Let's get to it:
WILLIAM GRAY FROM MCHENRY, IL:
How extensive is a team's draft board process? Seems to me that each team needs to grade out well over 224 players and that any graded players who go undrafted immediately become targets as undrafted rookies. How much time truly gets spent grading all those players?
ANSWER: The first thing to understand is this process already has been ongoing for months, in fact starting when the Steelers were still in training camp last summer. How much time is truly spent? As much time as it takes. I understand that might sound like a smart-aleck answer, but it's the truth. Every player the Steelers deem to have draftable talent is graded and arranged on their draft board. During the whole process, which as I mentioned earlier begins before training camp ends, there will be players graded as undraftable, and so those guys are eliminated.
The 2018 NFL Draft starts on April 26, and the scouts and coaches could spend the entire month of April up to that point arranging the draft board, because the grading of the individuals and then aligning the draft board accordingly is the life-blood of how the Steelers approach it.
CARLOS MARTINEZ FROM MEXICO CITY, MÉXICO:
Could you be so kind to remind us what draft picks the team has for 2018?
ANSWER: The Steelers have seven total picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. They have their own picks in the first, second, and third rounds. They have no pick in the fourth round, but they have two picks in the fifth round – San Francisco's pick as part of the trade for Vance McDonald, and their own pick. They have no pick in the sixth round, but they have two picks in the seventh round – the New York Giants' as part of the trade for Ross Cockrell, and their own pick.
ED FUSKA FROM MIDDLETOWN, DE:
In any championship game, like the Super Bowl, as soon as the game ends the winning team dons their championship hats and T-shirts, which I assume are made up in advance for both teams. Is there a formal process to dispose of the losing side's un-needed apparel?
ANSWER: That apparel typically is sent to an under-developed country in some other part of the world and distributed to the needy people there.
TODD FURST FROM ALLENTOWN, PA:
The Steelers know what teams they will play this upcoming season. Do you know when the actual schedule will be published?
ANSWER: I cannot give you a specific date, because it typically varies, but last year it was announced on April 20. I would guess the announcement again would fall somewhere in the range of April 15-20.
MARCK LEWIS FROM AMITY, OR:
Would the Steelers consider playing a exhibition game in Portland, Oregon? Lots of Steelers fans here.
ANSWER: Highly, highly, highly unlikely. Based on a quick Google search, the largest outdoor venue is in Portland is Providence Park, with a seating capacity of 20,323, and I doubt the NFL would consider that a suitable facility. Also, the era of NFL teams regularly barnstorming to play preseason games is over. All teams don't even go away to training camp anymore.
PETE GAYDOSZ FROM SCOTT DEPOT, WV:
If the Steelers don't draft a safety who can play immediately, do you think that they will look at moving Brian Allen to safety? With his size, speed, and athletic ability, I feel he could make the transition and be a positive asset. Do you?
ANSWER: As I wrote in yesterday's of "Steelers-By-Position: CBs," the thinking is that Brian Allen's size, speed, and athleticism could turn him into a starting NFL cornerback. If there is going to be a guy moved from cornerback to safety, I believe the more likely option is Cam Sutton, who was projected as a safety in the NFL by some draft analysts.
CAROL EMMERT FROM ANDERSON, IN:
What parts of the NFL Combine would prove most interesting to watch from a fan's perspective? I'm wanting to learn more about the players, but not be so focused on stats that watching isn't fun anymore.
ANSWER: I have to be honest, I will consult the results from the Combine but watching the players actually compile those results is not something I can force myself to do. Watching prospects go through these drills isn't football, but I'm not going to argue that the drills have no value to the overall scouting process, because they do. Combine drills will be running on NFL Network even after the actual Combine is over, so maybe you want to sample some in small doses, maybe you find some that are interesting. But don't get down on yourself or lose interst in football if you don't, because I don't.
BALA VAZRALA FROM IRVINE, CA:
Why hasn't Joshua Dobbs played a single snap? I mean in the Titans game the Steelers had a big lead and Dobbs still didn't play at the end.
ANSWER: On game day, there are only two quarterbacks in uniform. Barring injury, those two quarterbacks are Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones. And since there were no injuries, the only game for which Dobbs was active was the regular season finale against Cleveland.
FAKE NAME FROM FAKETOWN, PA:
People keep asking questions about banning social media and/or stating that professionals should be able to stay away from it on their own. What I wonder is how many of them are reading your Asked and Answereds on company time and equipment? Myself included, thus the name and town.
ANSWER: Don't worry, Wes, your secret is safe with me.
KEVIN POLDING FROM NEW CASTLE, PA:
What are we doing? Le'Veon Bell is demanding too much money, and we don't have to spend that to win. As general manager for a day, I say we let Bell go, let Mike Mitchell go, and with the cap going up about $10 million we could sign a running back, a linebacker, and a safety all during free agency and still have all of our draft picks available. Am I hired?
ANSWER: Hopefully by the Ravens. Or better yet, the Patriots.
BUTCH MERTZ FROM MONTGOMERY, NY:
With Darius Heyward-Bey's experience on special teams, would the Steelers consider moving him with his speed to cornerback? That would solve a logjam at receiver and put some speed in the secondary.
ANSWER: The Steelers are in the National Football League, which means they compete in football. Not relay races.
MARC GRAFFIUS FROM HARRINGTON, FL:
With the Chiefs releasing Darrelle Revis, why don't the Steelers pursue him?
ANSWER: Three reasons: He's too old (he'll be 33 before training camps open in late July), too slow, and there will be no room on the depth chart after the Steelers get wind of Butch's idea and move Darrius Heyward-Bey to cornerback.
JOHN GIOP FROM FAIRFAX, VA:
I don't have a question, but I do have a suggestion for an Asked and Answered drinking game. If a fan submits a question about moving a player from his current position to another position … take a drink. If a fan wants the Steelers to pursue the latest shiny object player available in free agency … take two drinks. If a fan asks about Ben Roethlisberger's retirement or if Landry Jones or Joshua Dobbs will replace him … take three drinks. If Johnny Manziel comes up in any fashion … finish the six-pack.
ANSWER: As long as I don't have to participate, because I'd be dead of alcohol poisoning before OTAs even started.
WILLIAM GRAY FROM McHENRY, IL:
For some offseason fun, at our last company meeting I suggested that Mary in Accounting move to Sales because she talks a lot, and for Ethan in Purchasing to move outside to Shipping & Receiving because he's fast. Those kind of ideas are met with ridicule in the real world, too.
ANSWER: Now, now. You should know that any reference to the real world violates the guidelines set by many of the submissions to Asked and Answered. Take a penalty drink.