Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's chat
JohnK: Hey Ed. How many 2nd rounders do the Steelers have in the Hall of Fame?
Ed Bouchette: Ham, Lambert, Dawson
Moose: If we draft a WR high, is there any chance that we trade MB to get maybe a 4th round in this draft? I would like to get something for him while we can, he is only one puff away....
Ed Bouchette: They are not trading Martavis Bryant
Mike : Hey Ed, do you have any idea why so many national mock drafts have the Steelers taking a corner, when either or both of Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch are still on the board? Do these draftniks have inside info, or are they clueless?
Ed Bouchette: I would take one of the inside linebackers for sure.
Suspicious Bulge: I have seen Vita Vea mocked anywhere from 15-32. If all ILBs are gone, would the Steelers have interest in him in Rd 1?
Ed Bouchette: I have never seen him last that long, but where would you play him?
fritobandito: Hey Ed why is OLB not spoken about as much as safety if no ILB are left as a first round pick?
Ed Bouchette: I have said and written that they need OLB. Very thin there. However, not sure an OLB worthy of first-round pick at 28
Talldrinkofwater: Greetings Ed, it's hard to argue with the success the Steelers have achieved and they did win 13 games last year, however; it seems like they could have been a better team with greater focus (on & off the field) and communication. Do you feel the same?
Ed Bouchette: They should have been 14-2 because they had one stolen vs. New England. That would have given them top seed. So I don't know how much better they could have been other than, you know, not losing the playoff game to jacksonville
Ben Herholdt: could a RB in rounds 2 or 3, like Nick Chubb, be a viable option as a contingency plan on case of a Bell holdout as well as a solid backup for him?
Ed Bouchette: If they were concerned about Bell holding out, they should never have given him the franchise tag. Why draft one now when you committed to Bell? No, I don't see it.
Linebacker Lounge - 3Rivers, MI: Hi Ed, if they can find a dancing partner, do you foresee the Steelers trading down at some point to pick up another pick/player? Thanks
Ed Bouchette: They could move a spot or two, I supposed, but they don't want to get out of the first round because then you only have your first pick under contract for four years with no fifth option.
JJ: How close is the Steeler D from being elite. Or are they not close?
Ed Bouchette: Elite is a strong word. I think of elite, I think of '70s Steelers and mid-90s Steelers and mid 00s Steelers. They are not close to that. You can refer back to Jacksonville playoff as to why
Linebacker Lounge - 3Rivers, MI: Hi Ed... Biggest surprise trade day move/pick in your time covering the team..good or bad? Thanks
Ed Bouchette: Jerome Bettis trade in 1996. Not good or bad. Great!
Linebacker Lounge - 3Rivers, MI: Hi Ed, Names of couple of the lowest draft picks, that came in and had an impact their first season?.. Since you have covered the team? (Darren Perry?) Thanks
Ed Bouchette: How about one, Kris Brown, kicker 1999
Steve: What's your thought if the ILB's were gone and Guice and Reid were available or a good OT
Ed Bouchette: Reid
PK: There are some positions I can’t see the Steelers drafting in the first round this year: QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL. I have my doubts about OLB too. Do you agree?
Ed Bouchette: A guard would not surprise me.
Ed Bouchette: Or a tackle for that matter
JerseySteel: Hi Ed - I liked your pick of Jaire Alexander in the national mock draft with the ILBs off the board. If the Steelers follow your lead, how would LB Darius Leonard fit with the Steelers in round 2?
Ed Bouchette: If he would last to them in round 2, they'd have to draft him
Cburg Stiller: If you were picking between Evans and Vander Esch, who would be your choice and what abilities/qualities would sway you to that player?
Ed Bouchette: Vander Esch is bigger and faster, so I'd take him
Doug: Hi Ed - what's the thinking behind exercising Dupree's fifth year option? It is guaranteed only for injury so another down year the Steelers can back out of that. Am I correct with that statement?
Ed Bouchette: You are correct, although kevin Colbert is on record saying they would not do that. So, if he stinks out the joint this year, they will still pay him $9.3 M next year? I don't think so.
Doug: Hey Ed - draft right around the corner, which prospect are you hoping the Steelers realistically can land?
Ed Bouchette: I think Vander Esch would be a good choice for them. It is touch and go whether he will be available. If they really want him, they may have to trade up a few spots
Steeler Fan In Cincy: Ed, do you agree with the 5 year option on Dupree?
Ed Bouchette: I wrote several weeks ago they should do it, but I also wrote they could pull it if he plays poorly in 2018
Steeler Fan In Cincy: Ed, though the draft hasn't happened and OTA's and camp hasn't happened yet, are the Steelers still the favorite to win the division?
Ed Bouchette: All the oddsmakers have them that, yes
Steelknight: Ed thanks for the great answers. I thought I read somewhere that Phins cut Mike Pouncy, if that is true why wouldn't they take a look at him to pair with his brother? He might make a strong replacement at LG.
Ed Bouchette: Mike has had some injury issues. He also has signed with the Chargers
Steeler Fan In Cincy: Have you had an opinion on the new defensive coaches Bradley and Dunbar? Have you seen them at OTA's?
Ed Bouchette: Have seen neither yet. Sound like good hires. OTAs don't start until second half of May
Bud from Tampa: I was hoping we'd pick up Dupree's option year but doesn't 9 mil seem a bit steep?
Ed Bouchette: That's the price of admission
Wayne: Why don't the Steelers try to move up in round 1 so that they can draft a top quality linebacker or defensive back, like they did to get Troy Polamalu?
Ed Bouchette: perhaps they will do just that
The Standard: Hi, Ed, Any indication that the Steelers are worried enough about the Boise State ILB's "medical condition" that they would not pick him in the first round if available?
Ed Bouchette: They are not concerned about it
Mark from Sauquoit N.Y. : Hi Ed, Its looks like L Bell will end up repeating last year's waiting game. Should the Steelers draft a RB? Don't know J Connor future health.
Ed Bouchette: Look, they bought into Bell this year, hook, line and stinker. They had to know if they did not get him to sign a long-term deal, he would not report until the regular season. I wrote all about this awhile ago. No, they should not draft a RB in the first round based on Bell's stance. Now, drafting one later is a possibility
Panther MBA: Ed: Will you be glad when all of the draft speculation is over?
Ed Bouchette: I love the draft, including the few week or so leading up to it. The rest of it, you can have.
Mark from Sauquoit N.Y. : Hi Ed, Is Mr Colbert , Mr Tomlin and scouts are zoning in on next batch of College QB's for 2019? Never too early!
Ed Bouchette: Oh, my, it is too early to zone in on the 2019 draft
Alan: Could you see the Steelers going DL if the top ILBs are gone? Steelers need to get much better against the run.
Ed Bouchette: I don't see it in the first round. Again, are you playing him over Tuitt and Heyward? And if you get a nose tackle, he'll play 20 percent of the time.
Flipsteeler: Depending on the draft and if we pick up a free agent, what current starter could be in trouble for his starting role?
Ed Bouchette: The ILB next to Vince Williams. Bud Dupree. Artie Burns.
Flipsteeler: When negotiations with Bell start again, do you see the biggest holdup being guaranteed money or guaranteed years?
Ed Bouchette: The biggest holdup is Le'Veon Bell
Chase from Boston: Hi Ed, could you see the Steelers trading L Bell for a high 2nd round pick? Perhaps to the Browns or Giants if they pass on Barkley...
Ed Bouchette: Stop the Bell trade stuff. He would have to sign the franchise tag first. No, I don't see that at all.
Rick: Ed, More likely if all ILB gone at 28. RB Guice or DT Payne. Thank you.
Ed Bouchette: Can I say neither?
John Strange: What is your prediction for the Steelers wins and losses this year? 9-7 or better? --- or --- 8-8 or worse?
Ed Bouchette: Vegas has it at 10.5
Dimitrios: Most likely scenario is the this is Bell's last year with Steelers, so why not take a top RB (Guice or Michel) if top ILBs are gone? This year has a lot of good RBs, so might be better to take one this year.
Ed Bouchette: Wait until next year to get one. RB is the most easily learned position as a rookie
Flipsteeler: Do you view the QBs in the draft as being good or teams are so desperate they are reaching for them?
Ed Bouchette: Lot of reaches
Dimitrios: Evans and Esch are off the board at 28, who do the Steelers take? Reid or Harrison @ Safety or other position?
Ed Bouchette: Reid or a CB would be my guess
Howard: If the Steelers draft a QB in the first round, will you walk home from Arlington?
Ed Bouchette: No, I would love it because there's nothing more interesting than a QB in the first round.
Ed Bouchette: It just won't happen
fhuds3: Is ILB a bigger need or is safety a bigger need in the draft
Ed Bouchette: ILB by far
JT : Hey Ed - If Vander Esch is there at the Steelers spot in the draft, isn't that a no brainer for them to draft Shazier's replacement?
Ed Bouchette: I think so, yes
fhuds3: Could we move TJ inside and draft an OLB. TJ's grasp of the defense intimates he may have the capacity to make defensive calls
Ed Bouchette: won't happen
Doug Y: How about trading up for a dynamic defender-Edmunds?
Ed Bouchette: They would have to trade up too far for that
Flipsteeler: In your opinion, what is the likelihood that the next CBA hits a major snag and the 2021 season is shortened or does not happen?
Ed Bouchette: I take it one year at a time
Chuck: Vander Esche not being a power 5 conference guy a consideration? Tomlinson/Colbert have never gone that way in Round 1...
Ed Bouchette: And they also drafted Jarvis Jones, Ziggy Hood and Bud Dupree
KG: If a team has multiple first round draft picks, are they all eligible for the 5th year option?
Ed Bouchette: Yes
fhuds3: Is Vander Eschs potential neck "injury" his lack of time as a starter at Boise and his lack of competition at Boise a cause for concern?
Ed Bouchette: For some, it probably is
Ray: Ed, in your opinion, who is this year’s “6 Rd. Pick 199” person to steal in the draft?!?
Ed Bouchette: Maybe another long snapper
Flipsteeler: Will Ben sign an extension at some point? Does he take a hometown discount?
Ed Bouchette: I think that could come next year.
Guest: Ed, are you much of a hockey fan?
Ed Bouchette: I'm a so-so fan. Missed the first period the other night, watched the other two. Ed trivia: My first beat at the PG was supposed to be the Penguins. Before that could happen, I got thrown onto the USFL Maulers beat.
Pitt Insider: If this is a dumb question I apologize. I know we can't trade Bell because he's unsigned but can the bargaining rights or tag be traded?
Ed Bouchette: No
Ray: What’s the latest status on Shazier?
Ed Bouchette: They don't provide updates, but photos of him from a recent Penguins game and Ohio State spring game were encouraging to me at least
Dave: Vander Esch doesn't seem like the same style player as Shazier. Can he really replace him ?
Ed Bouchette: You are not going to find Shazier's style in this draft, maybe not any time soon.
Ray: Ed, do you think the defense will keep their traps shut this year and let their play speak for themselves now that Mitchell is gone...?!?
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure any other defensive player talked that much.
Silly in Philly: Ed. When u retire are u going to miss these chats?
Ed Bouchette: They may bring me closer to it
Chuck: More impressive resume: Cowher or Tomlin?
Ed Bouchette: I'd say they are closer to even.
Nate: Hi Ed, with Ed Reed, Champ Bailey and Tony Gonzalez virtual locks for HOF next year, as HOF voter, do you think there will finally be an opening in 2019 that Faneca receives a gold jacket? Thanks!
Ed Bouchette: Let's hold off on a few of those "locks"
Bud from Tampa: If only one of the top inside linebackers is left on the board around pick 23, what would it cost us to swap places assuming someone was willing to make the deal?
Ed Bouchette: At least their third-round pick. Maybe more
Steeler Fan In Cincy: Though Colbert has stated he's busy with the draft and free agency, when do you anticipate Bell signing his franchise tag contract?
Ed Bouchette: Six days before their regular-season opener against Cleveland, just like last year.
Gene: Hi Ray, if all the top inside linebackers are gone by pick 28 where do you think the Steelers go with their pick?
Ed Bouchette: I'll let Ray answer that one
Steeler Fan In Cincy: Ed, what are the chances davis goes to ree Safety?
Ed Bouchette: I would make that move and put Burnett at strong
Chooch: Likelihood that the Browns are even "considering" Mayfield as the 1st selection?
Ed Bouchette: Curtis Mayfield already is in Cleveland, with the Impressions in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for another great chat. Enjoy the draft and we'll talk about it next Tuesday