Ed Bouchette: OK, you're on the clock . . .
MPM: When the Steelers were on the clock, were you immediately sure that they would select Rashard Mendenhall, or did you still believe they would draft Kentwan Balmer or some other player?
Ed Bouchette: Everyone in the building knew when Mendenhall fell they'd snap him up.
James_Taipei: Do you think Dennis Dixon will get a chance to contribute this year? Is there really a chance that he will be used in a role like Kordell Stewart?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think you'll see him used the way Kordell Stewart was used. He could play QB for a play here or there. I think they had the luxury of taking someone now to prepare to become NO. 2 in the future.
James_Taipei: Which Steelers pick do you like best in terms of value? I don't mean who is going to be the best player but where do you think the Steelers made a good evaluation of talent.
Ed Bouchette: the RB was the best and the WR was next best. As one front office man told me today, they were "lucky" that both fell that far.
Suburban_Rhythm: Maybe it's because they were known names, but seems like on day 2 of the draft, some teams (Eagles come to mind) were getting guys who are really high potential guys, while the Steelers picked what I'd term really high RISK guys. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know what you mean by high risk, unless you are talking about the injuries to the tackle and QB. Otherwise, I like their third-round LB, the QB was a good choice and I think Munday will prove to be a good choice as a free safety.
James_Taipei: While I liked the Steelers draft who is going to protect Big Ben? Big Ben might turn out to be a costlly investment if he gets hurt due to the Steelers weak offensive line.
Ed Bouchette: It didn't matter who they drafted, that line would not have gotten any better this year because of it. Don't sell the kid they drafted in the fourth round at OT short.
hinestheman: Ed, How do you think Hines Ward (my boy) and FWP will react to the first and second Steelers picks of the 2008 NFL draft?
Ed Bouchette: I think Ward will react the same way he did when they drafted Holmes in the first round 2 years ago, he'll try to take him under his wing. FWP said before the draft that he would like to see them get a RB to help split the duties and extend his career.
Art_Vandelay: Hi Ed. Obviously it would have been nice to get more help on the OL and DL, but you really can't argue with Mendenhall and Sweed, can you? I'm thrilled that both guys fell to the Steelers.
Ed Bouchette: steals
40_time: Running back Rashard Mendenhall runs a 4.41 40 time. Wide reciever Limas Sweed runs a 4.5 40 time. I always thought using a figure like 40 time was silly but shouldn't a wide reciever be faster than a bruising back?
Ed Bouchette: Well, you can always try kicking the running back in the leg so he runs a 4.6, thus making the wide receiver faster.
Jim66: Hi Ed, Wow what a surprise this draft was! Any word on who the steelers signed with rookie FA's?
Ed Bouchette: It's on the way. They're dragging their feet. They signed the center from Marshall but I don't think there are any "local" kids on the list, which won't impress anyone.
bdenny29: Judging solely from a offensive skill position perspective, with Ben, FWP and Mendenhall, Ward, Holmes, Sweed and Miller, are the Steelers among the league's elite offenses?
Ed Bouchette: We'll find out. They look great on paper, but you have to perform to that level in order to be labeled one.
BadLieutenant: Well Ed, what did you think overall?
Ed Bouchette: As you may well know, I did not like a large portion of their draft last year, especially after the first two rounds. I love this one. Luck played some part in it but as I just said to Kevin Colbert, a lot of teams might have passed on the RB and WR to desperately try to find a defensive end or OT. They stuck with their board and got two great picks there. We'll know in 2-3 years but I think top to bottom it was a good draft.
Hines86: Did the Steelers select Dixon because Charley Batch has gotten to be too expensive as a backup? I hope that's not true becuae I believe he is worth every penny they pay him. With his reliablity and experience, he is surely among the very best backups in the league.
Ed Bouchette: They drafted Dixon because they ultimately will need to get a younger player at No. 2. Not this year. They have the luxury of patience with Dixon.
maconsteeler: Ed, hope you had a good weekend. I understand that the Steelers feel the draft fell the way it did regarding OL and they got real good value with some picks. I know our O Line was under a newO Line coach. But are they playing with fire going into this year not having addressed that need ?
Ed Bouchette: They used one of their top four picks on a tackle, so I think they addressed it.
hinestheman: Ed, do you think they'll convert Bruce Davis to OLB? Seems like it's really the only option. Many so called "edxperts" don't see him as a good fit DE in a 3-4
Ed Bouchette: That's why every story that's been written in Pittsburgh today says he's an outside linebacker.
lancebull: The Jaguars jumped in front of the Steelers in the 2nd round to draft Grooves do you think the Steelers would have taken Grooves over Sweed if jacksonville had no taken him?
Ed Bouchette: No, I was told they were not going to draft Grooves, so Jacksonville wasted a trade.
joe: How big a risk is there in selecting talented but injury-prone guys?
Ed Bouchette: I don't know that you'd call any of them "injury prone" if they had an injury in college. Hines Ward lost his ACL and he's been one of the iron men on the team. Their doctors have rendered their opinions on the injuries and the Steelers selected them, feeling the injuries either have healed or will heal and be no continuous problem for the player.
Tprod: Ed, Does Davenport have any tenure after this year. If Mendenhall demonstrates he can pass block, does that make Davenport superfluous?
Ed Bouchette: Najeh can run, block, play fullback, play special teams. He has some value, but the Steelers must decide if they keep him and his $1 million salary over a younger back this year.
Windber-Rambler: Ed, are they going to try to tell Meddenhall to start running with the football with both hands?
Ed Bouchette: He'll develop that -- you mean run with either hand, not both, right?
maconsteeler Do you believe that more players from this years draft will make the team than last years?
Ed Bouchette: Yes.
jgriffin: I would have picked owen schmidt in the 5th round. what do you think?
Ed Bouchette: That may have happened had they not gotten their RB on the first round.
dws: Tomlin said that Colon will play some guard, L.Z. said Colon would stay at tackle. Your take on where Colon will play in the fall?
Ed Bouchette: Mike said Colon will "practice" some at guard this spring. That's a little different.
Windber-Rambler: Smith-Kemo-Hartwig-Simmons- Colon/Starks - our O-Line in 2008? Does Mahan get cut?
Ed Bouchette: No, Mahan does not get cut. He'll be a valuable swing man who can play guard or center. That's pretty much the O-line, as you have it.
Redbeard1031 Compaire the Steelers draft with the other teams in the division
Ed Bouchette: The other 3 teams drafted? Cleveland virtually had no draft, Baltimore was yippy -- jumping down, then up, panicking to get a QB when they could have gotten him by staying still. Cincinnati was all over the map. Pittsburgh clearly won the AFC North draft this year.
Hines86 Will the Browns ever beat the Steelers again? Kinda sad. Perhaps the Steelers should just drop them from their schedule the way Penn State dropped Pitt?
Ed Bouchette: Don't get too cocky there, Steely McBeam.
DC_Diva While I have seen how the Oregon QB a difference-maker to his team, was it really worth using a pick for essentially the back-up role? What may have been the better pick there?
Ed Bouchette: What, you wanted them to overdraft a DE they would cut in August?
Stizzy: are you concerned about the steelers schedule next year? lots of tough games
Ed Bouchette: I'm concerned a little about the New England game, because it's played the weekend after Thanksgiving and they say that's the worst weekend to travel. Plus, we could get snow. Right now I'm concerned about the preseason game in Minnesota because you can't fly directly from Pittsburgh to Minnesota it seems without an 18-hour layover somewhere. I'm also concerned about the Dec. 21 game in Tennessee because it's the last weekend of shopping before Christmas.
Terrible_Trousers: Ed, Through another media outlet, I saw the comment that the Steeler OL may be better than last year with added experience and that choosing to blitz this team just became a very dangerous decision.....So, do you thinnk two more legit weapons will take that much pressure off of the OL?
Ed Bouchette: Or, it might be worse without Alan Faneca.
theWellHungarian: Ed, Big Ben's gotta be happy, eh? Hines, Sanantonio Holmes, Limas Sweed, Heath, and Speath ....
Ed Bouchette: Delirious, probably.
maconsteeler Will 10-6 again this next season be realistic with the harder schedule?
Ed Bouchette: I think they will be hard-pressed to reach 10-6. 8-8 could win the division.
Terrible_Trousers: Is Humpal a player, or is he mostly going to be a special teams guy, I know nothing about him?
Ed Bouchette: Sounds like a John Fiala type, a special teams player and backup at ILB
joe: So, if picks 1 and 2 live up to their expectations and our d-line stays healthy, can we make a run at the super bowl?
Ed Bouchette: Sure.
theWellHungarian: i thought Tom Zibikowski would have made a great Steeler & could have done something on the punt return ... oh well
Ed Bouchette: Can't get them all.
chowderhounds: Type here Ed - Have you heard any inside info you can tell us about why they went with the OT they did?
Ed Bouchette: Best OT on their board at that point.
bdenny29 So what do you think they will do, if anything, do address the DE depth issue? Maybe take a flyer on a June or training camp cut?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, I think they will have a handful of DEs when they announce their rookie free agent signigs today and you could see another team's cut winding up on their roster at some point.
Ro: How do you feel about Tony Hills and the Offensive line situation now after the draft? Are we a bit more solid? Is the "weapons" vs "protection" suggested by Tomiln a valid one?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, Mike Tomlin's answer was a good one. A good RB can help an OLine look better, as can better receivers.
Taz3: Any news on a long term contract for Max?
Ed Bouchette: I would be surprised if that happened. Guaranteeing him nearly $7 million in 2008 is going to make it awfully difficult to sign him to a long-term deal. What can you offer him? You'd have to start at least at $10 million for a signing bonus, which is only $3 million more than he'll make this year anyway. Why sign a 4-year deal with the Steelers when you can get $7 million now and then go into FA next year and make a ton more?
lancebull: Ed, couldn't find much info on the Steelers last pick Mundy out of WVU whats are they saying about him? Is he a going to be able to help the special teams?
Ed Bouchette: I just saw him at lunch. He's a tall, solidly built kid. He's smart. I think he was a good pick, perhaps a future starter at FS. Remember, Darren Perry was a late pick.
Taz3: Who are the undrafted rookie FAs the Steelers have picked up for camp?
Ed Bouchette: Stay tuned, we'll have them as soon as the team tells us who they are.
Windber-Rambler: Could Dixon possibl;y - possibly - be used as a KR?
Ed Bouchette: no
Steeler555: Ed, will we be lamenting how Ben doesn't have time to throw to his weapons and the RB's don't have holes to run through in November with no real improvement on the line or is Hartwig & Kemo enough?
Ed Bouchette: That's something we will have to see. I don't think it's crucial this year but in 2009, when 3 OTs can become FAs.
Big_Dawg: Hi Ed, Woodley, Timmons, and now Davis, sounds like "BLITZBURGH" will be much better! What do you think?
Ed Bouchette: That's the goal.
monkey: Hey Ed - why is everyone so concerned about the o-line? we did have the #1 rusher last year before he got hurt. i'm more concerned at depth at DL. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I agree, that there's more concern about DE depth.
mike-boca: any chance kendall simmons get to compete at center and move colon to RG?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think that's going to happen, especially after they signed another center in free agency, Hartwig.
Chi-Town_Steeler: Does the decision to move Timmons inside indicate that the Steelers have lost confidence in him?
Ed Bouchette: No, I think that was the plan all along, even though they said he was OLB when they drafted him. Utlimately, they'll need someone to replace Farrior and I think Timmons will be that linebacker.
Suburban_Rhythm: I know it's a long way off...but based on the draft, which veterans are in jeopardy? Ty Carter?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, Tyrone would be one. Najeh Davenport, perhaps. That's about it, though.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks to all. It's been fun. We'll have to do this again sometime. September, maybe?