Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat transcript: 5.5.14

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<b>Poll Question:</b> What was the most enlightening part of the Kevin Colbert/Mike Tomlin news conference?<p> <b>Answer #1:</b> The statement that the Steelers will not trade up (10%) <b>Answer #2:</b> Colbert saying trading down is a possibility (60%) <b>Answer #3:</b> Tomlin leaving the door open for Brett Keisel (30%)<p>

<b>mikeflores16:</b> Do you believe the Steelers will pick Fuller at 15?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> There has been a lot of buzz lately about Fuller. I have read some items from draft analysts that Fuller fits the Steelers scheme better than Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert. I will tell you that NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock has said for a few months now that Fuller is underrated. Until recently, he hasn't been mentioned in the middle of the first round. It was more late first round. I still think if Dennard is available that he is their guy, but if Dennard and Gilbert are off the board I could see the Steelers taking Fuller, especially if they feel like they can trade down and still get him.<p>

<b>mikeflores16:</b> Shouldn't they trade down, pick one of the top 4 corners with their first pick, get a WR in second, and then get another corner and a DE or OLB in the 3rd, assuming they pick one up in a trade down? That is my best case scenario<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Kevin Colbert came out and said today that trading up will not happen because the Steelers do not have a third-round pick, which is usually part of a draft-day deal. Trading down, however, is very much in play, he said. Colbert said he almost never trades down without knowing he'll get the player he wants, or a group of players. Before today, I thought it made sense. Now that Colbert broadcast it to the world I think it signals that the Steelers will be receptive to offers on draft day.<p>

<b>Miller:</b> In a deep draft, with teams like the 49ers (with six picks in the top 100) looking to move up, wouldn't it behoove the Steelers to not trade down and get another few picks, rather than stay with their normal M.O. and pick where they're slotted? I know it takes two to tango, but with many teams jockeying to get their guy in the early teens, I feel the Steelers need to be aggressive and looking for trade-down options.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Yes, I think they will explore trade options. But how far down will they want to go and still feel comfortable with getting the player or players they want? Colbert said today he would feel comfortable taking any one of 19 players at No. 15. I am assuming there are some quarterbacks that will go before No. 15 that are not on the list. So the Steelers might be willing to trade down into the mid-20s. But all the way down to No. 30 where the 49ers are? I don't know about that. I think the value in return would have to be very high.<p>

<b>mikeflores16:</b> Would you pick Lewan in the first if he were still there?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I would not. But I know there are some draft analysts that are projecting a tackle to the Steelers at No. 15. Colbert said today that if a great player is available he would not pass on him simply because of the fact that they've invested high picks in certain positions in recent years. The question was about OLBs but it applies to the OL as well. The Steelers have taken two OL in the first round in the past four years. I have a hard time seeing it take place again when there are so many other needs, but if that player is someone they view as a franchise left tackle then maybe they pull the trigger. I don't think it will happen but you never know.<p>

<b>Miller:</b> A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report polled 17 personnel men with "national responsibilities" to name their five top wide receivers. Kelvin Benjamin was tied for seventh with Cody Latimer and Paul Richardson and is reportedly almost 20 lbs. overweight. Combine all of that with his blowing off of a workout with NFL clubs saying he was too tired, doesn't seem like a "Steeler"-type of player to me, no?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I don't think Kelvin Benjamin is the pick at No. 15 but I would not discount him being taken if they trade down or in the second round if he falls. I have seen mock drafts where he is in the middle of the first round and others where he is not taken until late in the second.<p>

<b>Gary:</b> Have the coaches commented on Nick Williams and Arnfelt? Do they feel they'll take a step up to help the DL?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Tomlin mentioned both today when he was asked about the defensive line. He said Nick Williams is healthy and ready to take part in offseason activities. Williams tweeted last week that he was cleared for everything. He acknowledged they have depth issues on the D-line. Because he was not injured last year and was able to open some eyes I think Arnfelt is further ahead than Williams and has an edge. But I also know they liked Williams as a developmental player because they used a draft pick on him.<p>

<b>Luke:</b> If we go corner in round 1 like many predict, what do you feel the likelihood is that Kelvin Benjamin is there for us come round 2? We met with him at his pro day, coupled with our preference for a big receiver and his stock being down. Thoughts?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> If Benjamin is still there in the middle of the second round he'll be an option. But as I said earlier there are some people who are really high on him. Usually, when someone who has that much upside, they are taken before the middle of the second round because a coach without immediate needs believes they can afford to develop them and not rush them into playing time early.<p>

<b>David:</b> Realistically, in your opinion, what are the odds the Steelers trade down and what can they expect to get as compensation?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I think trading down is a real possibility. And what they get in return would depend on exactly where they're trading down to. If they trade down a few spots they would not get as much as if they traded down 10 spots.<p>

<b>Dick Hoak:</b> Now I'm seeing McShay has us selecting Eric Ebron. A TE at 15? That sounds high, especially for a TE who can't block according to Bill Polian. Is this a possibility?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I think the Steelers will draft a cornerback or receiver in the first round. The only scenario I see them taking Ebron is if the players they want are off the board and they cannot find a trading partner to trade down. I think they can make it work if they draft him. He can be that de facto tall WR until he learns how to block. Or maybe they just commit to using him as a flex WR. But I don't think the likelihood is high that Ebron is their guy.<p>

<b>Weegie Thompson:</b> What one WR do the Steelers covet the most either in the 1st or 2nd round? Moncrief?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> There are a lot of WRs they like in this draft. I think they desire a taller target for Ben, but there is a lot of value in some of these guys because it's such a good year for WRs. A guy might be available in the second round who has a first-round grade and the Steelers might want to take him because of that regardless of his size.<p>

<b>Go Steelers!:</b> Ray, since the league is pass driven now do you think we see a run on WR's and CB's in the first round?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I've seen some draft analysts say that as many as six WRs and four CBs would go in round one. That's roughly one-third of the players in the first round at two positions. It's a really deep draft for WRs and there is good depth at CB so I think GMs are well aware that those players can help and in many instances help right away as rookies.<p>

<b>mikeflores16:</b> Wouldn't be a chat if we didn't ask about Spence. Any news?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Tomlin said today he is healthy and working. He was asked a follow-up question about his knee and whether it was back to where it was before the injury and Tomlin said it's impossible to know that until they get him in pads and practicing and playing.<p>

<b>mikeflores16:</b> Also, any indication as to who Munchak likes for RT?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> No but Tomlin and COlbert were asked about Mike Adams today in light of the defendants in his stabbing case being found not guilty. Colbert offered this: "I'm glad Mike Adams is a Steeler."<br/><p>

<b>mikeflores16:</b> Do you believe the Steelers have to take a "tall" receiver? Wouldn't a playmaker like Beckham make more sense assuming Evans and Watkins are long gone?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I said I think they prefer a taller WR. But there are so many good WRs in this class that if one makes sense for them and there is value there, say in the second round, I think they would pull the trigger then. In other words, the only WR I see them taking at No. 15 is Mike Evans. I think they can get Kelvin Benjamin later and I think they can get any number of 5-11 or 6-foot WRs late in the first round or the second round.<p>

<b>Jeremy:</b> Do you think Casey Hampton gets in the HOF?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> No. He was great at playing his position, but it's not a position that gets a lot of acclaim. Aaron Smith was one of the best 3-4 defensive ends of his era and I don't think he'll get in either. In the Steelers defense, the defensive linemen don't have the stats or get the glory. The LBs get that, but they don't get it without suberb play from guys like Hampton and Smith.<p>

<b>Zack:</b> If your were the steelers gm and the guys you wanted at 15 are not there would you trade back to maybe later 20s and take wr Allen Robinson<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Yes, but Robinson has been moving up draft boards since running better times at his pro day, so the Steelers would have to move down to a place where they knew they could get him.<p>

<b>Trevor:</b> Is there any way in hell Mike Evans falls to 15? David DeCastro was seen as a can't miss, "best guard prospect in the last decade" type and he fell to us. What are the odds in your estimate?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I think there is a 99.9 percent chance Mike Evans is gone by No. 10. He ran too and tested too well at the combine to fall to No. 15.<p>

<b>Jud:</b> Where are you watching the draft from?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Right here at the Steelers facility on the South Side.<p>

<b>Jud:</b> Could Steelers draft top ILB or is that out of the question?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I don't think at No. 15 and I doubt anywhere in the first round but you never know. If they trade down and CJ Mosely is there, say, somewhere in the 20s, it could be a possibility. Not a high one but a possibility nonetheless.<p>

<b>Jud:</b> Doesn't it make sense to trust Steelers reporters opinion (1 focused opinion) versus National sydicated pundits (32 scatter shot opinions?)<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Read Ed's pick in Thursday's paper. He has a pretty good track record.<p>

<b>Ryan:</b> Don't you think the Steelers should give one of their tall receivers (Moye, Brown) a chance to get on the field and use their top few picks on more dire needs?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I don't think they're counting on those guys to be future starters. One was a late-round pick and the other was a free agent.<p>

<b>Zack:</b> If dennard is there at 15 and the steelers draft him would he start along side Allen and have Taylor as the 3rd cb or would he be the 3rd and take over next season<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> It would depend on how quickly he picked up the defense and how he performed in the preseason. I think the most likely scenario is having Taylor start the season as the starter and then have Dennard, or another CB, take over at some point in the middle of the season. But it all depends on the player. They won't play him unless he's ready. They're in the business of winning.<p>

<b>Ron from Iowa:</b> What was all the "We're glad Mike Adams is a Steeler" talk at the end of the press conference? I don't know too many that are "glad" he's a Steeler.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Maybe to give Adams a public vote of confidence after his name was dragged through the mud last week. Maybe, just maybe, the Steelers still think he's a viable option to be a contributor on the line.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> Any chance Ike Taylor gets a shot to play some Safety?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> They signed Mike Mitchell to be their starting free safety.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Not sure. I thought it was interesting today when Tomlin said he defensive linemen, now more than ever, have to be pass rushers because they have to be flexible enough to play in sub packages. So maybe we're moving away from the Casey Hampton types of noses and looking for guys who are versatile enough to stay in on third downs. I thought that was a pretty insightful comment. I'm not sure if McCullers fits that mold, but if he does he'd be an option.<p>

<b>Hal:</b> Do you think Daniel McCullers would be a good fit for us in the middle rounds? At 6'7, 350+ he'd be a huge nose tackle for the middle of our defense. Any links to him and Pitt?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Posted the answer before the question on that last one.<p>

<b>Richard:</b> Is Louis Nix to us at 15 now a non-possibility? I believe the great 3-4 defenses begins with the nose tackle<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> See the answer to the above question. I think the days of the old-fashioned nose tackle are coming to an end. For Louis Nix to be in play at No. 15 he'd have to be able to play in sub packages and his medical history is an issue. I think he'd be in play in the second round but not at No. 15.<p>

<b>Jake:</b> If the steelers draft a corner in the first, when is the soonest you see them drafting a second corner?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Depends if they trade down and accumulate picks. But I could see them taking another corner in the third or fourth, especially if they do make a trade and have multiple picks in those rounds.<p>

<b>pittglory247:</b> If the Steelers go corner in the first round, and by some chance justin gilbert, darqueze dennard, and kyle fuller are all available, who do the Steelers take?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I think Dennard, but there has been a lot of buzz around Fuller and the Steelers lately. By the way, it's an extreme long shot that all three are available when the Steelers pick.<p>

<b>Jud:</b> Isn't Spence a waste of time? He hasn't played meaningful football since 2011<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Tomlin has been on record from the beginning that he is going to give Spence every chance to make the team. It was such a horrific injury that he'd like to give the guy a chance to come back and prove he can play. I'm not sure what the odds are that he'll return to form, but Tomlin likes Spence and wants to give him the opportunity to prove himself.<p>

<b>mikeflores16:</b> Which of these position gets ignored this week: S, TE, OL.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Since they signed Mike Mitchell and the safety class is not deep I'm going to go with safety.<p>

<b>Ray:</b> Why is everyone down on Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt? Two years ago he was considered a lock for the top 10 and now he seems to have fallen a bit. I think he'd be a perfect starting 5 technique for us, maybe capable of starting right away.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> A defensive lineman starting right away for the Steelers? You haven't been paying attention, have you? It took their most recent first-round pick 2 1/2 years to get on the field as a starter.<p>

<b>Joey:</b> Why is everyone assuming DHB will be a non-factor. They guy is really fast, a former #1 pick, and is still young. No player can succeed in Oakland, he could be a steal!<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> He was in Indianapolis last year and didn't exactly set fire to the league.<p>

<b>Zio Guido:</b> I think Robinson/WR/PSU is flying under the radar and a real possibility for the Steelers in Rd 2 with a CB taken in round 1. Hearing anything about Robinson?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I'm hearing he could sneak into the first round, in which case the Steelers would not have a shot at him in round 2.<p>

<b>Jake:</b> Everyone on the PPG staff seems to be against them taking a tackle at #15, why? they have a rotating cast at tackle and having 3 total studs (decastro, pouncey, potential draft pick) on the line would be great<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Probably because there are so many other needs of higher importance such as WR and CB.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> What if Manziel is still available and the Cowboys want to move up to take him, do the Steelers make a deal?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Sure why not? But I think the Cowboys know the Steelers don't want him so I'm not sure there would be a reason to make a trade.<p>

<b>Zack:</b> If mike evens is still there at 10 what are the odds the steelers try trade up to get him<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Colbert said today the Steelers will not trade up because they don't have a third-round pick, which in most cases teams want in return.<p>

<b>Al:</b> If Anthony Barr is there at 15 is he a Steeler? I know they had him in for a private visit. His upside seems untapped, plus Worilds is not a guarantee beyond this season<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Barr has a ton of upside. I don't think he'll get past the Titans. Lou Spanos is the LB coach for the Titans and he coached Barr for the past few years when he was the defensive coordinator at UCLA. Lou, a former Steelers coach, would know him to use him.<p>

<b>JamesinNYC:</b> Do you think there will be 3+ QBs taken before the Steelers draft at 15? Do you think teams(Steelers) have moved their draft boards around as much as the draftniks have in the extra long gap?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> The QB thing in the first round is so hard to handicap. There are so many teams in the middle of the first round that don't need QBs that there could be a freefall for guys if they don't go in the top 10.<p>

<b>Renegade:</b> From Colbert/Tomlin statements today it seems that business is open for a trade down maybe 6 slots or more. Would that demand first round position swap plus at a minimum third round pick from trading partner?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Yes at minimum.<p>

<b>Guest:</b> I believe Steelers have to draft a DE this year. Any thoughts on Will Clarke out of WVU. Do you believe it is conceivable that the Steelers pick up DE as early in as in the third round where Clarke is projected For his Moncrief I safer pick there?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Clarke has been rising up draft boards. He'd be a candidate in the third round. He has length and he is strong. There is a lot of potential there.<p>

<b>pittglory247:</b> What kind of interest do the Steelers have in athletes like Dri Archer, and DeAnthony Thomas, in the later rounds?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Scat back is a possibility in the later rounds. Todd Haley likes to implement those players.<p>

<b>steelmann58:</b> Ray do you think Keisel will be signed backed after June 1 even if they draft a Rookie DE.<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> Tomlin said the door is not closed today when he was asked a question about Brett Keisel.<p>

<b>steelmann58:</b> Ray how are thinking the first two rounds will go i feeling CB and WR in round 2<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> I think CB in round 1 and WR in round 2 unless they trade down. If they trade down it brings a lot of other players at other positions into play.<p>

<b>steelmann58:</b> Ray what postion if any do you think the Steelers might Double Dip if any?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> WR and CB<p>

<b>Tyler:</b> At the end of the day, which player is most likely to be holding up a Steeler uniform on the podium Thursday night, in your opinion?<p>

<b>Ray Fittipaldo:</b> At this point, four days away, I'll say Darqueze Dennard. ... Thanks for the questions this week. Next week it's the first post-draft chat. See you then.


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