Ed Bouchette: Has it been a week already since our last chat? Flies time. Let's begin.
kjacksonpgh: Hi ED, with a real need for a corner that fits our scheme it seems that Justin Gilbert, and Darqueze Dennard, fit better as press corners than zone. Would they really make sense at Round 1 : 15?
Ed Bouchette: I think either would look good in a Steelers uniform, yes at 15. But it's a month today before the draft and as I delve into this thing a little more, that opinion could change. Call it pre-mock 1.0
Spirit Sniper: Ed, you get a lot of questions about the Steelers potentially trading up or down in the draft. It seems to me that in order to do this successfully, the FO needs to have a very good idea of which players the other teams are likely to select. My question is do the Steelers staff expend a lot of effort into trying to figure out what the other teams will do with their first and second round picks, or do they rely on the mock draft experts out there?
Ed Bouchette: They used to do a ton of mock drafts but, the last I heard, they no longer do that. But, yes, they still try to figure what the other teams are going to do.
I've written several times that I believe it highly unlikely they would move up in the first round because they do not have a third-round pick to trade. You cannot trade comp picks and they traded their third-round pick to Cleveland last year.
Alan: In your opinion where does Arthur Moats get the most playing time inside or outside
Ed Bouchette: I don't know what Al Woods was thinking, but he did not give the Steelers a chance to match.
Kowabunga: Hey Ed, would the Steelers actually consider drafting Calvin Pryor round 1 or even round 2 if he fell? I don't understand why bring him in for a visit when we have just signed mitchell
Ed Bouchette: I would be surprised to see them draft a safety in the first round, or even the second. I know Pryor paid them a visit this week but sometimes that's just to get more information in their bank, for future reference.
Teeroy_b: Given the Steelers more active in free agency this offseason, do you feel they are currently a better team than they were at season's end?
Ed Bouchette: I think it's been nearly a wash. They lost two of their top three receivers and LaMarr Woodley. Their defensive line is thinner. They are stronger at RB and at safety.
Abbie Normal: Hi Ed. The Steelers have picked up a couple of players in recent days (Heyward-Bey and McCain) who arguably will have to compete for roster spots. Can we read anything into the fact that the Steelers have not signed Harrison or Kiesel, two vets who are likely to make the squad and start, and who won't eat up a lot of cap space? Are the Steelers not interested or are they willing to take a chance that those guys will still be around if and when there is a need?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure they will sign either, or even want to. There was a mutual interest between Harrison and the Steelers, but they won't do anything until after the draft with either. If then.
Eric Brown: I think the real question is what to do if we get to pick 15 and somehow Denard, Gilbert and Evans are off the board. What are our most viable options then? Trade down or who do you see us targeting in that range with those 3 off the board?
Ed Bouchette: If they do not come up with any more defensive ends between now and June 2 and Brett Keisel is willing to play for virtually minimum, I think there's a chance. Lot of golf to be played before that, though.
Chunkles: Ed, do performance clauses in contracts count against the teams salary cap? For instance, they signed Blount and if he gets X amount of touchdowns he gets an additional 100 thousand dollars. [Not a fact, just an example]
Ed Bouchette: Without getting too deep into it and having everyone's head spin (mine included), there are two categories that are used for cap purposes when there is a performance clause in a contract -- Likely to be earned (LTBE) and Not likely to be earned (NLTBE).
The LTBE counts right away against the cap. If it is not earned, the amount is taken off the cap the following year. Convnersely, the NLTBE does not count right away against the cap, but if it is earned, the amount earned would count against the cap the following yer.
Zbluez1: With D-Line depth being so thin Ed, do you see have draft pick in the 4-6 Rd. range you'd like to see the Steelers pick?
Ed Bouchette: I'm still struggling with round one.
Teeroy_b: If there's a player that one person wants, say the head coach, but another, say the GM, is not that high on, who gets the final say?
Ed Bouchette: Six guns at high noon.
They usually work those things out long before the actual draft. Art Rooney II has the authority to break all ties.
Clint: The AFC North has seen a lot of subtractions from its leaders, and not a lot of additions (Steve Smith) It doesn't seem like it would take much for the Steelers to push back to the top if they draft right and stay healthy, Agree or disagree?
Ed Bouchette: I agree, but you can say that about three of the four teams in the AFC North right now -- draft right and stay healthy, with an emphasis on the latter because rookies don't often help much in the first year, especially in Pittsburgh.
Len from NC: Ed, the league is testing a 20-yard PAT in the first two preseason games to encourage more 2-point tries. Are the Steelers coaches going to ignore this and just kick, or do the math to figure out whether they're better off going for 2? It's preseason.
Ed Bouchette: I have not discussed that with any of the coaches. Personally, I think it's a stupid rule. What I would like to see is for them to put obstacles between the uprights instead, like a working windmill in which timing as well as accuracy would come into play. If they could make the goalposts out of elephant trunks, so much the better.
Eric Lovell: I've gotten the vibe you are not too high on the Steelers turning things around this year. I think as a Steelers fan that in years past rookies haen't mattered much because we never asked much of them. Seeing us make this transition, what positions do you see us drafting and them playing and making an immediate impact?
Ed Bouchette: There is room to make an immediate contribution at wide receiver, I would think. Also, if the right cornerback is drafted, he could move right in. Or a defensive lineman.
Tony Balogna: Great chat Ed, question about Jarvis - by moving him to his more natural ILB position, does that allow us to maximize our depth and bring in some much needed LB talent?
Ed Bouchette: He played OLB in college, was drafted as an OLB in the first round by the Steelers. Why would ILB be his natural position?
Fan in Florida: Did something happen with Keisel and the FO at the end of last year? Why not bring him back for one more year or was it just salary based?
Ed Bouchette: They still might. BK's agent said he won't play for minimum wage. That's probably about the money where the Steelers would like to have him back. So far, nearly a month into FA, there has been little interest in him elsewhere, as far as I know.
Kowabunga: In reference to my allen robinson comment, he just ran a 4.5 at his pro day with a 42 inch vert
Ed Bouchette: That workout is being well attended by the Steelers.
The Professor: I was thrilled to see that the Steelers elected not to restructure Timmons. Pushing gauranteed money into the future on average players is how they got in this cap mess in the first place. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I think Timmons is above average but I hear you.
Clint: Do you think Troy has more gas in his football tank after this upcoming season, and do the Steelers believe he does?
Ed Bouchette: Let's see what the upcoming season brings first. He was healthy all last season, and that was a start.
Francis: Louis Nix or Ebron, if you had to make the call which would you choose at 15?
Ed Bouchette: Neither.
Guest: Thats the problem with Pittsburgh defense. They draft for defense than they sit for a year or the defense is too diffcult to figure out. When will LeBeau retire so the Steelers can draft players on the defense that will actually play and have an impact?
Ed Bouchette: Perhaps the young players/rookies could not crack the lineup because the talent on defense was so good. It happened in the '70s too.
Alfred: out of the recent FA signings, can you speculate as to which will not make the team? I can't see DHB cracking the roster at this point...
Ed Bouchette: Darrius Heyward-Bey could be pushed out depending on who they draft.
Teeroy_b: Any more talk of extensions for Pouncey or Roethlisberger? Or are they going to let them play out things this year and worry about that after this coming season?
Ed Bouchette: I've heard nothing yet. But I will tell you that I ran into Maurkice Pouncey today and he said his knee is great. He's rehabbing and working out all offseason in Pittsburgh, rather than his normal routine in Miami.
Pedro: Ed, true or false: Jarvis Jones will have 10 or more sacks in 2014
Ed Bouchette: That's a big number, but one that right outside linebackers in the Steelers defense have often achieved.
Wild Bill: Do we really want rookies to play in their first years? These guys are made out to be all-pro's pre draft but most never pan out let alone be difference makers right?
Ed Bouchette: I would not throw a blanket over all rookies. Casey Hampton did OK as a rookie. And, uh, umm, errr . . .
AustinTxSteelerFan: The problem with DHB was where he was drafted and his salary. Last year, his hands seemed to have taken a turn for the worse. However, who scares you more: DHB, Derek Moye, or Justin Brown?
Ed Bouchette: There is Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore. Add a rookie to that list. There is room for five.
SteelerNY: Hi Ed. I don't recall what the Steelers received/ended up with as a result of the trade of the 3rd round pick to Cleveland last year.?.?
Ed Bouchette: Shamarko Thomas
AustinTxSteelerFan: Ben as a rookie, Shamarko did okay last year. Pouncey, Leveon Bell, Vince Williams, Kendrell Bell, uh, umm, errr... lots of rookies contribute their first year...
Ed Bouchette: We were talking about defensive rookies. Shamarko, in my opinion, did not do OK and was bypassed by Will Allen. Vince Williams was thrown into the mix because of injuries and did OK. Kendrell Bell is going as far back as Casey Hampton and was a shooting star.
Pedro: Ed, any chance the Steelers take an offensive tackle early in the draft? It is a crucial position in which they still lack talent.
Ed Bouchette: I would be surprised because they have plenty of young talent and high draft picks at the position.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for another great chat. See you next Tuesday