Hey, Wex (3/9)

In a philosophical shift, we're calling this column, "Hey, Wex." I'm still taking questions from the message board, but now your comments, diatribes, rants and insults are also fair game. Enjoy.

SoCalC: Hey Wex, I know the popular sentiment is draft CB or O-line with the first pick, but I think another true playmaking ballhawk in the mold of Troy (or Earl Thomas) helps the defense even more by allowing Troy to move closer to the line and make him even more difficult to game-plan for. With a deep pool of CBs, I just think if the Steelers really have a guy at safety they think is a slam dunk that is where they would go. Thoughts? Thanks.

I'm late getting to some of these questions. In fact today I'm finally getting to the bottom of the queue. Of course we've hashed the Rahim Moore argument pretty thoroughly on the message board. He's the only free safety with first-round potential, and even that is in question. You make a good point, but the game is changing and putting eight in the box just might be fruitless against the elite passing attacks anyway, no matter what kind of talent a defense has at any given position. Against the majority of teams, though, my guess is a good cover cornerback would allow the Steelers to keep only one safety over the top as well.

The momentum I'm sensing from fans who want to get rid of Ryan Clark reminds me of the annual calls for the team to cut Brent Alexander. But veteran defensive coordinators love veteran free safeties, regardless of speed or lack thereof.

WYSteeler: Hey Wex, I know that you previously stated that you really like Dontay Moch. Just a few questions on him: Where would he play in the Steelers' defense and what round do you think he will go in? Also, would they have enough interest to take him?

I'm just having some fun with Moch, whom I see as a second-rounder. I only watched him twice, and the second time – Nevada's bowl game – I barely paid attention to him because he doesn't fit a Steelers need. I just love that speed. In the game I did pay close attention, against Boise State, Moch, a defensive end, covered the fastest receiver in his league deep down the field and broke up a pass. I pondered a fit at inside linebacker, but if the kid doesn't have good instincts, as someone pointed out to me, then that would be the wrong position for him. That's why Kendrell Bell went from Rookie of the Year to free-agent scrap heap after only one contract.

fellasheowed: Will Ike Taylor command, and I can't believe I am saying this, Stanford Routt money? Three years 30 millionish?

And thank you Al Davis for wrecking the curve. Unless young Mr. Routt has improved drastically from the last time I saw him, that's an absurd contract. Taylor won't get anything close to that from the Steelers, but my hunch is he won't even try. Taylor wants to stay here and hopefully will be happy with a more reasonable offer during what I'm expecting will be a brief and rushed free agency period in which teams will most likely re-sign their own players.

tureoh75: Jim, please tell me my fears won't come true, Steelers drafting Baldwin.

You must've been as disappointed as I in Jon Baldwin's performance at Pitt last season. But, I have to say that I thought he was a top-10 prospect the previous year, and if he falls to pick 31 he'd probably have a big chip on his shoulder and would be driven to succeed.

I've dug into him a bit and was surprised to learn he's a very hard worker. My beef was that he didn't seem to be much of a competitor, but teammates and Kevin Colbert disagree with me. So, if a team that looks at character as seriously as the Steelers believes in Baldwin, I'm going to trust their instincts. Hopefully that's not just wish fulfillment on my part.

SteelerBill13: Hey Wex, I'm curious. If you could have coffee with any pro athlete of any era, who would it be? And why?

And Wex, what would your advice be to Charlie Sheen?

I'd tell him to stop doing coke. Then again, why would it matter? Charlie Sheen can afford it, his health is his own business, he's already lost his family and his job, and he probably would lose his goddesses if he stopped. Maybe he could give it up for Lent at least and see how that works for him.

As for coffee with an athlete, I want to say someone as colorful as Bobby Layne, but I'm hearing more and more that he was an ass. Since I've been fortunate enough to have already sat down with Troy Polamalu and Jack Lambert, I'll pick Walter Payton.

mightyveg: Hey, Wex: Any chance B-Mac is our future FS, when Ryan Clark is done? Is he heady enough for that position?

Also, how does the Colon tender change the OL draft calculus? Does it mean there's no way we draft that position in R1 unless we get a Rashard Mendenhall-type situation where we're shocked that someone we're high on is still there?

Also, does that tender mean Flozell Adams isn't coming back? That they're high on Colon? Or that they just want the R1 compensation (assuming that system remains unchanged in the new CBA)?

Bryant McFadden is the modern-day Chad Scott. The bigger, veteran corners are always viewed as potential free safeties. B-Mac is certainly heady enough, but I don't know how he'd handle the angles in the middle of the field. That's the key. It would be a process, so I'm not ready to consider it just yet.

The Steelers tendered Willie Colon because they haven't heard back from Flozell Adams about his plans for next season. Don't look too deeply into this. The Steelers simply don't want to end up without either one of them at right tackle. If they somehow end up with both, that's great because then they could forget about the position on draft day, unless value smacks them over the head – and we all know how rarely that happens with offensive tackles.


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