Let’s get to it:
BUDDY POWELL FROM FT. MYERS, FL: Does any other team have more people – players, coaches, and contributors – in the Pro Football Hall of Fame than the Steelers?
ANSWER: The Pro Football Hall of Fame lists players, coaches, and contributors by franchise, and in the case of an individual whose career was spent with more than one franchise, he is categorized as being a primary member of one of those franchises. As recent examples of this, Rod Woodson is listed as a member of the Steelers franchise, while Kevin Greene is listed as a member of the Rams franchise. So based on this criteria, the Steelers have 21 members of their franchise enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The franchise with the most inductees is the Bears with 28, followed by the Packers with 25. Then come the Steelers, the Redskins (20), the New York Football Giants (19), the Rams (18), the Cowboys (17), and then the Browns, Raiders, and 49ers all are tied with 16.
ANTHONY SILVA FROM ALLENTOWN, PA: When was last time Steelers were seated at No. 20 overall in the NFL Draft and who did they pick?
ANSWER: The last time the Steelers had the 20th overall pick in an NFL Draft was in 1985 when they selected Wisconsin defensive end Darryl Sims. If that’s not enough to give you acid indigestion, here are the players drafted at No. 20 overall in the previous five drafts: 2018 – Arkansas center Frank Ragnow; 2017 – Utah tackle Garrett Bolles; 2016 – Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee; 2015 – USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor; and 2014 – Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Not a single defensive playmaker in the bunch.
WYATT SHOLLEY FROM BILLINGS, MT: I am very excited to see what Mason Rudolph can do in the preseason and hopefully as the backup quarterback. What are your thoughts on him? What about James Washington?
ANSWER: My thoughts are that this is a very important offseason/training camp/preseason period for both Mason Rudolph and James Washington, although for very different reasons. For Washington, it’s about making a big step toward establishing himself as a quality starting wide receiver in the NFL; and for Rudolph, it’s about showing that he is progressing in his development as an NFL quarterback. Come the start of the 2019 regular season, the Steelers are going to need Washington to be productive for their offense on a weekly basis, and then at that point the ideal situation for Rudolph – and for Joshua Dobbs – is that neither one has to play any meaningful snaps, because that would mean Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and productive.
LEE RINGLER FROM GREENSBURG, PA: I have heard that Detroit is interested in Bud Dupree. Could the Steelers package Dupree and a couple of draft picks, say a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to move up from 20th overall to eighth overall?
ANSWER: I have no idea whether what you “heard” has even a scintilla of truth to it, but the more important point I’m going to make here is that despite what you and other Steelers fans might think of Bud Dupree, the Steelers view him as a defensive starter. So if you trade him plus a couple of draft picks to move up in the first round – and my assumption is that you’d want them to use that pick on either Devin White or Devin Bush – who is going to play outside linebacker opposite T.J. Watt?
GREG RIDNER FROM MONROE, MI: I believe the Steelers should bring in unrestricted free agent T.J. Yeldon to add depth at running back. What do you think?
ANSWER: I think the Steelers are finished with free agency at this stage of the offseason and are concentrating on the draft.
NOAH LANG FROM NEW YORK, NY: If Ben Roethlisberger is injured during a game, and Coach Mike Tomlin thinks Mason Rudolph will perform better against the opponent than Joshua Dobbs, can he put Rudolph in even though on the depth chart Rudolph is the No. 3 quarterback and Dobbs is listed as the backup? Is there anything to distinguish the two?
ANSWER: On game days, the Steelers will have only two quarterbacks active and in uniform – the starter and the backup. The No. 3 quarterback typically is inactive, unless there is a minor injury situation with either the starter or the backup. When the regular season rolls around, the depth chart at quarterback is determined by which two of the three quarterbacks are in uniform.
DAVID LUPREK FROM JOHNSTOWN, PA: For interested fans, is there any place online that lists which rookies have had pre-draft visits with the Steelers, or is that information not public?
ANSWER: If you follow me on Twitter, I list the players the Steelers have in for pre-draft visits on the day they are in town. For example, yesterday, I tweeted that cornerback Deandre Baker, cornerback Byron Murphy, and linebacker Ben Banogu were at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
COLE COPPELER FROM FAYETTEVILLE, NC: Could you see Pittsburgh possibly moving Jaylen Samuels to tight end since he played that in college, and then Pittsburgh can draft a running back?
ANSWER: No. Jaylen Samuels had a nice rookie season as James Conner’s backup, and the fact he rushed for 142 yards on 19 carries in a win over the Patriots is proof that he can be an effective running back in the NFL. Why would you want to move a player with his potential to another position? Fans often overthink things, and that’s what you’re doing here.
BURTON HARRIS FROM GREENSBURG, PA: Do you think the Steelers will pick a running back in the first three rounds, and if so can he beat James Connor out, or is Conner set as the starting running back?
ANSWER: Let me answer this by asking you a question: Why would a team that has a running back who was voted to the Pro Bowl in his second NFL season go looking for a player in the first three rounds of the next draft to replace him?