Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: April 19

Let's get to it:

I was looking at the Steelers draft selections in the past and found something odd. Could you remind us why in 2001 the round three selection is marked as "forfeited?"

ANSWER: During the 1998 season, as part of a verbal agreement Dan Rooney had with Will Wolford, the Steelers paid a bonus to Wolford that was ruled to be a salary cap infraction. The punishment was the forfeiture of that 2001 third-round draft pick. The NFL informed Dan Rooney that if he paid Wolford the bonus, the Steelers would be punished with the loss of a draft pick, but Rooney told the NFL that he had given the player his word and that his word was more important to him than a draft pick.

What happened to Justin Gilbert, and why didn't he make it? A top 10 talent, exceptional athlete, outstanding college career. So he certainly had the physical skills. Was it desire? Motivation? Toughness?

ANSWER: After the Steelers took a flyer on Justin Gilbert and then released him, former teammate Joe Thomas offered the opinion that he really didn't have the desire to do what was necessary to succeed in the NFL. And then on June 20, 2017 on, Nick Shook wrote:

"Less than two months after being suspended four games by the NFL for violation of the league's Substances of Abuse policy, (Justin Gilbert) the former eighth-overall pick had his suspension increased to one year by Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday for again violating the league's policy, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Gilbert must apply for reinstatement before he can possibly return to the NFL in 2018, Rapoport added."

With the Steelers being so close to a Super Bowl win with the current roster, what is the greatest problem with bundling up lower draft picks to move up in the draft to get an impact difference maker?

ANSWER: The thing fans either don't understand or choose to ignore is that it takes two teams to make a trade. Let's pretend you're the Steelers and I'm a team with, say the 15th overall pick in the first round. Why would I take a bundle of third-day picks from you to allow you to get up high enough in the first round to pick a difference-maker instead of just picking a difference-maker at No. 15 overall myself? My job is to make my team better, not to help you make your team better.

So in summary, the greatest problem is finding a team to take a one-sided trade, because that's what you're actually proposing.

Which wide receiver in this year's draft do you feel would best fit the Steelers' offensive system? We need to add depth, and I'm speculating they will select one this year.

ANSWER: I agree with you when it comes to the Steelers picking a wide receiver in this year's draft, but because I have no idea how the team has all of the eligible players graded and in what round the Steelers might see a wide receiver as being a good value, there is no way to answer your question. Recent history has shown that there typically are a good number of quality wide receiver prospects available in a draft class, presumably because of all the spread offenses that now operate on the college level. And because the Steelers have Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Martavis Bryant (for at least one more year) at the top of their depth chart, I see them looking for a player who is more of a complementary piece in this draft.

After reading the submission in the April 17 edition of Asked and Answered on the T.J. Watt vs. Reuben Foster issue, are there any other recent situations like that where you had people howling at you about a high draft pick who ended up being a lot better than the person the howlers preferred?


See who has worn jersey No. 88 in Steelers history

ANSWER: I don't know about "a lot better," but there was a lot of moaning about the Steelers picking Ryan Shazier over C.J. Mosley in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Mosley has been voted to three Pro Bowls in his first four NFL seasons, while Shazier has been voted to two, with the primary difference between the two guys in the first couple of NFL seasons being that Mosley was injury-free while Shazier missed 11 games with injuries.**

I admit to having a personal preference for Shazier over Mosley, and I'll justify my preference by citing two examples: On Christmas Day in 2016, the Ravens had a chance to make the playoffs by beating the Steelers in Heinz Field, and that would have happened if Mosley and Eric Weddle had been able to keep Antonio Brown out of the end zone on that last-second reception. They didn't, the Steelers won to advance to the playoffs, and the Ravens went home.

In the 2015 Wild Card Round Game in Cincinnati, the Steelers needed a takeaway in the final 96 seconds to have a chance to defeat the Bengals to advance to the AFC Divisional Round. Shazier stripped the ball from running back Jeremy Hill, Ross Cockrell recovered, and Chris Boswell subsequently kicked the game-deciding field goal.

When was the last time Steelers had the No. 1 overall pick of a draft and who did they select?

ANSWER: It happened in 1970, and the pick was Terry Bradshaw.

Do you think James Harrison ever will be forgiven by the fans for everything that happened last year? What about the players, coaches, and management?

ANSWER: I cannot speak for the players, but later on the same day that James Harrison announced his retirement, Steelers President Art Rooney II delivered the following message via the team's official Twitter account: "Thank You, James, for all your contributions to Steelers football throughout your career. Best of luck with your family in retirement."

I'll raise my hand now and admit to being guilty as charged. I was screaming and using Facebook Live to say how our beloved Steelers botched that pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Not afraid to admit, I was dead wrong. T.J. Watt has made me a believer.

ANSWER: You are one of the very few with the guts to admit it.

Tommy Maddox in his prime, or Kordell Stewart in his prime. Who do you start at quarterback?

ANSWER: Tommy Maddox never had a prime.

In 1974, the Steelers drafted FOUR Hall of Famers and their first names all had FOUR letters (Lynn, Jack, John and Mike). So, I am thinking in 2018, we should take only players who have first names with eight letters - Leighton Vander Esch or Tremaine Edmunds - ILB, Da'shawn Hand - DL, Chucwuma Okorafor - OT, Tarvarus McFadden - DB, Coleman Shelton - C, Janarion Grant - WR, and Jeremiah Briscoe - QB. What do you think?

ANSWER: That you have way too much free time on your hands, but apparently not enough arithmetic skills to realize that Da'shawn and Coleman have only seven letters in each.

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