DormontyDawson: Gerry, Ed says you're attending the Combine later this month. Any players you are especially interested in seeing or talking to? I'm interested in Tyrann Matrhieu (LSU -- "Honey Badger") but not sure if he is invited.
Gerry Dulac: Did Ed tell you where I'm headed on vacation, too?
Yes, I am going to the combine and I will know more when I get there. But I am curious to see the defensive end/outside linebacker crop and the wide receiver talent, both of which will greatly interest the Steelers. And while you might be interested to see Mathieu, I sure hope the Steelers are not. The last thing they need is another player who ran afoul of the rules of the program -- in this instance, failing a durg test. You can have 'em. I hope they learned their lesson.
NY Brigade: Your thoughts as to which position will need to improve in order for the Steelers to improve next season? And your best guess on which position the Steelers need to draft with a high pick?
Gerry Dulac: I think the Steelers have to improve at a number of positions, starting with wide receiver. This is essential because the team should be built around Ben Roethlisberger, and the impending loss of Mike Wallace is only going diminish his quality targets, not to mention hurt what was a very disappointing unit in 2012.
The makeup of the roster has to change too. You can't keep 6 running backs and only 4 wide receivers when you have a quarterback like No. 7. The Packers had seven -- seven!! -- wide receivers and FIVE tight ends on their roster last year to accommodate Aaron Rogers. That is the first thing the Steelers must change.
And they have to get more production from their ouside linebackers. That is the lifeblood of their defense, and their failure to generate the necessary pressure from that position was a glaring fault/problem in 2012.
JamesinNYC: Do you interview many guys at the draft or do you stick to Steeler folks.
Gerry Dulac: Well, if you mean the combine, I interview a lot of the top players -- and some of the Steelers people -- because I'm there in Indy. If you mean the draft, I interview only Steelers people because I'm at the Steelers facility for the draft.
DormontyDawson: Gerry, Ed didn't mention your vacation spot but feel free to share. Speaking of WRs, Wes Welker has made a career out of running the 5 yard "down and out," a pattern utilized in every flag football league I've ever played in yet somehow uncoverable at the NFL level. West Virginia WR Tavon Austin could run Welker's patterns from Day One. Why not draft Austin, put him in the slot, move A. Brown and E Sanders out wide? Your thoughts?
Gerry Dulac: Let me say this -- the last thing the Steelers need in a receiver is another small slot guy. What they need is a big, tall outside guy, so moving Brown and Sanders to the outside is not a very good idea. Brown is already out there anyway and that is fine. But the Steelers want to get a little taller on the outside, not smaller.
JamesinNYC: Sorry brain cramp I meant combine. Anyone you that you interviewed stick out enough that you either kept in touch with them or regretted the Steelers not taking them?
Gerry Dulac: I thought so. Funny you ask that. The guy I liked at the time, thought he would have been a great Steelers pick and has become a tremendous player is 49ers guard Mike Iupati. I remember talking to him at the combine and him telling me how his entire family was Steelers fans. He was picked at No. 17 in the first round in 2010, right before the Steelers, who took Maurkice Pouncey at 18. Tough to argue with that.
DormontyDawson: Gerry, All right -- no Austin and no Mathieu (who I wouldn't pick before the 3rd Rd). And I'd love to see a brutish OLB available at the 17th pick. But I get the feeling the best player available when Steelers pick will be an offensive guard or tackle. In my humble opinion, you cna't have too much talent and beef on your O-Line. Would you recommend the Steelers bypassing a higher rated O-lineman in order to fill a need at WR or OLB?
Gerry Dulac: Absolutely. I don't think the Steelers have any intention of drafting a tackle or guard on the first round, or in any of the first three rounds for that matter. To me, they have so many other issues they need to address, specifically WR, RB, backup QB, ILB, OLB.
NY Brigade: Thanks for your comments. I couldn't agree more. IMO, we need someone of Boldin's size and skill. Can't stand the Ravens, but you can't deny his ability to get up over a defernder, position himself properly, fight for the ball and hold on to it. I thought we had that in AB until last season. Any shot at grabbing such a talent in this draft?
Gerry Dulac: Antonio Brown is not that type of receiver, not like Boldin. That was more Hines Ward's niche. But Todd Haley would like to get a tall receiver for Roethlisberger, so i would expect the Steelers to identify that type of player in the draft. If that's me, I use two of my top five picks on WRs, not waiting till the seventh round like they did last year.
Gerry Dulac: Well, that's all the time we have today, kids. Thanx for the questions. We'll do it again next week. Bye now.
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