Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: April 28

Let's get to it:

ROB JEFFREY FROM BRADFORD, PA:
If Jaylon Smith is still available in the third round, would you consider drafting him?

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ANSWER: I would not. If it were my decision, I would not use a premium draft pick to add a player to the roster who would come here with a serious knee injury, and I refer to it as a serious knee injury because there already have been reports Smith won't be able to play at all in 2016. That makes 2017 his rookie year. Too much of a gamble and too long to wait.**

GRANT BRADEN FROM SOUTH ORANGE, NJ:
When a team is looking at college prospects for the draft, what do you think is most important: Having shown great ability on tape, having great production and statistics, or having amazing combine/pro day numbers?

ANSWER: This was how General Manager Kevin Colbert answered that question when it was posed during the pre-draft news conference on April 25: "Again, the video, the evaluations from summer until the all-star games are over are the most important. The Combine, the pro day, it's icing on the cake. It will verify what you believe. If you put too much weight on it, you'll make a mistake. If a good player works out well, great. If a bad player works out well, be careful. If a good player works out bad, don't kill him, because what they can do on the field will always be most important."

ROBERT LEWIS FROM BERKELEY, CA:
I was just watching the draft preview on edge rushers on Steelers.com, and it brought up this question: In watching video of a college player who is entering the draft, how do the coaches judge whether that edge rusher is good, or the offensive linemen is just bad? Is it all based on what a scout reports? I'm just not familiar with the process.

ANSWER: Just to explain the process to a degree: Any player who ends up being drafted by the Steelers will have had his video seen and evaluated by multiple sets of eyes. Scouts, assistant coaches, coordinators, Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin. It can be a half dozen or more people who end up watching video on some of these guys. So, there's that, and the Steelers also could have reports on some of the offensive linemen against whom the edge rusher is going against, and so there can be an evaluation from that perspective. This is a year-round thing, and while there have been and can be mistakes made, and there are bound to be more mistakes made in the future, those aren't about not doing the work.

The best photos of Linebacker Jarvis Jones from the 2015 season thus far.

JARRETT WIGGONTON FROM CALLAWAY, VA:
Do you see the Steelers keeping Ryan Shazier with the fifth-year option?

ANSWER: I answered this question during Monday's Asked and Answered Live, and I will repeat that answer here: My guess/opinion is you exercise the option before the deadline, which I believe is May 2. But the reality is that you still have Jarvis Jones at a salary of $1.59 million for the 2016 season, which isn't an outrageous amount. The option doesn't kick in until the 2017 season, and you can still cut him for performance issues beforehand and not have to pay that number or carry it on your salary cap as dead money. I think the thing to do right now is exercise the option, see how Jones does in 2016, and then see where you are for 2017.

JEFF SMART FROM EUSTIS, FL:
The Steelers prime-time games in recent years, seem to be mostly road games. This coming season, only one of their four primetime games is at Heinz Field. Do you know why this is?

ANSWER: Of the team's four primetime games right now, only one will be played at Heinz Field, that one against the Chiefs on Oct. 2 when the weather in the Northeast is still fairly gentle. "In general, we would prefer to have a mix (of home and road primetime games)," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "If we had a choice, we would prefer not to have too many night games toward the end of the season at home, and so in that regard I think the schedule worked out OK."

KENNY AINSWORTH FROM FOLSOM, CA:
Who are your top three cornerbacks in Steelers history?

ANSWER: The first two are easy picks: Mel Blount and Rod Woodson. As for No. 3, there are a couple of candidates, but I'm going with Dewayne Woodruff. A sixth-round pick from Louisville in the 1979 NFL Draft, Woodruff became a full-time starter for the Steelers in 1981, and with the exception of a 1986 season in which he spent the year on injured reserve after a serious knee injury in the third preseason game, he started 103 times through the 1989 season. In those 103 starts, Woodruff had 32 interceptions, and as a nickel back in 1990 he had three more. That's 35 interceptions total during his time as a regular part of the secondary, and Woodruff also had two interceptions during the 1979 postseason, which ended with the Steelers winning Super Bowl XIV.

Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Polamalu had a lot of defining plays throughout his career, take a look at some.

MIKE REIBMAN FROM MERRICK, NY:
If you could go back through the Steelers' franchise history and pick four defensive backs, with no other changes to the defense, who would your choices be for which positions? Bonus question, who are your "nickel" and "dime" backs?

ANSWER: My starting cornerbacks are Mel Blount and Rod Woodson. My starting safeties are Troy Polamalu and Darren Perry. My fifth and sixth defensive backs would be Dwayne Woodruff and Carnell Lake, with Lake being a guy I know can line up and cover somebody man-to-man because he moved to cornerback to help save the Steelers in 1995 and 1997. And as a disclaimer, I'm only considering guys I had a chance to watch play, which eliminates Hall of Fame defensive back Jack Butler.

MATT HUK FROM COLUMBIANA, OH:
Last week, you mentioned that the NFL has a "slotted system" for rookies. Could you explain what exactly that means?

ANSWER: The slotting system works like this: Each pick in the draft earns less on his contract than the man picked ahead of him. It's a consistently decreasing scale throughout a particular draft, and it's also a scale based on previous years. By that I mean if you're the fifth pick of the sixth round of the 2016 draft, you can expect a slight increase in your contract over the contract given to the fifth pick of the sixth round of the 2015 draft.

CHRISTA KEATON FROM BRADFORD, PA:
I have a photo of the whole Steelers team and Kelvin Beachum signed it, so obviously I have his autograph. I was wondering if one day it will be worth something? Kind of crazy how we were at the same hospital at the same time in Pittsburgh. But it was awesome to meet someone from the team and be blessed and lucky to get the picture and his autograph.

ANSWER: Based on your last sentence, it seems as though the signed photo has at least some value to you. That's about as good as it's going to get.

CLIFF MONT FROM STEUBENVILLE, OH:
Why don't the Steelers trade early draft picks for more established young players, for example, a No. 1 and a No. 2  for Patrick Peterson?

ANSWER: Tell you what – you get the Arizona Cardinals to agree to that trade, and we'll make it happen.


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