Gerry Dulac: All right everyone, lets get our chat started. Im at the NFL combine, so if I disappear from the chat for a while, don't fret -- I might have to go talk to Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins. And I'll be back.
Here we go.....
Zack: Wouldn't it be best if the Steelers traded down and get an extra 3 rounder...at least? Guys like Lee, Nix,and Benjamin would be there later.
Gerry Dulac: Well, that sounds nice, but if I'm the Steelers, because they don't often get to draft as high as 15, I stay right where I am. Look, a lot of top players are going to get pushed down in the draft because teams will reach and draft three or maybe even four QBs in the top 10 picks. None of those guys deserve to go that high, but they probably will anyway because of the desire by teams to unearth that franchise QB. So that will push several top guys to the Steelers. Hopefully that guy is Mike Evans, WR from Texas A&M.
Mike: people have talked about compensatory picks for wallace, lewis, and mundy, but what about mendenhall and legursky--they started practically the entire years for their respective teams?
Gerry Dulac: No, the high -- or higher -- compensatory picks will come from Wallace, Lewis and Mendenhall, not Ryan Mundy. But they will probably get one or two low comp picks for Mundy and Legursky.
Mike: while everyone is seemingly assuming that worilds will replace woodley, aren't people forgetting that worilds hasn't exactly been the most durable player, either, and the fact that he couldn't produce at ROLB should raise some flags as well, right?
Gerry Dulac: Perhaps, but he is still more durable and productive than Woodley has been since the middle of the 2011 season. In the past 2 1/2 season, Worilds has played in 36 games and had 16 1/2 sacks, with several multiple-sack games. Woodley has played in only 25 games in the past 2 1/2 years and has only 9 sacks in that time, with no -- ZERO -- muiltiple sack games. And he's going to count $14.8 million this season? You kidding me? Easy decision. Easy.
Mike: Did Cody Wallace and Velasco play their way into the steelers plans at least as solid back ups in the interior of the offensive line?
Gerry Dulac: Absolutely they did, Velasco more so than Wallace. If the Steelers can get Velasco to come back for another season, that would be a huge bonus for the offensive line and its depth. Because he is coming off thsatr Achilles injury, that could prevent another team from signing him in free agency and enhance the Steelers' ability to get him back for one more season. Wallace is not as good as Velasco, but he showed the coaches he can step in anhd play, if necessary, something they didn't know when they added him to the roster.
Guest: how much of a let's keep Ben happy" factor will be involved in the draft...in other words if their top WR is one the board as well as a higher rated defensive player...will they opt for the WR to keep Ben happy?
Gerry Dulac: None. The Steelers aren't interested in keeping Ben happy. They are interested in making him -- and their offense -- as good as he can be. They feel adding a tall WR will do thatr, so that's what they're looking at. But ti has absolutely nothing to do with keeping Ben happy. It has to do with making them better.
Guest: With word that the Cap will be raised more then expected, to 130mm, do you see them spending ore in FA or looking at resigning people?
Gerry Dulac: There's no question one or both of those scenarios are plausible. Rasing the cap by $7 million, if it indeed happens, would be the second largest cap increase ever, I believe. The Steelers were excited when it was originally raised $3 million this year. So that means they are more than doubly excited it wll be increased by $7 million. And I expect them to go find a starter or a big contributor on defense in free agency, something they haven't done since signing Ryan Clark.
John B.: Do you think Troy will retire as a Steeler?
Gerry Dulac: I do. And I think it will be after 2014 season.
Mark: are the steelers concerned with the fall off in Heath Miller's blocking or are they counting on the offseason for his knee to get stronger so he can resume his great blocking?
Gerry Dulac: Absolutely not. Rather, they are excited that he will be back to 100 percent and available for the entire season this year. That wasn't the case last year.
Mark: who plays FS in 2014: S. Thomas, R. Golden, or Delmas (formerly of Detroit)?
Gerry Dulac: Shamarko Thomas. They didn't trade a third-round pick for nothing.
Paul: Big Ben factor...if a higher rated defensive player is on the board as well as a lower rated yet big WR, will the nod go to the offensive to keep Ben happy..in light of his contract
Gerry Dulac: See earlier answer. Not interested in keeping Ben happy. They are interested in getting better. They think a tall WR will do that, but they're not going to reach if the giuy doesn't have a first-round grade.
Mike: are the steelers more likely to let e. sanders walk because of injury concerns. it appears as if his foot he injured his rookie season has never allowed him to fulfill his potential and his knee seems to be problematic as well
Gerry Dulac: They are likely to let him walk because they don't think he's worth the money some team will likely throw at him. It won't be tons, but it will still be more than they are willing to pay.
Chuck: Is Shamarko Thomas a FS or SS for the Steelers in the near future??
Gerry Dulac: Free.
Ken from New Kensington: Gerry, Because NFL offenses pass so much, ILBs must now be more than just run-stuffers. They have to cover backs, blitz, and stop the run. Given the increased importance of ILBs, why wouldn't a guy like Alabama's CJ Mosely make sense at the 15th pick?
Gerry Dulac: I'm not going to argue.
Nick: Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor, Dennard or Gilbert the best fit, in your opinion? Gerry Dulac: I like Pryor. But too early I think at 15.
Zack: How about we sign Paul Solaili from Miami to play NT? McClendon can play the old Hoke role and backup Solaili/play on passing downs and play some DE?
Gerry Dulac: I'm not going to argue with that logic either. They know they have to do something to fix nose tackle, whether it's with scheme or personnel.
Zack: To follow up on your point...if I can get an extra third and a guy like Benjamin, who may end up being better than a slow guy like Evans, I do it every day. Either Benjamin or Evans wouldn't start in yr 1 anyway.
Gerry Dulac: It just depends what kind of grades they have on those players. If they think there's a big dropoff from Evans to, say, Benjamin, then they're not going to use a No. 1 on Benjamin, Too early to determine what grade will eventually be placed on those guys.
Gerry Dulac: Sorry to cut the chat off and not go overtime, but have to go chase down the wide receivers you keep asking me about. See you next week.