TBurg_Pete: Hello, Mr. B. If April showers bring May flowers, what do May work stoppages bring?
Ed Bouchette: Let's see if the judge issues an injunction to the lockout first, which would allow players to report to work and begin the always popular OTAs.
Bruce: The NFL Network experts seem to think that Texas cornerback Aaron Williams is more suited to play safety. Any idea what the Steeler coaches think of him and his position in the NFL?
Ed Bouchette: He does not seem like the Steelers type. I like the kid from Miami more, Brandon Harris, and Williams' teammate Curtis Brown would be a better fit for the Steelers.
Guest: Any idea if the Steelers have Penn State guard Stefan Wisnieski on their radar?
Ed Bouchette: I'm sure he's on their radar, but we're not talking first-round here.
Bucco Dude: Colin, how many innings can we expect to get out of McDonald tonight?
Ed Bouchette: My name ain't Colin, but I think he'll go 5.
Mike: Who do you think will be Mendenhall's backup next season?
Ed Bouchette: Isaac Redman. Maybe after reviewing all the tape from last season they'll realize it was a mistake not to use him more.
Ed Bouchette: Remember, this is the same staff that cut John Kuhn
Guest: The mock drafts out are all over the place, with probably 15 different names being mentioned as the Steelers top choice. What 3 or 4 do you think make the most sense?
Ed Bouchette: I purposely stay away from mocks until April because they mean so little -- and once April arrives, they mean little more. They're a fun thing for many and I do one the day of the draft because it is a requirement of my job. I'd like to see them draft Brandon Harris, it does not mean they will of course. The top four tackles will probably be gone, including an early favorite for the Steelers, Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin. Derek Sherrod could be another but I really believe they're going cornerback even though they insist they go with the player with the best grade.
Bryan_Choy: Ed: regarding this coming April draft class: is BIG PAY DAYS over for the rookies or it's business as usual? (ie: 50M guaranteed contracts for a high pick rookie)?
Ed Bouchette: A new CBA will include a rookie pay scale, I believe. It won't end big pay days for rookies but out of sight paydays.
Guest: Have you met Players Association boss D Smith, and if so, what are your impressions of him?
Ed Bouchette: I've attended a couple of his press conferences and last month I interviewed him on the phone. He's very bright and seems to me he might have a future in politics.
Dylan McKay: Ed, seen any good movies lately?
Ed Bouchette: Saw The Fighter and loved it. Watching this reality show now, Pirates Rising.
Guest: Any chance the Steelers look to bring in a quarterback as a backup in the later rounds?
Ed Bouchette: There's really no need for one. Ben is 29. They have 2 veteran backups and a young guy in Dixon. You're not going to draft one to develop to take Ben's place because that could be another 8-10 years. So, what's the purpose?
Mike: Does it seem like the Steelers are concerned about the health of either Troy Polamalu or James Harrison going into next season?
Ed Bouchette: I really don't think so. James played all season with his back problem and made the Pro Bowl and now the back problem is fixed. Polamalu will heal. That's not to say they won't draft an OLB or safety -- but they did draft OLB Jason Worilds on the second round last year.
Bryan_Choy_likes_Coconuts: Ed: in your opinion: will we draft a WR come April 22nd?
Ed Bouchette: Somewhere, maybe, but I don't see it on the first round.
Guest: Do you think the Steelers would ever consider signing Plax Burress?
Ed Bouchette: No.
Chaucer Shakespeare: Ed, I read a Troy P. interview recently and he said that he thinks the entire team is invited to Ben's wedding. Any chance this ends poorly (ex. an arrest, a fight, bad dancing by Hines)?
Ed Bouchette: Wouldn't it have been a surprise if he left some teammates out? What would make you think a joyous gathering of teammates would lead to something bad happening? And I don't know if you've seen it, but Ward is cutting it up on the Monday night dance floors on TV.
Dr. $: Ed, have you ever had offers from bigger papers than the PG, but you turned down the big bucks because you love Pittsburgh, the Steelers, and your millions of adoring fans?
Ed Bouchette: I've seen many of my colleagues jump around from job to job and that never interested me. I am happy where I am and what I am doing. Yes, I turned down a higher-paying job in August 2009 from a very respectable sports network but it just did not appeal to me. I like what I do here. Even the chats are growing on me.
mike: Any reason for them to not package a 3rd and 4th or 5th to move up to the top of the third or nab another pick in the bottom of the 2nd....not as if we need another 4th rounder to cut or lose so Aaron smith can watch the super bowl in uniform
Ed Bouchette: Kevin Colbert has shown all that is possible, yes.
Guest: Since the Steelers are picking so late, at 31, would it not make sense to trade down and get an extra pick or two if the offer is right?
Ed Bouchette: Certainly, if the offer is right and you believe you can still get nearly as good a player by moving down. Otherwise, just pick at No. 31. The Steelers have never traded out of the first round since Chuck Noll arrived in 1969.
Andrew: Do you see the Steelers possibly looking to find Casey Hampton's eventual replacement in Rd. 1. The kid from Oregon St. who did all the bench press reps seems like natural 3-4 NG from the times I saw him play. Very tough to move and strong.
Ed Bouchette: You can never go wrong drafting good big men. Casey has been doing this for 10 years now and while he does not seem to be slowing down, you can always groom someone the way they're doing with Ziggy Hood. Those over-30 guys won't last forever.
JYDawg: We often hear comparisons between this current Steelers Dee nucleus and the 70's greats. There's really no comparison, right? I mean, the '76 team had what, 4 straight shut-outs, while our Dee got gouged in their past two SBs
Ed Bouchette: Let's start out with the premise that the 1970s Steelers were among the great dynasties of all time and that 1976 Steelers defense may have been the best of all time. However, football has changed in 35 years and the defenses have it a lot tougher because of all the rules put in since then to favor the offense and the style of play. A shutout today is so much more impressive.
Steel Curtain Rising: Ed, one of Mike Tomlin's first moves was to promote Johnny Mitchell to Assistant Head Coach. Based on what you've seen after four years, does Mitchell carry on an expanded role, or is the new title mainly ceremonial.
Ed Bouchette: I'm not going to call it ceremonial because it was bestowed on Mitch because of the respect everyone has for him. However, I do not believe his job description has changed because of it.
Mr. X: Do they want to bring back Willie Colon?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, or else they would not have given him a contract tender.
Steel Curtain Rising: ESPN reported that Mike Tomlin want to Texas to see Aaron Williams work out, does that really mean anything or is he just doing is due diligence?
Ed Bouchette: Everyone reported that MT was there because that workout was open. Mike is going to more workouts this year because he has more time to do so with none of his players permitted in the building. Remember when he went to Florida last year and most everyone said he was there to see Tim Tebow? Mike even went along with that. Then, they drafted Tebow's teammate, Maurkice Pouncey. Maybe Tomlin was there to see another cornerback, Curtis Brown. Or maybe he was there to see lB Sam Acho.
Steel Curtain Rising: Refresh my memory, Ed when is the hearing in front of the NLRB?
Ed Bouchette: NLRB moves slowly. The hearing of the players request for an injunction of the lockout is before the federal judge is tomorrow in Minn. I read a good piece on ESPN.com by legal expert who predicts she will issue the injunction, although it may not happen tomorrow.
steel_skot: What is your hunch about Ike? Will he remain a Steeler?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, they want him to stay and he wants to stay
Steve Sanders: Ed, I'm on my lunch break, listening to some smooth jazz, and chatting with a legend. Does life get any better than this? I doubt it!
Ed Bouchette: So, you're enjoying my smooth jazz. Who's the legend?
steeltownpride: I know its being talked about the Steelers going CB or OL in the first round . But was wondering if Taylor the big NT from Baylor was there at 31 the Steelers pull the trigger and get Hamptons replacement ?
Ed Bouchette: As I said earlier, a big man on the DL is always possible and he would Phil that bill.
Chuck in the press room: Where is the curmudgeonly Ed from last week who told a questioner to "get a life?"
Ed Bouchette: This is the smooth jazz version.
Bryan_Choy_hates_Tuna: Ed: deep down, do you think current NFL guys are worried their brains will have "future health issues" from years of crashing helmet to helmet?
Ed Bouchette: Not most, no. And I know it's politically incorrect not to worry about these guys' brains when they are 50, but I've known too many of them who are 50 to think that maybe some of that is a tad overblown. Just a tad. When we discover one with a problem, we make it sound like all of them have the problem. Again, I know too many who do not. They might have other health issues from playing the game -- many have undergone hip and knee replacements.
Ed Barr: Hi Ed, great work as always, what do you think the chances are that there wont be NFL football come September?
Ed Bouchette: I still believe the season will start on time, but that doesn't mean it won't go down to the last minute before they agree on something -- if a court hasn't already done so by then.
wd: What will coaches be doing after the draft if cba not resolved?
Ed Bouchette: Golf. Remember, I'm now on Twitter (yes, that was hard to type) @EdBouchette. See you next Tuesday.
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