Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham missed all of last season due to injury.
Gerry Dulac: Good morning. We're going to start our chat in approximately 30 min so get those questions ready.
Gerry Dulac: OK let’s get our chat started...
TShip: Hi Gerry, I watched the combine off and on and really paid attention to the DBs. I commented last week about William Jackson from Houston, and after watching him that would be my 1st round pick for the Steelrs if he's available, and I getting carried away?
Gerry Dulac: I'm not saying he will be their first pick but he wouldn't be a bad one. Jackson has decent size (6-0, 190) and ran a 4.37 at the combine, sixth fastest among all player. He does well in press coverage. His speed probably moved him from the second to first round in the draft.
kjacksonpgh: Gerry, do you believe that Burfict and Jones are 2 of the most undisciplined and out of control players in recent history? Also the most hated now by Steeler fans?
Gerry Dulac: You are being kind with the adjectives. I can think of others that are more appropriate.
Steve: Seems like in past few drafts Steelers pick the best athlete available ..if the very top CBs or S's are gone (again) by 25 do you think they may take the "best" athlete regardless of position?
Gerry Dulac: You are correct to some degree. If none of the CBs and safeties whom they have a first-grade on are available, they will go to the next highest grade at a position of need, say, TE or DLine. Now, one thing I've learned with them -- they do not pass up a skill player with a high grade if one of their other need players is not available. But I think their focus this year is the back end of the defense and there should be enough players with first-round grades to appease them.
Guest: I understand why the Steelers didn't use/need free agency around 2008. They brought back proven players, their team returned all 22 starters one year, and their back-ups were starter quality. Do you really think they are good enough talent wise across the board AND deep enough to pretend they can continue this trend? Where would we have been without Mitchell and DeAngelo last year?
Gerry Dulac: No I don't think they intend to do what they did around 2008. I think they intend to sign a free agent to improve their secondary. I think you will see them pursue a CB almost immediately.
kjacksonpgh: Hi Gerry, with the combine now over is there anyone who stood out that you believe the Steelers should select at their 25th draft position?
Gerry Dulac: The two corners who stood out who could be in their range are Eli Apple of Ohio State and William Jackson III of Houston. I think Apple is the better of the two. He has size and speed and is only 20.
me: Do you think they'll be able to re-sign Foster? If not, is there someone one the roster now who could replace him?
Gerry Dulac: I do not think they will re-sign Foster. He will become a free agent and someone will make him a nice offer as a consistent, durable starter on a playoff team. And the Steelers will not match that type of offer. Who will replace him? We shall see. But I think you will see them draft a guard or sign one in free agency.
Tom: If the Steelers do pick a CB in rd 1, how much time will Steelers fans give him before labeling him a bust? How likely will a rookie turn into a shutdown corner before 3 years?
Gerry Dulac: I don't think anybody is viewing any corner they take as a shutdown corner. I think they will be content to get a corner who is worthy of being a starter.
Jake from State Farm: Gerry, what about tearing up c. allen's deal, and then keeping him around on an incentive based deal, because if he can get through his "problems" perhaps he can become what they thought he was. something to justify all that money were giving him haha
Gerry Dulac: I don't see how they can justify keeping Allen after he was benched for poor play each of the past two seasons, especially at his price tag ($5.75 million cap hit in 2016). Even if you restructured his deal, why would you pay him more up-front money after his past two seasons?
Guest: Since we know it won't be a corner in rd 1, what is your sleeper position you think they will end up with?
Gerry Dulac: Let me sleep on it....
My Card says Ace of Spades: There are a ton of high prospect D-lineman projected in the first round? That is a position the Steelers are very thin at but not likely to take high. Is there depth in the draft or all they all high end prospects?
Gerry Dulac: No, I think they can get a DL on second round, maybe even third, who can help. I like the kid from Illinois, Jihad Ward, in that spot. But you might also see a TE in the second or third round.
Tom: Knock on Jackson and Apple seems to be they can cover a guy but don't make the play on the ball. Isn't that exactly what we have in Cortez Allen and Blake, great coverage but allow the catch?
Gerry Dulac: I wouldn't compare either of those players to Apple, especially Blake. Hey, the truly elite impact players come early in the draft, like the top 4 or 5 picks. Not at 25.
My Card says Ace of Spades: Wouldn't signing a starting TE or CB in free agency really open up what the Steelers could do in the first round of the draft?
Gerry Dulac: To some degree, yes. It would ease the urgency, but not the need.
Guest: Do the Steelers have more holes than Draft picks this year?
Gerry Dulac: No.
TK: Do you see Coates replacing DHB this season?
Gerry Dulac: It depends how Coates comes back for year two. But the Steelers like the role DHB plays, especially as a blocker.
Jake from State Farm: So you don't think that they will resign Foster; Do you think they coukd afford to loose Beachum and Foster? (And yes im a pretty big Villanueva fan)
Gerry Dulac: No I don't. It's the same deal with Beachum. It depends on what type of offer he gets in free agency. The Steelers would like him back but I don't believe they are going to chase him with big money. But I also don't think they are convinced Al V is their left tackle of the future.
The Card says Happy Birthday: St. Louis surprised many and tagged Trumaine over Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins now wants out...good fit in Pittsburgh?
Gerry Dulac: He's better than what they got, for sure
NaplesDave: Good morning GD, is the Dan McCullers project over? I hoped he could be a large D-line presence & occupy a couple O-linemen so the D ends could rush passer. Thoughts? PS 82 here in Fla
Gerry Dulac: Thanx for that rub Dave. No, it's not over, but it has one more year to go. I don't think they're building any schemes around him; they're just trying to maximize what he brings with size and the ability to collapse the pocket all by himself.
Guest: I really think this is the year the Steelers make a big signing or TWO in FA. Delusions or real possibility?
Gerry Dulac: You might have to define big, because they never sign big. Just solid to good.
Steve: Hi Gerry, who do you anticipate from Steelers will be released before the 9th to avoid cap hits & salary requirements? (I say the 9th based on Manning's $19M deadline )...
Gerry Dulac: Cortez Allen is the only player who could be released for that reason, but not that reason alone. His poor play, PLUS his cap hit, would be the reason.
dave: Will they try to trade Suisham before the draft, or do they want a competition in camp?
Gerry Dulac: They indicate a competition at camp is the likelihood, which I think is stupid. I like Shaun Suisham a great deal, as much as anyone on the team. Good dude, great kicker, most accurate in the NFL the previous three seasons. But he will count $3.5 million this season. Chris Boswell will count like $575K. Suisham is 34, Boswell will be 25 in two weeks. And he made 36 of 39 FGs last season, including 7 of 7 in the postseason. It's a business and, to me, a no-brainer. So, yes, I try to trade him. Or, give him a early chance to catch on with another tea by releasing him. He deserves that.
Guest: Why don't our beat writers have any inside scoops on who the Steelers my be talking to in Free Agency? When is the last time they broke a story (didn't even had a hint that Miller was retiring when he said he decided months ago)?
Gerry Dulac: No-good lazy bums. I'll have a talking-to with them.....
Guest: NFL.com had an article and had Foster listed as 60th best free agent, about the 4 or 5th guard. Steelers should be able to match that type of contract right?
Gerry Dulac: There's always someone who will overpay...
Renegade: Is FA SS Weddle acquisition a realistic possibility, in your opinion?
Gerry Dulac: I don't know if it's realistic, but it's not far-fetched. Tomlin seems to really fawn all over him when he talks about him
Guest: Gerry, heard you say on radio that you can tell who are Steeler-type prospects and who aren't. Any players you noticed at the combine this year that strike you that way?
Gerry Dulac: I'm not saying I'm prescient, but you just get a sense..so, yes, Eli Apple. He passes my eye and ear test as a Steelers CB
Latrobe guy: Hi Gerry, what's more important for the Steelers, sign a FA safety to play now with Mitchell and draft a CB, or sign a FA corner and draft a safety?
Gerry Dulac: CB is more important than safety right now
Gerry Dulac: OK, kids, that's all the time we have today. Thanx for the good questions. See you next week
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