Let's get to it:
EMMA RICHARDS FROM SOOKE, BC:
Given that you regularly snort at the suggestions of players being moved to different positions, I find it interesting that four of the Steelers' draft picks switched positions during their college careers (T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Brian Allen, and Colin Holba). Could this be a Steelers strategy to find extra value in the draft by taking guys who have less experience at a particular position but have proven themselves to be "football players?"
ANSWER: A point of clarification: the suggestions of players moving to different positions that I "regularly snort at" involve those in which a player is drafted, say, on the first round after having played his entire college career at one position and then some know-it-all fan believes it's a simple matter and a brilliant idea to move the guy to a different position after he's in the NFL. The players you cite all had somewhat extensive experience and success in college at the positions the Steelers have drafted them to play. And to be clear, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Colin Holba were switched when they were coming out of high school. That's a whole other issue that drafting Ryan Shazier on the first round as an inside linebacker and then moving him to safety. Snort, snort!
CODY HERDMAN FROM AURORA, CO:
When will we learn what numbers the free agents we picked up and our draft picks will be wearing?
ANSWERS: Players eligible to participate in rookie minicamp on the weekend of May 12-14 will be assigned numbers at that time, but understand players can change numbers all the way up to the final roster cuts in early September.
DAVE FIGURA FROM SINKING SPRING, PA:
Why would you waste a pick on a long-snapper?
ANSWER: I have a feeling that there is more to this than simply providing Greg Warren with competition. Allow the situation to play out over the course of the rest of the offseason before labeling the pick of Colin Holba a waste.
SCOTT WELLS FROM HUNTSVILLE, AL:
Put on your GM hat and answer me this: why draft a long-snapper in the sixth round when you're able to get him in the seventh round?
ANSWER: You must have a more powerful Magic 8-Ball than me, because mine couldn't guarantee that Colin Holba would be available in the seventh round. So what's the big deal with Colin Holba? In college, long-snappers are afforded more protection while in the process of doing their jobs than they will get in the NFL, and so a lot of long-snappers in college only weigh around 220 pounds. That's not big enough for the job at the NFL level, and if an NFL team would try to get by with a long-snapper who weighs less than 230 pounds, the opponents would take advantage and use that alley as a way to block punts and field goal attempts.
Holba is 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, which is good size, and he figures to be able to get bigger and stronger after being exposed to an NFL weight program. As a comparison, Greg Warren is listed at 253 pounds. I figure I'm going to have to throw the following tidbit out there a bunch over the next couple of months, but, hey, so be it: In 2015, Bill Belichick used a fifth-round pick on a long-snapper from Navy by the name of Joe Cardona. He is 6-3, 245, and he still has the job.
If you need one, and you believe there is one who's better suited to the job, one who is more NFL ready than the other prospects, then using a sixth-round pick is worth it.
DARYL CANNON FROM CAPITAL HEIGHTS, MD:
Do you feel the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted their quarterback for the future?
ANSWER: Maybe Joshua Dobbs turns out to be a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, but there is no way of making that determination right now, and I don't believe the Steelers are labeling him as anything just yet. As of right this second, Dobbs was added to the depth chart to inject some youth and competition, and as the next couple of years unfold what he is to be as an NFL quarterback will be revealed. Be patient.
KEVIN HEADEN FROM SEATTLE, WA:
With the Steelers well-stocked at receiver, who do you see being the odd man out?
ANSWER: For the life of me, I cannot understand why fans are so unwilling to let things like this play out on the field. Based on what we saw from the receivers during the loss in the AFC Championship Game, I would contend that the only guy whose job/role is completely safe is Antonio Brown.
DAVID WRIGHT FROM CHATHAM, IL:
I will say I was very pleased with the Steeler's picks but I would like to know why a tight end was not drafted? Tight end still feels like a need to me. Do you think Gary Barnidge could be a possible free agent addition to add a veteran presence at the position after being released from a division rival?
ANSWER: Gary Barnidge is 31, and he is listed at 6-5, 247. The way the Browns utilized Barnidge, he was much closer to being a wide receiver than he was to being the kind of tight end the Steelers typically prefer. I will admit to being happy the Steelers didn't spend one of their eight draft picks on a tight end, because I believe the offense's weapons at running back and wide receiver make the tight end position one where blocking is more of a desired skill than receiving. And with JuJu Smith-Schuster being the kind of receiver who makes combat catches in close quarters, that should make him an asset in the red zone.
CHRIS PETERS FROM CHANTILLY, VA:
Who didn't show for OTAs?
ANSWER: Today is May 2. OTAs don't start until May 23.
DAVID ALSTON FROM PITTSBURGH, PA:
Can you let me know what is the fixation this coaching staff has with Landry Jones, and why did they cut Zach Mettenberger before camp when it would have been very possible that he beat Landry Jones out for the backup quarterback position?
ANSWER: I would contend that it's you who has a fixation, and it's a refusal to acknowledge that Landry Jones is a capable backup quarterback. When given an opportunity to play with the rest of the first-team offensive talent, and when there is a game plan put together for the opponent, Landry Jones has shown himself to be capable of playing winning football for the Steelers.
If you want to hate Landry Jones, have at it, but I have told you and your ilk time and time and time and time again that the Steelers perceive him as a capable backup quarterback, and you refuse to listen. One last thing: there was absolutely NO WAY that Zach Mettenberger would have taken the backup quarterback job from Landry Jones. NO WAY. Agree or disagree with that, but I'm telling you the truth.
NIKKI DEVINCENTIS FROM FAYETTEVILLE, NC:
Can you see Joshua Dobbs potentially taking Landry Jones' spot as the backup quarterback this year?
ANSWER: This year? Just stop it. Seriously. Stop it.
ZARED HOLLABAUGH FROM WORTHINGTON, PA:
After cutting Zach Mettenberger, the Steelers are back to three quarterbacks on the roster, which is obviously where they want to be heading into the season. Why do you think the Steelers cut him now as opposed to later in the process? To me it seems it would be good competition between Zach Mettenberger and Joshua Dobbs for that third spot behind Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones.
ANSWER: The Steelers in fact have four quarterbacks on the roster: Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs, and Nick Schuessler. Believe me when I tell you that as soon as Joshua Dobbs was drafted, Zach Mettenberger was history. The Steelers coaches had no faith in him to be anything more than a No. 3, and with the pick of Dobbs, Dobbs became No. 3.
MARK DIGIOVANNA FROM SAN JOSE, CA:
I want to start by saying I really love the T.J. Watt pick, BUT being that Reuben Foster was also available, I was wondering if you think the Steelers went with Watt because of the pedigree, and lack of (iffy) character issues? Foster was graded higher in his draft analysis, but he had that shoulder issue and that thingy at the Combine. I'm totally expecting to get ridiculed, but I can handle it.
ANSWER: Let's start with this: You write, "Foster was graded higher in his draft analysis." By whom? Hate to break it to you, but the Steelers don't base their evaluations on Mel Kiper or Todd McShay or any of the others who dabble as draft experts with no accountability, and so your contention that Foster was "graded higher in his draft analysis" just isn't true. Also, T.J. Watt is an outside linebacker/pass rusher, while Reuben Foster is an inside linebacker who had seven sacks in 39 college games.
Finally, "that thingy at the Combine" included a diluted urine sample, which as far as the NFL is concerned is the same as a failed drug test. Different positions, different strengths as players.