Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat
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ray
11:51
Welcome to my Steelers chat. We'll get started.
Tim
11:52
Since they didn't draft a TE, should we assume the Steelers believe Ladarius Green healthy and ready to go? They certainly didn't get enough production from that position last year....
ray
11:54
I thought they would draft a TE. Perhaps they had their eye on one or two and another team beat them to the punch. That happens every year. But the fact that they didn't take any TE probably speaks to the fact that they like their depth there. Even if Green can't stay healthy they proved last year they could win with Jesse James as a starter. And remember, JuJue Smith-Schuster is a big body WR who fits the mold of a possession receiver. In many ways, he can win over the middle like a TE would.
CTSTeeler1
11:54
In your opinion, who was the best pick the Steelers made this weekend?
ray
11:57
I'll say Smith-Schuster because I like the idea of giving Roethlisberger another weapon late in his career. He's a different kind of WR than what they have too. It's not that I don't like Watt. It's just that he only had one good season in college and he's a bit inexperienced at the position. We'll see about the Sutton pick. They needed help at CB and I don't know enough about him to say he can step in and start in the slot. Hopefully for the Steelers, he can because they need a strong cover man inside and another outside. A lot of national people are loving the Dobbs pick.
Scott in Amsterdam
11:57
What happened with Keenan Lewis over the weekend? Ed's tweet was oddly phrased on the subject...made it sound like the player himself was not interested in signing with the Steelers for some reason. Must be an interesting story there?
ray
11:58
All I know is he was at the facility and left without signing a contract. Anyways, it really doesn't matter now. They drafted two CBs and at least one of them will be on the 53-man roster.
Chiyinz
11:58
Ray, obviously the Steelers had a good read on Conner and a majority of the present team saw him go through his battle with cancer. What sort of impact do you think him being in the locker room will have on the team?
ray
11:59
I think he'll be great for the locker room. But it all comes down to whether he can help this team win and the Steelers were adamant that this was not a sentimental pick. They made that quite clear. Every single person who came into the media room mentioned that. And I think he can help on the field. He runs with authority. He can catch out of the backfield and Colbert said he was excited to see what kind of impact he can have on special teams -- covering kicks, etc.
Steve
12:00
Could Steeler have gotten an equally qualified LB in 2nd and taken a high CB before the "run" in the 1st? Watt was not seen as a sure #1 pick by many analysts..
ray
12:02
They had their eyes on a few CBs in the first round but the ones they wanted were taken before the Steelers picked, including LSU CB Tre-Davious White. I mocked the Steelers to him before the draft and I think they would have taken him if he was there. And obviously, they didn't feel strongly enough about any CB to trade up because they didn't. From the very beginning, the Steelers said this was a deep draft at CB and OLB and they went with the best player on their board at that point. I'm a little surprised they didn't go with a CB in Round 2, but again there was a run on CBs in that round and they didn't trade up.
Steve
12:02
Can you explain not taking a TE instead of a LS? Was the LS a guy that wouldn't have been around as a undrafted FA?
ray
12:04
People are still trying to figure that out. Colbert and Tomlin were asked after the draft if Greg Warren was OK and they both said yes. Colbert said LS Colin Holba was added to provide competition for Warren. I get the idea there is something wrong with Warren and we just don't know about it yet. Why would they sign him to another one-year contract then? They've gone year to year with him for most of his career and never used a pick to provide competition.
Steve
12:04
How would you grade the Steelers draft? How did it compare to your final "mock"..from a positional and talent perspective?
ray
12:07
I'd give the Steelers a B. They filled needs. My only criticism is not addressing CB earlier. But maybe Sutton is a sleeper and he'll be a great value pick. They need him to perform or they'll be second-guessed. As mentioned earlier I had them taking Tre'Davious White. In my final four-round mock draft I got two picks right though not in the round I predicted. I correctly predicted they would take James Conner and Josh Dobbs. I had them taking Conner in Round 4 and Dobbs in Round 3. It was the opposite. Getting 2 out of 5 right isn't bad.
Steve
12:07
If TJ's name is Smith & not Watt, is he still a #1 pick?
ray
12:08
Lots of people are asking that question. I guess we'll have to wait and see. The Steelers are banking on continued development and they love his demeanor and work ethic. He knows how to approach a career in the NFL because he has two brothers playing in the NFL. The Steelers think his athleticism and his approach will help him develop more. But he is inexperienced at the position.
Jared Thomas
12:09
Hey Ray! Question... with our pass D being ranked terribly for the last 5+ years, and this draft being so OLB deep, why not go with Obi Melinfonwu in the first round. We could put him in sub packages immediately and help our pass D, NOW!! Mike Mitchell can't cover. TJ Watt is good but we could've just grabbed Derek Rivers in the 2nd round! I'm frustrated bro... help ease my frustration with sound knowledge please. Lol. Thanks
ray
12:11
Well, Obi didn't get drafted until late in the second round so a lot of teams didn't have first-round grades on him. You never reach in the first round. You get the best player available on your board. And the pass D was terrible in 2014 and 2015, but they improved to be middle of the pack last season. Listen, I'm the writer who said immediately after the AFC title game that they needed to add a cover CB to compete with New England. I'm not sure if they did that. But the pass d did improve last season. It just has to get better. That's why the Sutton pick will be the pick everyone looks back on this draft. If he turns out to be good the Steelers will have filled a need. If not, we'll be singing the familiar refrain about this team needing better DBs.
Scott in Amsterdam
12:12
Assuming that the James Conner pick signals the end of Deangelo Williams? They usually keep at least 3 RBs on the roster right? I'd rather bring Deangelo back than keep Fitz Toussaint.
ray
12:12
You're forgetting about Knile Davis. If Bell, Conner and Davis are all healthy it's the end for Williams and Toussaint.
Jon
12:13
Ray, overall I was pretty happy with the first 2 days of draft but disappointed in some of the later picks. I didn't like the Dobbs pick in the 4th and LS was a ridiculous pick. Shouldn't they have continued to pick DB's or D to see if they can get better in secondary? Am I wrong for thinking this way?
ray
12:13
They drafted two CBs. Brian Allen is a big 6-3, 215-pound prospect. They got him in the fifth round.
Jon
12:13
Ray, which pick do you think will pay off and help the team in the shortest time frame?
ray
12:15
I'd say Smith-Schuster or Sutton. I think Watt can help as a situational pass rusher as a rookie, but James Harrison will be the starter. I can see Smith-Schuster helping though I'm not sure if it will be at the beginning of the season. If Sutton can play right away that'd be huge for them. They need a better slot CB.
Scott in Amsterdam
12:15
While his comments were in poor taste, do you think Martavis is right about Sammie Coates being on the chopping block? I figured him being a high draft pick with some proven potential would make him safe for at least one more year, but the addition of Justin Hunter and Juju makes for a pretty crowded WR room...
ray
12:17
Colbert said sorting out the WR situation will be "fun". If Bryant stays on the straight and narrow there is no need for Coates. So you'd have Antonio Brown and Bryant as starters with Eli Rogers in the slot and Smith-Schuster trying to carve out a role as possession receiver. That leaves DHB, Ayers, Coates and Hunter fighting for the fifth WR spot. Even if they keep six that's a crowded WR room.
Scott in Amsterdam
12:17
I was expecting the Steelers to take a middle linebacker in the 4th or 5th rounds....I guess this draft was not deep at the position?
ray
12:18
You are correct. There were a few good ILBs that got scooped up in the first two rounds, but this was not a deep draft for ILBs.
Scott in Amsterdam
12:18
Colbert didn't exactly give Vince Williams a ringing endorsement after the draft....do you think they are truly comfortable with the depth at the position? I'm not even sure who the top backup would be.
ray
12:20
I actually thought it was a nice endorsement. He's been saying things like that for a while now. But their actions say otherwise. They went after the top ILB in free agency and they brought in several of the top draft prospects for 30-visits to their facility. Williams is not your long-time starter alongside Shazier. He's a bridge player and a decent one at that. He's not a bad player. I just think he'll struggle in pass coverage.
Rich V C
12:20
Do you think that TJ Watt will have any impact on this years defense?
ray
12:21
Yes I do. I think they can use him as a pass rusher. That's why they drafted him. He won't sit the bench as a rookie.
Rich V C
12:21
Don't you think that the Steelers could have found a TE because of the uncertainties or at least bring competition to the position?
ray
12:21
Maybe they targeted a few and it just didn't work out the way the draft unfolded. But as I said earlier, they like their depth at the position.
Scott in Amsterdam
12:22
What do you think about the corners they drafted? Assuming they both can play in man coverage?
ray
12:22
Yes they're both guys who did well with man coverage in college. The knock on Sutton is he's too small and the knock on Allen is the inexperience. He wasn't even a starter at Utah to open last college season. He earned that job about a month into the season.
Rich V C
12:23
With the draft over and looking at what we got do you think we're any closer to beating the Patriots?
ray
12:23
Ask me in the fall. Let's see how these rookies play.
Tim from Tyrone
12:24
Hi Ray. I don't understand why the Steelers would draft a quarterback unless the organization thinks he will be Ben's replacement. If not it doesn't make sense. What do you think.
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