Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: June 4

Let's get to it:

MARK ADKINS FROM ST. AUGUSTINE, FL:
I believe this year's draft will be one of the best under Kevin Colbert, especially our first three picks, and also, I think Gerod Holliman will turn out to be a great pick. But if it is not (a great draft), is Colbert in jeopardy of losing his job? It has been awhile since he has had a great draft. In my opinion, 2007 was the last good one.

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I'm not going to spend a lot of time defending Kevin Colbert's draft record, because it doesn't need to be defended. Colbert was hired in 2000, and during his tenure the Steelers have had only one losing season, won two Super Bowls, and played in a third. The group of talent evaluators who have their name engraved on multiple Lombardis is a very small one, and Colbert is one of them. Who do you like better? Ozzie Newsome certainly has done a fine job with the Baltimore Ravens, but understand that the Ravens have had seven top-10 picks in the first rounds of drafts under Newsome, while the Steelers have had one under Colbert. Where you are picking is a factor. Also, the Ravens have had six losing seasons under Newsome, while the Steelers have had one losing season under Colbert. This isn't about Newsome vs. Colbert, but it's an example of what I believe is a misconception among some Steelers fans as to how well Kevin Colbert has done his job since he was hired. Sure, you can cherry-pick through the Steelers' drafts since 2000 and come up with names such as Limas Sweed and Alonzo Jackson and Ricardo Colclough and on and on and on, but everyone who has been in the talent evaluation business long enough is going to have those names on their resume. Colbert has been successful training up in the first round for Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes, as well as trading back in the round and still getting Casey Hampton. And by the way, in the 2010 draft, the Steelers added two players who were first-team All-Pros in 2014 – Maurkice Pouncey and Antonio Brown. That's not a good draft, in your opinion? If there comes a day when Kevin Colbert is fired by the Steelers, he will have another job in 15 minutes if he wants one. Appreciate what you have.**

NICK MITCHELL FROM GLEN-LYON, PA:
How many rookies do you predict as starters this year?

If you mean, how many rookies will be starters when the season opens, my answer is: none.

RAY THELEMAN FROM FRIENDSVILLE, PA:
When do the limited single game tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster?

As of today, that date has yet to be determined.

JOHN McCANN FROM ELSMERE, KY:
Can you educate those of us who saw Cortez Allen last year as to why anybody should have faith he can be a legitimate starting cornerback in the NFL? If he has another bad year, do the Steelers move on from him?

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The best photos of CB Cortez Allen from the 2014 season.

It's not my job to convince you or anyone else that Cortez Allen can be "a legitimate starting cornerback in the NFL." That's his job, with the convincing to be done with his play. And regardless of who the player is, or when he was drafted, or how much he is paid, there are a limited number of opportunities provided to all. We'll see how Allen does with this opportunity, and then that outcome, combined with how well the other cornerbacks on the roster are playing and whether the team adds more talent at the position via free agency or the draft, will determine his future with the team.**

NICK KRASKI FROM NASHVILLE, TN:
I'm going to assume two things here: that the Steelers will have nine defensive backs on their 53-man roster; and that Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, Will Allen, Willie Gay, Cortez Allen, and Senquez Golson are locks to make that roster. (Maybe I should assume the same of Doran Grant, but for right now I'm not). Who do you think are the most likely to get the remaining three spots?

Here are the players I see as being in serious competition for the other roster spots – and we'll use your number of nine slots allotted to defensive backs (and DO NOT overlook special teams): Antwon Blake, Doran Grant, Robert Golden, Ross Ventrone, B.W. Webb, and Gerod Holliman especially if he shows an aptitude for intercepting passes. This is way too early to be cutting the roster, and neither of us is taking into consideration the impact injuries could have on the pecking order.

BENJAMIN C. SPIRIDIGLIOZZI FROM ALTOONA, PA:
The University of Pittsburgh has produced some great NFL players who play in the same city as the Steelers, and since the South Side facility opened, train at the same facility as the Steelers. Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Russ Grimm, Mark May, Rickey Jackson, Hugh Green, Bill Fralic, Antonio Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, LeSean McCoy, and Darrelle Revis. Do the Steelers not scout the Pitt program? So many good NFL players have passed through Pittsburgh only to benefit another team. I realize that draft order has the most say in draft decisions, but how can the organization so often miss on a player from Pitt?

How many players have the Browns and Bengals missed on from Ohio State? Or the Cowboys missed on from Texas? Or the Dolphins from Miami? Or the Saints from LSU? The Falcons from Georgia? The Steelers have shared a training facility with the University of Pittsburgh since 2000, but there is no contact allowed between the Steelers and the college players. The Steelers have no more access or inside information on a player from Pitt than they would on a player from Florida State. It just doesn't work that way. Your list of a dozen Pitt players spans 30 years – Tony Dorsett was a part of the 1977 draft and LeSean McCoy was part of the draft class of 2007. NFL teams must scout the entire country, and they must scout every level of college football. Location of the program is irrelevant, because to the Steelers it's no more damaging to miss out on a player from Pitt than it would be to miss out on one from Alabama, because geography has nothing to do with which teams can draft which players. In some cases, players – Dorsett, Larry Fitzgerald, Darrelle Revis – were picked in the first round before the Steelers' turn. Others might not have been a good fit for the system. Other times the Steelers may have chosen a guy other than one from Pitt who turned out to be a valuable contributor in his own right. And there were times, I'm sure, when the Steelers simply mis-evaluated the guy.

JOSEPH SAMUEL FROM BLACKWOOD, N.J.:
I think there is a lot of hidden potential in Dri Archer, I just don't see it as a running back. Is there a possibility of him becoming a slot receiver? I think his speed skills alone would be hard to match if he does slant routes in the middle field.

Whatever future Dri Archer ends up having as an NFL player isn't going to be able to be defined in conventional ways, in my opinion. He may run the ball some, but he's not a running back, just as he will catch some passes and not be a typical wide receiver. Archer's role could best be defined as offensive weapon, and then there's also kick returns on special teams.

ROB GOTTRON FROM TREASURE ISLAND, FL:
No hyperbole or exhausted metaphors. No overt bias. And a working knowledge of not just the game and its greatest franchise, but of syntax and semantics. Are you a real person? If you are, please keep it up. Thank you. And I know it wasn't a question.

You're welcome.

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