Answer Man: Spring-time special

<b>JW: </b>Answer Man, I haven't seen you since we sat down to watch Ben Roethlisberger on Thursday night football. If I remember your feelings about him, you should be pretty happy about the recent developments. <br><br><b>Answer Man: </b>Sure am. I never thought we'd get him, especially back then. But, things happen. <br><br><b>JW: </b>The late word in the media was that you guys were going to draft Shawn Andrews. How close was that to coming true?

AM: We could've taken him. He has a weight problem, and that's an awful lot of money to spend on a right tackle, but we could've taken him if Roethlisberger hadn't slipped.

JW: In looking back, I'm a little surprised Buffalo didn't try to trade up for Roethlisberger.

AM: As you know I'm not a big J.P. Losman fan. When a coach feels he has to convince you that a kid really is a good kid, I become suspicious. Strange kid. Lot of talent, but strange. But, what surprised me most about Buffalo is that they didn't offer a second-rounder for (Drew) Henson. They sent everybody to look at him, and I know (Tom) Clements really liked him.

JW: Well, the contract was tough. I assume the contract, the guaranteed salary that had to go with, it was the reason the Steelers stayed away from Henson.

AM: Well, true. But I think it had more to do with (Philip) Rivers. That's the guy we wanted.

JW: I understand if it came down to Roethlisberger or Rivers, you guys had them rated even and would've gone with Rivers.

AM: I think Mr. Rooney would've jumped in and told us to take Roethlisberger. He really likes him.

JW: So you all must've been happy with the first day.

AM: Yes, if the third-rounder comes through.

JW: What's your opinion of Max Starks?

AM: First of all, that kind of size is rare, and he can easily take his weight up to 380. Also, he played hurt.

JW: Let me stop you right there. The kid had a sprained ankle for two years? Come on. What's that all about?

AM: Misdiagnosis. If you don't diagnose a high ankle sprain early, you're going to have a lot of trouble with it. So we know he plays hurt, he's huge, he can pass block, he's versatile - he played both tackle spots and guard - and he wants to play. He wants to be good.

JW: You're sure about that?

AM: Oh, yeah. The knock on him is his toughness and that's coming from (Florida Coach Ron) Zook. But he says that about everyone. No one's tough enough for Zook.

JW: As for the second day, I guess you guys really like Matt Kranchick. He could probably become another Jay Riemersma.

AM: He'll be bigger. Much bigger. He has a great frame and will put on a lot of weight. I like Bo Lacy and I like Eric Taylor. The only real mistake I think we made on the second day was Drew Caylor. He's an OK long-snapper, nothing special, particularly when you just gave Mike Schneck $80,000 and signed Chance Pearce. He was a draft pick last year who we plucked off a practice squad. I just didn't understand it. Either give Schneck a take-it-or-leave-it contract without a bonus or don't draft one. I wouldn't have drafted one either way.

JW: I can't help but think Lacy was a mistake, too.

AM: Blue-collar mauler. Bill (Cowher) liked him. He kept showing up on the Andrews tape. He's an upgrade over Todd Fordham. He'll make the team.

JW: So whom would you have drafted instead of Caylor?

AM: That's easy. Quincy Wilson. (Running backs coach) Dick Hoak loves him. Says he's the next Rudi Johnson.

JW: Which free agents do you like?

AM: We had draftable grades on Nick McNeil and Brandon Calton. I also like Dedrick Roper. McNeil is a linebacker who can drop into coverage; Calton could become a cheaper Chris Hoke; and Roper's a pass-rusher.

JW: Who's draft didn't you like?

AM: New England's. Man, you talk about drafting bad character. You know about Corey Dillon, right? Well Vince Wilfork has a weight problem and Cedric Cobbs, I mean besides the alcohol and pot, he didn't impress anyone at the combine with the way he acted. But the worst one of all is Marquise Hill. Not only is he a lousy prospect, he's a bad, bad dude. You'll be hearing more about the stunt he pulled later.

JW: Final question, what did you think about Plaxico Burress' stunt?

AM: Stupid. All he had to do was ask Cowher and he'd have given him Sunday off. I guess Plax doesn't realize how easy it is to find receivers. You can usually get a good one in the middle rounds. Stupid.

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