Ask Wex

It's April, "the cruelest month," according to a great poet, because it's a time we mix memory with desire. That about sums up the anticipation of Steelers fans before the draft.

Randy Steele: Who most likely is this year's falling star in the first round? (And if he falls to the Steelers at 1.17, would they snatch him up as they did last year with David DeCastro?)

Remember, the Steelers went into that draft looking to trade up for DeCastro. Wisely, they didn't take the plunge because he fell to them. This year? My guess is Ziggy Ansah or, again, one of the guards. I wouldn't pass on either of those options, but I fear the Steelers would. As for Jarvis Jones, the public will consider him "a falling star" but I won't.

Ericksen72: Which of the guys that could/might be around at 17 best addresses the Answer Man's preference for a splash player (paraphrasing)?

Last January, Answer Man said this: "I don't care what position he plays as long as he's dynamic. I want someone that even you, all the way up in the press box, can look down and say, ‘Wow, that's a dynamic player.' I don't want some guy the coach has to say, ‘Let me look at the film,' to tell me if the guy had a good game or not."

The only guy who fits that description, to me, is Tavon Austin. After scanning a list I would also throw Chance Warmack and Star Lotulelei into that category.

Gitterdoneright: If the Steelers should draft a guard and wide receiver in the first and second rounds, would they both be plug-and-play guys? Say Warmack and Justin Hunter?

My first reaction to that question with the Steelers is to always say no, but when I think about it I think that it's possible. LG Ramon Foster lost his job last year to DeCastro before DeCastro got hurt. And WR Emmanuel Sanders is more of a slot receiver, so I'm sure the coaching staff would be looking to get a No. 3 WR – a rookie who's shown more in camp than Jerricho Cotchery – on the field more quickly since it would move Sanders into a better fit.

WYSteelers: One player that I haven't heard mentioned as much here is CB Desmond Trufant. It seems as though he is a player who is considered a first-rounder. Could he be a wildcard to land with the Steelers?

I doubt it. He strikes me as more of a cover corner. But you're right, he is a first-rounder that I rarely mention. The same goes for Jamar Taylor of Boise State. He might just be the first corner taken and I've never mentioned him. It's such a thick crop of corners. I assume they're more interested in a tall zone corner like Tuesday's visitor, Blidi Wreh-Wilson of UConn. He might be the most perfect fit for them in the draft (and did you notice they have yet to announce his visit?) There are plenty of smaller guys such as Will Davis, whom they can groom as slot corners.

Hodge33: If he slips to No. 17 – Lane Johnson?

Absolutely.

Steelerjunky: Don't see one myself, but are there any players in the first round that you think the Steelers would consider trading up for? And with the apparent shortage of true first-round talent available, what are the odds the Steelers would gamble on and pick WR Cordarrelle Patterson or OLB Jarvis Jones?

I really don't see anyone for whom they should or would trade up, but then again I didn't think it wise to plan to trade up for DeCastro, as was their plan last season. I would much prefer to see them trade down for one of the 4.5+ receivers.

As for Patterson or Jones, I wouldn't draft either in the first round, but I could see the Steelers doing so because they have a need for both a WR and kick returner, and they always wanted to play Lawrence Timmons at OLB and Jones strikes me as the same guy, only slower. Wonderlic tests, stopwatches and tape measures don't seem to affect the Steelers much. Although I will remind you that even after James Harrison became a star one of their scouts told me they still wouldn't draft him because of his lack of size and speed.

Randy Steele: True or False: Mike Tomlin exercises more of his influence early in the draft (rounds 1 - 3) than he does later in the draft?

True, only because those are the players he studies and meets. He trusts his personnel department to study and meet all of the players.

Mineola: Is a late round (UDFA) QB still a viable option? Just wondering if they will kick the tires on the Lalich kid from Cal (PA)? Has he put his troubles behind him and matured?

I would assume a late-round or UDFA QB is very viable, but I know nothing of Peter Lalich, other than he's a big guy who's had past issues with alcohol. If you had asked me this before the combine I would've asked Rontez Miles about him.


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