Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon from the first OTA of the spring; let's begin.
Go Steelers!: Hi Ed, what big name vets aren't there?
Ed Bouchette: Just Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor.
mikeflores16: Is the key to these OTAs just to keep everyone healthy?
Ed Bouchette: It's more a learning process for everyone, a chance for Ben Roethlisberger to get in sync with some of his new receivers, etc. Yes, they'd like to keep everyone healthy but if that were the main goal, they would not practice at all.
DDC: Ed, what are the chances that EVERY 2014 draft pick make the team? It would seem to me that each one (barring injury) have a legit argument to making the team.
Ed Bouchette: Yes, but I would say the odds are long just because there are nine of them and even when they have 6 or 7, usually not all of them make it.
BDenny29: How much no-huddle do you think we'll see this year compared to last season?
Ed Bouchette: Can't tell you how much, but I would expect more because it was so successful in the second half of last season.
mikeflores16: Any chance they bring in Terry Hawthorne from last year's draft to see if he is finally healthy and can play?
Ed Bouchette: I have heard nothing along those lines.
Guest: Hey Ed, how is Wheaton looking? Is he at last 100%?
Ed Bouchette: He looked pretty good today, I thought, and seems to have recovered nicely from hand surgery.
mikeflores16: Does Jarvis look any bigger than last year?
Ed Bouchette: He's not bigger. He weighs the same, about 244, which is where they want him. He says he's worked on his strength and he feels he is stronger.
Josh: Hey Ed, did Tuitt run with the 1st team today?
Ed Bouchette: No.
Guest: ED, when OTAs and other team run events are not happening how much do the players work with other players on practicing the playbook? Like QB & WRs running routes, lineman running through blocking schemes, etc.
Ed Bouchette: They do to a certain extent before these official OTAs, but once these start they stick to the practices for the most part because there are 3 each week.
dave: Could McCullers start at NT this season, or is he more of a long-term project?
Ed Bouchette: I would not see him starting.
DDC: Any predictions on who will win the punting job? ST were medicore on all fronts.
Ed Bouchette: They signed Adam Podlesh as a free agent from the Bears and I believe he has a leg up on the competition, which is Brad Wing.
Zack B: What their plans for Adams? Will he get a chance to beat out Beechum or Gilbert?
Ed Bouchette: Mike Adams, I believe, will compete at right tackle vs. Marcus Gilbert. Kelvin Beachum is the starting LT.
Touchdown Joey: Did you get a chance to see the back-up QB group? Is Landry Jones finally showing he was worthy of that 4th round pick?
Ed Bouchette: They had a spring practice today without pads and no contact. Landry Jones will have plenty of time to show whether he has improved or not, but one such OTA won't be enough.
Zack B: Will we sign a third down back...or is Archer that guy?
Ed Bouchette: I think Le'Veon Bell is that guy. He caught more passes from the RB spot than anyone on the Steelers in a long time.
Frank: Just a point of Correction. Suisham was a pretty far from Mediocre last season..
Ed Bouchette: I don't know who said or wrote that but it surely wasn't me. He made 30 of his 32 field goal attempts.
DDC: Since the NFL season kicks off 100 days from today...How about an early prediction for the Steelers' record?
Ed Bouchette: How about waiting 100 days.
Miller: What will be different with the defense this season that will allow for possibly two rookie starters, if anything?
Ed Bouchette: They were old and slow and they blew out most of their starters from the past three years.
Guest: Is Shazier running with the 1's? Does he look comfortable there
Ed Bouchette: Yes, he was running with the first team. It is hard to tell if he was comfortable or not.
Brandon: Are you concerned with the OLB depth?
Ed Bouchette: I am not, but the Steelers should be.
Christopher_Walken_Dude_From_Cali: Is Plaxico still on the pre season ROSTER?
Ed Bouchette: No, he is an unrestricted free agent.
Subspace Interference: I understand that Gilbert and Beckham were higher on the draft board than Shazier. If so, why wait until the late rounds to pick up a WR and CB when it was clear these were positions of need?
Ed Bouchette: The Steelers had plenty of positions of need entering the draft, including OLB, which they ignored altogether.
mikeflores16: How long are these practices?
Ed Bouchette: They start at 10:25 and last until noon.
Christopher_Walken_Dude_From_Cali: Ed: Was your Gilbert mock a nice strategic smoke screen or did you really feel he'd fall to #15?
Ed Bouchette: I don't do smoke screens.
DDC: Ed, do you have a sense if the Steelers will bring in another corner to challenge for a top-4 job? I know they only drafted one CB in the 5th and signed two very uninspiring ones (from Jax and Houston, I believe)
Ed Bouchette: I don't see that happening.
Jeff: Jones at 244 is pretty light for OLB ....
Ed Bouchette: It is all about leverage.
Guest: how did spence look today?
Ed Bouchette: He looked OK. The test for him will come when he has to fight off blocks and plant that leg.
JamesinNYC: What was the rational behind not allowing someone like Landry Jones not participate with rookies? Not saying it should be manditory but only one hurt was him.
Ed Bouchette: Those are the NFL rules that teams must live by. They want that first rookie camp to be pretty much made up of rookies.
Binnzer: Who do you think will be opposite Ike Taylor in the other CB spot when the games start?
Ed Bouchette: Unless he gets hurt, it will be Cortez Allen.
Spirit Sniper: Ed, I respect the Steelers working to field the most competitive team possible during this rebuilding phase. Many teams in similar situations would throw in the towel for a season or two and be rewarded with higher draft picks. Why shouldn't Kiesel and James Harrison, affordable, experienced vets who could make the team better, figure into this year's plan?
Ed Bouchette: First, you assume they would make them better because you think they would play at a high level. At their age, there is not guarantee. I would take a look at Harrison to see what kind of shape he is in, especially with their thin situation at OLB. They don't seem to have much interest, though. I only see BK coming back if they run into DE injuries, if he is available and if he is interested at that point.
dave: Do you see them making any significant roster moves after June 1, other than signing the remaining draft picks?
Ed Bouchette: There always is that chance, that unexpected cut by another team that might work for the Steelers. However, I would say nothing significant.
Jud: Was this a draft more of best player available in your opinion?
Ed Bouchette: I think it was a combo of need and highest rated.
Craig Ironhead: Do you see Hines Ward as a first ballot hall of famer? Or will we be waiting a while to see him enshrined in Canton?
Ed Bouchette: I thought Jerome Bettis would be and I was so obviously wrong. I'm not going to even speculate on Hines Ward.
dave: Will Shazier have to get bigger to play ILB?
Ed Bouchette: He could use a few more pounds, but he will play there regardless of his weight.
Miller: What kinds of things can observers glean most from OTAs/padless practices? Scheme comprehension? Technique? Speed?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure which observers you are talking about. The experts -- scouts, coaches -- can glean all of that. The rest of us are really just along for the ride.
mikeflores16: Who was the better receiver at Oregon St, Cooks or Wheaton?
Ed Bouchette: I never saw either of them play in college but Cooks was drafted a lot higher.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for another great chat. We'll do this again next Tuesday.