough call. I like Jones because they do need another outside backer for depth. Jones is a very good player and has shown he can do it all. But having Eifert as a weapon for Ben is almost too good to pass up. Steelers probably hoping one of them is gone before they pick at 17. I'd lean Eifert.

Wally: The Steelers had a very limited amount of money to sign free agents this year. Do you think they spent what little money they had wisely? Gay and Spaeth were signed quickly when then was little to no interest from other teams, got stuck overspending for Sanders, signed jouneyman running backs to million dollar deals etc.

Jerry Micco: The RBs were offered tenders and those made sense to me. Dwyer and Redman were their two primary backs last season. And you'd better believe a RB is coming in this draft, likely in round 2 or 3. Gay and Spaeth serve roles and they are adequate. Gay was a very good nickle guy and that'll be his role in the defense. Spaeth is a blocking TE who is a capable receiver. Not a guy who you're going to fear, but capable. And they didn't spend all that much on either. As for Sanders, their thinking was they had to have proven guys at WR going into this season. He's better than an unknown FA.

Guest: With the Steelers recent track record of drafting problem children, any chance we grab the Honey Badger?

Jerry Micco: I'm guessing no.

carisi_99: Marte looks like the superior defensive OF, do you see them moving him to CF anytime?

Jerry Micco: Not as long at Cutch is a Gold Glove winner. I think Cutch wants to play CF and the Pirates won't mess with that until they have to. Besides, you need 2 CF types to play in PNC Park's outfield considering the size of left field. Marte fits there fine right now.

Howard: Hi Jerry, any updates on Pitt Basketball and recruiting?

Jerry Micco: Ray Fittipaldo is monitoring an announcement today and he's been blogging on our PG+ blog and writing stories as needed.

Wally: I like Vaccaro, but do you take another 1st rounder that is going to sit on the bench for 2 or 3 years like Heyward?

Jerry Micco: I'm not sure Polamalu has anything left after this season. And Ryan Clark is in his 10th year. A safety is needed in this draft, and they'll grab one.

Gene Clines: I say the Pirates trade AJ Burnett to a contender at the end of the year in typical Pirate behavior, my brother says the Pirates have to sign him, what say you?

Jerry Micco: He's intimated he wants to retire at the end of the season. He's 37. But I'm sure if he can put together 15 or 16 wins, the Pirates will make every attempt to sign him to a contract. But with Gerrit Coles coming along, they may have their new No. 1 starter. Though if Burnett wanted to give them a friendly contract, say another year at $10 million, they may jump on that.

Gary@NorthernVirginia: One pundit has the Steelers trading their #1 to the Eagles for their 2nd this year and 1st next. Seems a bad move don't you think?

Jerry Micco: Depth is key in this draft. The Eagles have a high 2nd round pick and the Steelers could still get a good player at that spot. And picking up an extra No. 1 in 2014 wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I don't see that happening, though.

The Chief: Jerry, the Pirates needed 39 wins beginning this season to hit the 10,000 all time win mark. Is the PPG going to do any special type of article on the event when it happens?

Jerry Micco: Already discussed and being planned.

Wally: If the Steelers draft Jarvis Jones won't that just about guarantee that Worilds leaves next year as a free agent. They will be in the exact same position with two starters and no depth and have to draft for a backup. Why not shoot for a OLB in the 3rd/4th who has potential to start but won't hurt if he stays as a backup?

Jerry Micco: You might even see them take 2 LBs in this draft, but if Worilds does leave, then you are right, they'll need to bring in another OLB. Now maybe the cap opens up a bit for them next season and they go FA on that, but they are so thin there now that at some point there has to be an OLB picked. There are a lot in this draft, so getting one of day 2 or even day 3 might not be a bad backup plan.

Gary@NorthernVirginia: I know Mike Rice is going to be shunned for a bit, but do you think he may eventually wind up back at Pitt?

Jerry Micco: I don't think so. I have to think he'll latch on as an assistant in a couple of years in a smaller school in a small media market. Think some place like Northern Arizona.

Guest: I read the Steelers are interested in Tyler Bray, maybe 4th round if he's there. Haven't they swung and missed on many mid round QB's before? Dixon, Omar from Bowling Green.

Jerry Micco: Bray seems to be more the pro-style QB that neither Dixon nor Omar Jacobs were. And I know they like Bray quite a bit.

James_Pittsburgh: My biggest concern is the Steelers using Tyler Eifert in the offense. They wasted Health Miller's talent for many years. They didn't get him the ball enough.

Jerry Micco: He was targeted a lot last year and had a great season until it was ended with the injury. Arguably, he was their best offensive weapon as a receiver. I think Haley like's playing TEs and using them in the offense. I'm sure he's in Mike Tomlin's ear whispering sweet nothings to him about Eifert.

JamesinNYC: My choices would be Jones(most productive OLB), Vacarro(most productive safety in a good class), or Eifert(most productive TE)...I like real production over potential though Vacarro and Eifert have lots of athleticism. Do you like production or projection?

Jerry Micco: Production, always. Show me film of football games and if I see a guy's productive at a big school, then that usually tells me he can be productive in the NFL. Now Heyward was productive at OSU, but he was a 4-3 DT. He was PROJECTED as a 3-4 DE. Thus, some growing pains.

James_Pittsburgh: I think there is almost no chance that the Steelers will take Cordarrelle Patterson. They can find someone who runs a 4.3 and isn't a good route runner in the 3rd or 4th round.

Jerry Micco: Just like Mike Wallace. And you're right.

Guest: How awesome is Pitt being in the ACC? The football schedlue looked great, but with Duke coming to Pitt for hoops, this move couldn't have worked out better. Plus with the near guerentee that the ACC can't be raided, things have to be looking up at Pitt

Jerry Micco: Pitt's move to the ACC is a win-win for the school. Yes, Big East hoops has been a big dog for years, but the ACC is certainly no slouch. And in football this was a no-brainer. I'm looking forward to seeing how Pitt fares in all ACC sports. I broke into the business covering ACC schools, so it'll be nice to see them as regular opponents for many years.

The Chief: Coach Blysma has a done a great job this year in the face of adversity aka injuries. Any chance he winns the Adams again?

Jerry Micco: I'm not thinking they'll repeat that award. I don't know who is more deserving this year, but that award is rarely presented to the same guy back to back.

Will: I don't know if I can take another year of the Roger Goodell hug-athon. What would Lambert have done?

Jerry Micco: He probably would have blitzed the commish. But the hugs are his thing, so once a year for a few hours, I can handle that.

James_Pittsburgh: Do you think that Le'veon Bell or Montee Ball could come in and play immediately? I am not expecting them to be a impact, but at least split carries with Redman.

Jerry Micco: I think RBs are more likely to play right away in the NFL than WRs. Easier to learn the system as a RB. So I'd see one of those guys getting a shot with Dwyer and Redman and seeing who has the hot hand.

The Chief: Jerry, you have followed the draft expertly in the past years any thoughts on why the 2008 draft was such a bomb?

Jerry Micco: It shouldn't have been, because I loved the top 2 picks in that draft. I thought Mendy was the best RB in that draft and Limas Sweed was the big receiver and a steal in round 2. And I said so at the time. I didn't think the rest of that class was all that great, but then the Steelers had few needs back then. But the fact that from the No. 2 choice down actually did so little shows that the scouting in that draft was flawed. I still think Mendy had some very good years here, but obviously his walking out on the team as well as some other idiosyncracies doomed him.

Pablo: Jerry, who would you like to see the Pens play in the first round and who do you hope they avoid? Personally I hope someone else has to deal with the Islanders. They are unpredictable, fast and young.

Jerry Micco: I think the Rangers because that would be a good series and selfishly for my staffers, it's a lot easier to travel to NYC than to Ottawa. And the Islanders can be scary, so the Pens, with their unstable first-round play, may want to avoid them if they can.

JamesinNYC: Better strategy: 1)Eifert and Stedman Baily 2)Cordarella Patterson and Dion Sims?

Jerry Micco: Too heavy on offense. Of the top 3 picks, I'm guessing 2 are on defense, OLB and safety.

Paul: If you had an offer to trade down at 17, would you? I would in a second.

Jerry Micco: I think they would if the right offer was on the board. Two teams to watch on that front: Houston and Minnesota may at least talk to the Steelers about moving up. Both need WRs and TEs, and if Eifert or Patterson is there the Steelers would get some interest. Houston would likely have to give up a 2 to get there as well as swapping their No. 1. The Texans draft 27th. The Vikings, I think, are No. 24.

Gary@NorthernVirginia: Back in the early 80's, as the 70's players retired or were let go, one writer said that they were "replacing stars with starters." Doesn't that seem to be what's happening now?

Jerry Micco: It's what happens when great players get on the backside of their careers. Now it's time for those younger "starters" to step up and become tomorrow's stars. Some do it flawlessly, others struggle and never make it.

Ken: With the new NFL CBA, are the days of playing games with RFAs ending, that is are 4 year rookie contracts somehow mandated. I see where Cruz is doing the same thing Wallace did last year.

Jerry Micco: Makes sense because it's the last chance for a big payday for guys like Cruz and Wallace. Most teams will be happy with the 4-year rookie contract and then UFA status. Gives you time to judge someone and if you really like him, you can tear up the rookie deal and extend him.

Mel: Would you take a chance on Penn State's Mike Mauti or South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore late?

Jerry Micco: I think some team will bite on Lattimore late. Mauti would have been a day 2 draft pick before his injury. I'm thinking he'll be an undrafted FA in someone's camp. He's a gamer and a tough player, but you have to wonder about his knees. Tough to see a good player get waylaid by injury. Same with Lattimore, but his was a one-time shot, though it was a very bad one.

James_Pittsburgh: True or False, the Steelers 2013 playoffs hopes hinge on them finding a way to take care of inferior teams like Tennessee, Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo, Detroit Lions, and NY Jets.

Jerry Micco: Yes, and they'll have to find a way to take care of things at home. Need to win 7 or their 8 home games in my opinion, and then scrounge 3 on the road for those 10 wins. And you must find a way to beat the bottom feeders. If they don't do that, then you could see a sub-.500 season from them this year.

Jagr: Any word on Brooks Orpik?

Jerry Micco: Just a lower body injury. No updates that I've heard.

The Hammer: So Sid has skated but not practiced. Any question as to whether he will be ready to go when the playoffs begin?

Jerry Micco: He's out for an indefinate period of time, so there certainly is a chance he could miss some time in the playoffs.

Stillerman: Am I the only one who has a problem with Kevin Colbert saying they do not expect first year guys to contribute?

Jerry Micco: No, but that's the Steelers philosophy. They don't put that load on a rookie very often. Some, like Ben, were thrust into it and because the team was so good around him, he thrived. Plus, he's a very talented guy. On this team, rookies wouldn't be surrounded by a Super Bowl contending team. Be tough to make a go of it, but if they play their way into the lineup, not much you can do but play 'em.

James_Pittsburgh: If the Pirates contend this year, I think A.J. Burnett will be back(Not necessarily make the playoffs). Without A.J. the Pirates have a rotation of Wandy Rodrgiuez, Gerrit Cole, James McDonald, Jeff Locke, and a free agent in 2014.

Jerry Micco: And that may be why the Pirates would give him a big chunk, like $10 or 11 million, to stay. If they thought they could get to the playoffs with him, you make that investment.

Guest: when you attend sporting events in the media press box, are you in the same room as the trib media members?

Jerry Micco: Sometimes right next to them. At the Steelers game, we have seats 2-7. Alan Robinson from the Trib is in seat 8. I'm in seat 7. So yeah, we sit near each other, though not always right together as we do at Heinz.

The Chief: Jerry, in your opinion, do the teams drafting around the Steelers have similar needs or will it be best player available for most teams?

Jerry Micco: Some have similar needs. For instance, don't be surprised if the Rams take Patterson or Vacarro. I think the Bengals drafting a bit later than the Steelers, would like Vacarro, too. The Bears, who draft ahead of the Bengals, would love a look at Eifert.

The Chief: I wish the Eagles would offer their one next year and a two this year for pick 17. That scenario was in a mock draft released yesterday. I would jump on it, but doubt Eagles would ever do it.

Jerry Micco: Someone asked about that earlier. I doubt that will happen, but the Steelers would probably take it. Extra picks in this draft are a good thing. The Steelers now have 8, with 2 picks in round 6.

Phil: Any memorable Niner or Raider draft days from your time in the Bay Area? Al must have had the place on lockdown.

Jerry Micco: I never did any live chats or such during the drafts when I was out there, so I never got as involved in it as I am here. And frankly, it was never as big a deal in the Bay Area as it is here. Both teams were good most of the time I was there, so the drafted low. As far as Al Davis, he was generally open about training camp and practices. He had is issues, for sure, but he loved football and if you wanted to talk football with him, he was there.

Dick Hoak: What RB's are the Steelers looking at? I really like Ellington from Clemson, a CJ spiller type.

Jerry Micco: We mentioned Le'Veon Bell from Michigan State and Montee Ball from Wisconsin. I'll throw in Ellington, too. Eddie Lacy from Bama is a good back in round 2, too.

Tom: Think Penn State is making inroads in the WPIAL in their football recruiting? Lots of prospects there.

Jerry Micco: They got the Apke kid from Mt. Lebo for their 2014 class and Bill O'Brien has said he wants to recruit all of Pennsylvania. Over the years, the Nits have had their share of very good WPIAL players, so I'd imagine that won't stop under O'Brien.

Mario: Hoping the Pens can bring back Iggy for another year. Any chance?

Jerry Micco: Always a chance is the price is right.

Colbert: Ray Graham to Steelers, is it a fit?

Jerry Micco: Could be in round 6 or 7. Depends on who they get earlier in the draft at RB.

Guest: Is it fair to say that anything short of winning The Stanley Cup this year is a failure? A lot of pressure, but with the veterans on this team, I don't think it will be a problem

Jerry Micco: I'd not call it a failure if they don't win the cup, but it will be a big disappointment. They made trades to win this season. If they don't, then they may not have this team together, I guess you can almost guarantee they won't, come next season.

The Chief: I understand your rationale for Pitt's move to the ACC being a win win. Then I look at at a school like Boston College, that used to be preminent in college sports, and say what has the ACC done for them.

Jerry Micco: Well, I think it improves Pitt in football and is a wash in basketball. The question is, can they compete in both sports at a higher level? I guess we'll see. The ACC will be challenging, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Gary@NorthernVirginia: You mention missing so badly on Sweed. What was the problem? Emotional problems, physical limitations, a combo of both?

Jerry Micco: I believe that was the issue, as you described it, in a nutshell.

River Rat: Kevin Colbert keeps talking about the Steelers being an 8-8 team. But isn't it more accurate to say that they are 8-8 team with a Quarter Back that can't play hurt and a decimated offensive line. I doubt his sincerity.

Jerry Micco: Well, that's how Colbert is approaching this draft and offseason. He knows he's got some holes to fill and he's got to roll the dice right in this draft. Last season, the team had a lot of picks hurt for most of the season. We'll see if those guys are better now that they are healthy and if can put a good class with that group, maybe you have something there.

Jerry Micco: OK folks, I need to run to do some other stuff. Awesome job today. Great chat. Thanks for taking the time to join me. DRAFT SPECIAL: I'll be doing live chats from Steelers HQ on Thursday and Friday nights along with Dan Gigler. Plus you never know what beat writers may drop in for a few questions. Dan will also do a solo chat on Saturday for rounds 4-7. So plenty of draft talk the next few days. I hope you'll all have time to stop by and join us. Again, thanks for taking the time, and I hope to see you the next couple of nights.

Steelers - mobilehome - pirates - pittsports


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