Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin.
Wes: Jason LaCanfora is reporting the Steelers are likely to keep Woodley over Worilds. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I had that in my blog this morning. We write blogs daily, mine every morning of each of my workdays. You can find them here:
I heard what LaCanfora said and he gave it as opinion, not as fact. I would tend to agree that it is more likely that the Steelers won't be able to offer Worilds enough for him to sign before free agency starts March 11. Then, we'll find out how much other teams value him. If he can get much more money elsewhere, of course he will leave.
Now, that does not mean they will keep Woodley. It's a separate issue. Do you see the Cowboys may cut loose Ware because he costs so much and is always hurt, yet he still has been more productive than Woodley lately.
Tom: How genuine was the interest in Louis Delmas? Would the Steelers prefer to wait until after the draft to possibly sign him?
Ed Bouchette: They were kicking the tires. I don't think any offer was made. He has had a knee problem.
Chuck: What positions during FA might the Steelers go for in order to use the draft to fill other positions??
Ed Bouchette: I would think they might look at a safety, maybe a receiver and a halfback, but I would not look for them to pay any big money for them.
Guest: How relieved are the Steelers that the cap is predicted to be raised by more than expected? And should they still look to trim cap space and part ways with some vets?
Ed Bouchette: They still need a trim and cut. I can recommend a good hairdresser.
John B.: If we get a NT in the draft or free agency, do you think McClendon will be moved to DE or be a backup at NT? Also, do you think the resigning of Keisel or Hood will be a factor in that decision?
Ed Bouchette: I've felt all along that Steve McLendon could play defensive end and noted that Kimo von Oelhoffen played one season at NT for them before he moved to DE, after they drafted Casey Hampton. McLendon could do the same and if he did, I believe Ziggy Hood would not benefit from it.
Bart: If Steelers cut Ike will he be a Jene 1 casualty or sooner?
Ed Bouchette: Ike Taylor is in the final year of his contract, so there would be no need for them to wait until June 1 because there would be no benefit (if, indeed, they would release him). If they release him any time between now and the start of the season, they will save his $7 million salary under their cap. They also could ask him to take less.
Tom: If the Steelers do lose Worilds, do you think the Steelers should go after Ware and release Woodley then?
Ed Bouchette: No, I do not think they should go after Ware
Corinne: Do you fell the Steelers feel they made the wrong move in letting K. Lewis go last year?
Ed Bouchette: If they do not feel that way, something is wrong.
MACK: Is the reason we haven't drafted corners in the first round in over ten years because we get system guys and zone guys are found in later rounds?
Ed Bouchette: I believe it merely comes down to circumstance, that they had players rated more highly who played other positions when they drafted in the first round.
Chunkles: Ed, what do you think, if an NFL player is found guilty of a felony and or guilty of hitting a women, abusing a child, or vehicular manslaughter via a DUI, he is automatically dismissed from ever playing for an NFL team again?
Ed Bouchette: That's a toughie. A felony? What kind of felony? I do believe in rehabilitation. You commit the crime, you do the time, but then you should get a chance to earn a living, whether it's in the NFL or McDonald's.
Jonathan: Hey Ed, the steelers could go a number of different ways in this years draft. We could address the biggest need and go for a CB/FS in the first round, or we could draft a WR and allow the depth of the draft class to fill in at CB,FS,and NT. What do you feel is our best strategy?
Ed Bouchette: I've always felt that if you take the highest rated player on your board, you cannot go wrong, as long as you do that consistently, with certain exceptions (I would not draft a center or QB on the first round, for example). If it's a tackle, take him. If it's an OLB, take him. If it's a DE, take him.
Debbie: If the Steeler draft the best player available and Aaron Donald is available would they draft him for the 3-4 or pass.
Ed Bouchette: He's really not a 3-4 end, so I do not see them drafting him.
John B.: At best what can we expect from Spence? Do you think, if healthy, he's going to come in and be able to take Footes job or even Williams'?
Ed Bouchette: The only thing any of us have to go on with Sean Spence is his play at Miami and then in the preseason his rookie year of 2012. He looked good that summer, but it's not enough to say right now that even if he returns to full health he would be able to step in and start after missing two seasons of games and virtually all of the practices.
Clint: Try something that is not draft or free agent related: Of all the Steelers teams you have covered Ed, which one did you enjoy covering the most, the least?
Ed Bouchette: So many teams, so little time here. Among my favorites were some of the losers in the 1980s, especially in the 1987 strike season because there were just so many great stories back then. Naturally, the Super Bowl years, particularly the great run at the end of the 2005 season and into the playoffs. 1989, when they came back from 5-11 in 1988 and 0-2 start to nearly reach the AFC title game.
Alan: If we lose Worilds, might that impact our first or second round draft selection?
Ed Bouchette: It might. They are woefully thin at OLB unless they keep both Woodley and Worilds, so they'll have to find one or two somewhere.
PhilNJ: Is Evans there for the Steelers when their pick comes around? Aft
er watching his combine highlights, I an starting to think he will not be there.
Ed Bouchette: I missed all those highlights. Look, they draft at No. 15. Someone will be there at either WR or CB with some talent. Let's take the next 2 1/2 months to figure this all out before they draft.
Don: Ed, do you really believe that the DL is as top priority as most writers are saying for the Steelers? I feel S and CB should be top.
Ed Bouchette: I feel CB and safety are their biggest needs right now. But as I noted, LB is in the critical area as well. They need a good, defensive draft.
James: Do you think lawrence timmons can play as long as some of the great inside backers this past decade like lewis urlacher and farrior?These guys all had 15 year careers i think and played well into their 30s. Knocking on wood he has been very healthy ever since 2009 i dont think hes missed a start
Ed Bouchette: Lawrence Timmons played every down last year and I think suffered a little bit because of the erosion around him. He's very good and I think should have made a Pro Bowl or 2.
Steve: If they did move McLendon to DE, who's your starting NT next season?
Ed Bouchette: I only move him if they draft or sign a NT. Otherwise, he stays put.
Guest: Do you think the Steelers have tried to find too many diamonds in the rough lately, maybe reaching at positions at times? I know they always say they look for the best player available but they seemed to have missed on picks in the last few drafts
Ed Bouchette: Sometimes we look only at the Steelers' drafts. Others miss too. I'm not sure who you mean when you say they missed, and if they did, who did they pass up you would have preferred they take? Should, for example, they have drafted someone other than Cam Heyward on the first round in 2011? That was a popular topic before the 2013 season but now Heyward looks to be the real deal.
Don: Ed, have you heard any links to Josh Mauro in the later rounds with the Steelers?? He is a 3-4 LE. Thoughts??
Ed Bouchette: Yeah, I'm still working on those fourth-rounders and haven't gotten to the likes of Mauro yet.
Afrazier: Ed, do you think we will be able to rebound if we let ike, woodley, ziggy, kiesel go and then don't resign worilds?
Ed Bouchette: I think the defense will slip again in 2014 before it rebounds, even if they keep all of those players.
GENE M: Ed when can we expect the first steelers moves Cuts,extensions or restructres.
Ed Bouchette: I would think next week would be reasonable, especially for the releases.
Clint: The Steelers expect big things hopefully from Thomas at S, especially given they dealt their 3rd rounder for him. Were you able to see any signs last yr of the promise that is hoped for with him?
Ed Bouchette: I really did not except for a few flashes, but he did not have many chances and his teammates and coaches swear he will be a good one.
Eric H: Do you think the Steelers will draft a speedy rb if given the chance? If Dri Archer or De'Anthony Thomas is there in the 5th/6th, do you think they'll go for them?
Ed Bouchette: Todd Haley loves having one of those guys and I would suspect that somewhere they will find another for 2014.
Julian: If Steelers go D in the first two rounds, what's their recourse for a tall receiver? FA
Ed Bouchette: I wrote this in a blog this week, that they have had only one really successful tall wide receiver in the past 40 years, 6-5 Plaxico Burress, unless you count 6-2 John Stallworth as tall. Go check out that blog item because I list all of them and their heights.
In orther words, I am not sold on them needing a tall receiver. Plus, they have one in 6-5 Heath Miller.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for another great chat. You can ask me questions throughout the week and I answer a bunch of them in my daily blog. Send them to EBouchette@post-gazette.com.