Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: May 12

Let's get to it:

FABIO DIMITRI FROM BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA:
I love Asked and Answered. Never miss it. I just have a comment: While I understand that most of the suggestions to move a player to a different position are really hilarious, I just wanted to point out there's a player who was good as a defensive linemen in college and is currently playing on the opposite side of the ball, and doing an extraordinary job opening holes for the running backs and blocking pass rushers, too. His name is Roosevelt Nix.

ANSWER: You are correct about Nix, and when listing his contributions don't ever forget special teams because he's a big part of that phase of the game. Nix is 5-foot-11, 248 pounds, and so he has known for a long time that he wasn't going to be able to play defensive line in the NFL at that height and weight, and so a position switch for him was in fact a lifeline to attaining a career in professional football. Those are the kind of position switches that have a better chance to be successful than any of those mad-scientist suggestions I seem to get here.

BILL SCOTT FROM DAYTONA BEACH FL:
I just want to thank you for your column. The information is great. Some of the questions are dumb, but you handle it with class. Again, thank you, have a great day as I always look forward to your input.

ANSWER: Thank you for the kind words. I will endeavor to continue to live up to them.

KENNY YOUNGERS FROM KINGMAN, KS:
I hear a lot of talk about the height and weight of players this time of year, when guys are being drafted and added to teams' rosters. You also often hear the media saying these measurements are wrong, or different than how they are listed. Why are these measurements so variable? I can understand weight changing from time to time, but shouldn't the height be pretty much what it actually is?

ANSWER: Variable heights and weights are always cleared up at either the NFL Scouting Combine or at the individual player's pro day. At those events, players are measured and weighed, and those numbers then are distributed to all NFL teams. Once those players reach the NFL, there often can be some minor fudging involved, mostly with weights when players want to be perceived as bigger or smaller than they are.

BRANDON NAVARRO-RITA FROM TRABUCO CANYON, CA:
How much of a role does a player being a "local player" play when teams are drafting/making up their board? In my mind, the team should just take the best player on its board, but I didn't know if being local plays any part in whether or not a team picks the player.

ANSWER: Being local may allow an NFL team to know more about a player who attends a college in its area, but when it comes down to the actual picking, geography has no impact in the decision.

JACK HUBER FROM ATLANTA, GA:
Duke safety Jeremy Cash was projected to be an early-round pick but went to Carolina as an undrafted free agent. Why didn't the Steelers pursue him?

ANSWER: There were 253 picks made over the course of the 2016 NFL Draft, and so all 32 teams did a whole bunch of not pursuing Jeremy Cash over the course of roughly a 72-hour period. If you're referring to pursuit as an undrafted rookie, there were 20 teams attempting to sign Cash after the draft. He narrowed it down to Carolina and Cincinnati, because both teams indicated he could play a specific role as a hybrid in sub-packages, similar to what he did in college. For Cash, then it came down to being closer to home, with the Panthers only a couple of hours down the road from Duke. "They're a winning ball club and it's right in the backyard in Charlotte,'' Cash told ESPN. "I already had my Duke fans. Now I have my Panthers fans.''

DAVE RHOA FROM ALTOONA, PA:
In your tenure covering the Steelers what player would you say has been the most media friendly? Someone like Hines Ward or Jerome Bettis, both of whom had designs on broadcast careers after football would be my thought.

ANSWER: Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward always were available to the media at the designated times, and both were cooperative when available. But to me, the all-time go-to guy for interviews was Joe Greene. Nobody was more in-tune with what was going well for the team at the time, and also with what wasn't. And he never was afraid to speak his mind. Maybe that's not exactly what you mean by "media friendly," but I can guarantee you the media always prefers candid and insightful answers to the questions, and nobody did that better than Greene.

MATTHEW POWNALL FROM DEBARY, FL:
When Joey Porter retired, the Steelers eventually brought him back as the outside linebackers coach to teach the players more about his position. Do you know if there's any speculation about trying that any time soon with other Steelers greats, such as Hines Ward, Heath Miller, or in a couple years William Gay?

ANSWER: Actually, you aren't describing the events regarding Joey Porter accurately. The Steelers didn't "bring him back." Porter decided to embark on a second career as a football coach, and he did that at Colorado State and for a year with the Steelers as a defensive assistant before he was hired as a position coach. The way it would work is the ex-player would have to be interested in coaching first, and then cultivate that interest to some degree at lower levels of the sport before he would "be brought back" by the Steelers. I have no way of knowing whether Heath Miller, Hines Ward, or James Harrison after his playing career is over, have any interest in coaching the sport at the professional level. That interest would have to come before everything else.

JOSH BEPPLER FROM WAYNESBURG, PA:
From your impression of the team as it's currently constructed and coached, would the Steelers wait until Ben Roethlisberger is retired and the need for a quarterback is clear before they would draft a quarterback in the first round? Would it depend on their upcoming draft positions and the talent pool? Or are there likely designs to draft a high/mid-round guy sometime in the next few years to begin grooming?

ANSWER: As a general rule, I have found the Steelers don't make that kind of decision until it's necessary to make that kind of decision. I don't know that they would wait until after Ben Roethlisberger retired to seek his replacement, but the situation as to the timing of the exact end of his career would have to much clearer than it is now. Other factors involved whenever that time comes figure to be which quarterbacks might be available at which point of which particular draft.

ALLEN JACKSON FROM GREENVILLE, SC:
Since Senquez Golson was out last year was he paid? Did he sign his rookie contract, and do you know the terms of that contract?

ANSWER: Following the surgery on his shoulder late in the training camp phase of the season, Senquez Golson was placed on the injured reserve list. As per terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, all players on injured reserve receive their full salaries for that season. On May 12, 2005, Golson signed a four-year contract, and as a second-round draft pick received a signing bonus of $1.17 million. His salary for 2015 was $435,000, which was the rookie minimum.

CARL BUSH FROM DAHLONEGA, GA:
I thought the Steelers did a good job with the draft this year, and Steelers Nation is hoping the first three picks will help to shore up the defense. But looking past those first three picks, are there any new prospects, drafted or undrafted, that you have a warm feeling about becoming a solid contributor to the team this year?

ANSWER: During free agency, the Steelers lost a couple of inside linebackers – Sean Spence and Terence Garvin, both of whom were core special teams players. Replacements for those guys on the coverage units will have to be found, and just based on the skill-set required for getting returners on the ground, Tyler Matakevich would seem to be a prime candidate to earn a roster spot that way.

ROBERT ANGERT FROM TAMPA, FL:
Why did the Steelers pass on Vonn Bell when he was rated higher than either defensive back they did select?

ANSWER: Rated higher by whom?

MATT HOVEY FROM ST. CLOUD, MN:
Love Asked and Answered. My question: Travis Feeney was an outside linebacker in college. Would the Steelers consider playing him inside to match up with Ryan Shazier's speed? Will Feeney end up playing both positions?

 Your answer: Training camp hasn't even started yet. Let's wait and see then.

ANSWER: I love the ones where I don't have to do any work.

MIKE HARRIS FROM CLINTON, MD:
How many ways can you say, wait until the season gets here?

ANSWER: What I do know is that I'm running out, but I believe we may have hit upon one more way based on the question above.

JIM RAY AZTECA FROM JOHNSTOWN, PA:
Where have all the Haley Haters gone?

ANSWER: They're due back shortly after the first three-and-out, but definitely before the first red zone field goal.


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