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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: April 23

Let's get to it:

MIKE REIBMAN FROM MERRICK, NY: Come opening day of the 2024 regular season, if the Steelers' two best tackles are Dan Moore Jr. and Broderick Jones, do you think they stay with Moore at left tackle and Jones at right tackle this year, or are they better suited to switch? It seems I recall Jones was a starting left tackle at Georgia and was drafted to play that position, but I do not know either Moore's history, or whether there is some other reason each is better suited to one side or the other.
ANSWER: Since making Dan Moore Jr. a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Steelers have determined he is better at left tackle than he is at right tackle. Based on your premise that Moore and Broderick Jones are to be the starting tackles for the Steelers on opening day of the 2024 regular season, my opinion would be they would have Moore at left tackle and Jones at right tackle, which is where he started 11 regular season games for the team in 2023. And by the way, the Steelers were 7-4 in those 11 games.

DICK VOCHEK FROM PORTAGE, PA: In the April 18 edition of Asked and Answered, there was a question about the coin flip between the Steelers and the Bears for the No. 1 overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft. Presumably, the Bears would have been in the market for a quarterback given they had a 1-13 record in 1969. But do you know if they were, in fact, interested in drafting Terry Bradshaw if they would have won the coin flip?
ANSWER: I have no direct knowledge whether the Chicago Bears were going to pick Terry Bradshaw had they won the coin flip for the first overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft, but it would seem to me that if they had not been interested in Bradshaw they would have been content with spending the second overall pick on the player they had rated No. 1 overall after losing the coin flip. But the Bears didn't make the pick. They traded it to Green Bay, and because they traded the pick that leads me to believe they wanted Bradshaw.

KEN MAULDIN FROM CLYDE, TX: If the Steelers played this Sunday, who would be their starting center?
ANSWER: My guess would be Nate Herbig would start at center if the Steelers played this Sunday, which they do not. And if the playoffs started this week, the Steelers would be in a 32-way-tie for the No. 1 overall seed.

DENNIS SLEEGER FROM YORK, PA: Do you believe that Russell Wilson or Justin Fields is the answer after this year with the kind of contract that both will command? I think they should at least look at a quarterback in this draft. Your thoughts?
ANSWER: Do you have any idea what kind of contract Russell Wilson or Justin Fields will command? I know I don't. Do you know that both Wilson and Fields are completely committed to following the money and only the money starting with the 2025 season. I know I don't. Do you know that there have been no conversations between the team and Wilson and/or Fields about a future with the Steelers beyond the 2024 season? I know I don't. Do you believe the Steelers should commit significant draft capital on a position where the depth chart already contains three players with NFL regular season starting experience, a position where the depth chart will contain no more than three players come the start of the regular season? I know I don't. The Steelers may "at least look at a quarterback in the draft," because they're going to look at a lot of players and possibilities from Thursday through Saturday. But I don't believe that's what you mean. I believe you're advocating for them to spend a pick on a quarterback on Thursday or Friday, right? I'm not about to advocate for them to do that based on nothing but a bunch of suppositions that may or may not be true a year from now.

MATTHEW BOWYER FROM OAK HILL, WV: We've had center Ryan McCollum on the practice squad for a couple of years now. He played in 13 games with one start in 2021 at center for the Detroit Lions. I would love to watch the game he started. Do you know who the opposing team was when he got his start?
ANSWER: Ryan McCollum's start at center for the Detroit Lions came on Dec. 12, 2021, in a game at Denver. The Broncos won, 38-10.

JAMES PARKER FROM SPRINGVILLE, AL: If a submitted question is not answered in the next segment of Asked and Answered, does it have a chance of being answered in a later segment? If not, is it worthwhile to ask it again, or does it mean it wasn't a worthy ask?
ANSWER: If a submitted question isn't used within a week-to-10 days after being submitted, it's probably not going to be published. You could try re-submitting it, as many people do. In many cases, questions that get bypassed have been asked and answered already in past installments, which is why it's important to read the whole installment rather than just search for your question. I enclosed the next question as an example of what I mean by multiple submissions that cover the same topic.

BRUNO CONTORCHICK FROM YORK, PA: In the April 18 Asked and Answered, you shared the history about the coin toss between the Steelers and the Bears for the No. 1 overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft. Do you know if the Bears would have taken Bradshaw if they would have won the toss?
ANSWER: This was answered in a previous submission that is contained above.

TOM CHOVANEC FROM MOKENA, IL: My friend who's not a fan of Justin Fields is telling me that Fields is already complaining about his No. 2 status behind Russell Wilson and making it known that he's not happy being on the Steelers. Any truth to that?
ANSWER: The way I see this is you have the answer to your question at the start of the submission: "My friend who's not a fan of Justin Fields …"

LARS RASMUSSEN FROM COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: I remember the Steelers drafting Dri Archer, who was fast at the NFL Combine. I think he ran a sub-4.3 in the 40. Can you explain why Dri Archer could not turn his speed into NFL success? What was missing?
ANSWER: To fill in the blanks, Dri Archer, who played his college football at Kent State, ran a 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Combine. That 4.26 was the fifth-fastest time posted at the Combine since the NFL went to electronic timing. What went wrong with Dri Archer's NFL career is simple: Professional football is not a track meet. There are many examples of players posting impressive times and/or results in Combine drills, and while those are used by teams to get a more complete picture of the individual's athletic skills it still comes down to playing the sport at a high level. Dri Archer was very fast. But he was not a good enough professional football player.

RAYMOND CHASON FROM CONNEAUTVILLE, PA: How do the Steelers choose the undrafted prospects they decide to sign?
ANSWER: All of the players the Steelers sign as undrafted rookies once the draft ends on Saturday will be players the team has scouted, evaluated, and graded during the pre-draft process, and they're individuals judged to be draftable prospects. Choosing from among that group could be determined by filling out numbers on the depth chart at the various positions, and all of those signed are judged to be capable of providing competition during the many practices that will take place during the offseason program and then at training camp and the preseason.

JAMES PARKER FROM PINSON, AL: Arguably with no Maurkice Pouncey (or even close) caliber center available in this year's draft, and what appears to be no real push to obtain one in free agency, is there any scenario where we bring back Mason Cole and/or J.C. Hassenauer? On the other hand, if or when we do draft a center, how imperative is it to get one in the first round?
ANSWER: There are many pieces of the "analysis" you included that I would characterize as questionable, and I mention that so you understand I agree with little of what you wrote along those lines. As for the possibility of bringing back J.C. Hassenauer and/or Mason Cole, both of those individuals are veterans who are unrestricted free agents and therefore are able to chart their immediate future. On Aug. 1, 2023, Hassenauer sustained a torn triceps while in training camp with the New York Giants, and so that could be an issue with him in terms of potentially passing a physical to the satisfaction of a team interested in signing him. Cole has been an unrestricted free agent and able to sign with any interested team since the Steelers released him on Feb. 23, and I would imagine he and his agent will start looking closely at potential opportunities once the draft is over and teams' rosters come into a clearer focus.