Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: April 27

Let's get to it:

RAYMOND CHASON FROM CONNEAUTVILLE, PA: When do the Steelers choose who goes to the draft to announce the draft picks?
ANSWER: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce all of the picks during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 27. The Steelers currently have two picks in the second round, which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28, and Hall of Fame guard Alan Faneca is set to announce one of those. The team's fourth-round pick is scheduled to be announced by Alex Highsmith and LaMarr Woodley from the Steelers' Youth Flag Football Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico.

SAM PALYA FROM MECHANICSVILLE, VA: In past years I've watched the NFL Draft on television, but this year I will be driving a truck on Thursday night during Round 1. I was wondering if Steelers Nation Radio will broadcast live during the three-day draft. I would much rather listen to that than try to find something else on the radio.
ANSWER: Steelers Nation Radio will be broadcasting throughout the three days of the upcoming NFL Draft, and there will be programming on each of those days as long as the picking takes. On Thursday, the broadcast from the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex is scheduled to run from 7-11 p.m., or until the picking is over; on Friday, it's from 6 p.m. until midnight, or until the picking is over; and on Saturday the hours are noon-7 p.m., or until the picking is over.

MICHAEL ROBERTS FROM CECILIA, KY: Of the new additions, who are you most excited to see in a Steelers uniform on Sundays?
ANSWER: Off the top of my head, I would go with Patrick Peterson, because he's a pedigreed playmaker in the secondary, and those kinds of guys can really add to a team's defense.

JAMES WILLIAMS FROM PITTSBURG, CA: Why wasn't Kordell Stewart the starting Quarterback in Super Bowl XXX?
ANSWER: The Steelers reached the AFC Championship Game at the end of the 1994 season and were upset by San Diego, 17-14, after an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line in the final minute of the game. The team made Kordell Stewart its second-round pick (60th overall) in the 1995 NFL Draft, and he joined a depth chart that already included veterans Neil O'Donnell and Mike Tomczak, both of whom had multiple NFL regular season starts on their resumes, plus second-year pro Jim Miller. Bill Cowher was entering his fourth season as the Steelers coach in 1995, and it wouldn't have made sense to turn over the team to a rookie quarterback after a near-miss in a quest for the Super Bowl just one year earlier. Stewart ended up contributing to the Steelers' 1995 AFC Championship as "slash."

DANIEL KISH BROOK PARK OH: In reading about the upcoming draft there is so much discussion about offensive linemen's measurables, such as height and arm length and so forth. I seem to remember the Steelers having a lineman named Terry Long who I think was only 5-foot-11. Has the game really changed to the point where a player like him stands no chance of making a team?
ANSWER: When Terry Long was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 1984 NFL Draft, the team utilized a lot of trap-plays, which were Coach Chuck Noll's preference when it came to running the football. In that type of offense, height and bulk were not as essential as the ability to move and play with leverage, and short offensive linemen had a built-in advantage when it came to leverage. To be honest, I don't know that there are many, if any, 5-11 offensive linemen left in college football today, let alone the NFL.

STEVE CASTAGNERO FROM APEX, NC: If the 1974 draft class is considered the Steelers best draft so far in franchise history, what class is considered No. 2?
ANSWER: In my view, the Steelers 1974 draft haul is the best in NFL history based on simple mathematics – four Hall of Fame players (Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster) were selected in the first five rounds and a fifth Hall of Fame player (Donnie Shell) was added immediately after the picks concluded as an undrafted rookie. The No. 2 draft in franchise history is a matter of opinion, and mine would be that distinction deserves to go to the team's 1971 draft haul. A case could be made for the 1970 draft haul, because that class included Terry Bradshaw as the first-round pick and Mel Blount as the third-round pick – both of whom were first-ballot Hall of Fame selections and foundational pieces for the dynasty of the 1970s, but I contend the 1971 group trumps it on volume.

With their first six picks in the 1971 draft, the Steelers added five players (WR Frank Lewis, LB Jack Ham, G Gerry Mullins, DE Dwight White, and TE-OT Larry Brown) who combined to win 18 Super Bowl rings, and overall, they added seven players who combined to win 24 Super Bowl rings. In addition to the five players previously mentioned, the Steelers added DT Ernie Holmes in the eighth round and S Mike Wagner in the 11th round. That makes the 1971 draft class the second-best in franchise history in my opinion.

TOM RENWICK FROM MONROE, MI: In your opinion, how can a player who is drafted and has all the "right tools" fail miserably in the NFL, where an undrafted player who has faults but then makes the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Is it scouting failures, attitude?
ANSWER: There are any number of reasons why a drafted player fails in the transition to the NFL, because despite all of the advances in scouting and coaching, the draft is an unscientific crapshoot. If it simply came down to being drafted and "having the right tools," then every first-round pick every year would turn out to be a Hall of Fame-caliber player, and that's simply not the reality. Players drafted into the NFL are flesh-and-blood human beings with human frailties, and so there is no absolute procedure for identifying who will be successful and who won't be successful. And you know what? It's the same for every other occupation in the world. Why would an intelligent student with all of the tools to become a world-class surgeon not even get accepted to medical school? Is it because the teachers failed? I believe you're looking for a simplistic answer to an issue that's not that simple.

HOWARD ASHCRAFT FROM LANSING MI: My favorite Steelers player always has been Mel Blount. Would you say he is a top 10 Steelers player of all time?
ANSWER: I would say Mel Blount deserves to be ranked in the top 10 of all-time Steelers players because of what he contributed to the team – two-time first-team All-Pro cornerback, 1975 Defensive Player of the Year, all-time franchise leader with 57 career interceptions in the regular season plus 4 more in the playoffs, first-ballot Hall of Fame selection – but also because he was so dominant that he forced the NFL to change the rules in an attempt to lessen his dominance.

ROD KEEFER FROM EDMOND, OK: If a player on an NFL team's practice squad signs a reserve/futures contract after the season ends, does that contract preclude another team from signing him? I'm thinking specifically of Chris Oladokun in this case.
ANSWER: Quarterback Chris Oladokun was the Steelers' seventh-round draft choice in 2022, and he was waived by the team following the preseason. After spending the season on the Kansas City practice squad, Oladokun signed a futures contract with the Chiefs on Feb. 15, 2023. That means he is under contract to that team through the 2023 season, unless the Chiefs waive him at some point.

LOU MANN FROM ASHKELON, ISRAEL: I've been looking at Ohio State quarterbacks who have been drafted in the NFL. If I use the past performances of draftees as a guide, then C.J. Stroud is no lock to be successful. That being said I think Mike Tomczak was the best of them all. What do you think?
ANSWER: I will admit to not spending any time pondering the history of Ohio State quarterbacks' success in the NFL, and if it is true that Mike Tomczak is the best of them all, that truly is a low bar for one of the historic programs in college football history.

TROY FRIEND FROM KIRKLAND, WA: I hope Kenny Pickett plays well enough to earn a second NFL contract, and it seems as though contract extensions for quarterbacks have skyrocketed recently. Do you think the organization feels an urgency to make a run before the salary cap clock hits midnight?
ANSWER: This issue was brought up on Monday during the pre-draft news conference featuring General Manager Omar Khan and Coach Mike Tomlin. The question posed to Khan was whether the potential for stocking a team's roster during the period when the starting quarterback is operating on his rookie contract is real or a media myth. Khan's answer: "You don't have to be a mathematician to figure it out. When you have a rookie quarterback who's starting for you, it gives you options. That's what I always say, you have options to do different things, maybe get creative on some other things."

RICK WOODRING FROM SMETHPORT, PA: In the 1970s, were there two All-Pro teams selected each season? If so, was there a year when all 11 Steelers starters on defense made one or both of those All-Pro teams?
ANSWER: While the Associated Press All-Pro team is the one most often recognized, there are now and have been other outlets that have picked an All-Pro team. But scouring through all of those other versions would show most of the same players being picked on all of them. It's not as if different outlets would be interested specifically in choosing players left off other All-Pro teams. No, there was never a year when all 11 Steelers defensive starters were named All-Pro.