Walker's weekend mailbag: Boldin's impact

March, 6, 2010
3/06/10
3:00
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It's been an interesting couple of days keeping track of trades and free agency. But let's take a breather for a few minutes and answer some questions.

Renato from Brazil writes: Will the Baltimore Ravens' trade for Anquan Boldin put a bigger emphasis on the Pittsburgh Steelers making a move to improve their secondary?

James Walker: Good question, Renato. I think Pittsburgh needed an upgrade at cornerback even before the Boldin trade. The return of safety Troy Polamalu will cure a lot of ills. But I'm still not convinced William Gay or Joe Burnett or Keenan Lewis are ready to be full-time starters. I am interested in seeing how these players will develop in the offseason, though. Perhaps one will step up.

Will from Pittsburgh writes: Do you think there is any possibility of the Steelers going after a corner in free agency, someone like Roderick Hood or Leigh Bodden?

Walker: Will, the Steelers reportedly have interest in Bodden, who went to school at nearby Duquesne and is familiar with the division after playing with the Cleveland Browns. But Bodden is one of the top corners on the market and will get a lot of interest. Hood would not be a good fit for Pittsburgh, in my opinion.

Josh from Charlottesville, Va., writes: Of the Ravens players that received first-round tenders, are there any that the Ravens wouldn't part ways with for a first-round pick?

Walker: Of course, it would depend on the pick (No. 1 or No. 32?), Josh. But starting left tackle Jared Gaither would be the one player I think could make the Ravens hesitate the most. I probably won't matter, anyway, because most likely none of the players with first-round tenders will garner that type of interest.

Zack from Washington D.C. writes: What does the release of receiver Laveranues Coles mean for the Bengals pursuit of a receiver in free agency or the draft?

Walker: It means the Bengals have to fill Coles' starting job, Zack. The current group of Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson and Matt Jones do not appear capable of filling that void. Without the penalty due to an uncapped year, the team felt it was the right time to cut ties with Coles. It just wasn't a good fit. Personally, I think Terrell Owens could fit in Cincinnati much better for one year. But I'm told the team's interest in Owens isn't as high as people think. Perhaps that could change at some point.

Karl from Cincinnati wants to know the chances of University of Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard playing for the Bengals.

Walker: There is a natural link there, Karl, because Gilyard would love to stay in Cincinnati and the team needs a receiver. The problem is when you're a second- or third-round prospect, anything can happen on draft day. Thirty-one other teams will have a chance on Gilyard, and it only takes one team to like him. So there certainly are no guarantees he lands in Cincinnati.

Greg from Schulenburg, Texas, writes: If you were the Browns, how would cornerback Joe Haden's slow 40 time affect your decision making?

Walker: That's a tough question, Greg, because usually I wouldn't put too much stock into it. But this might be the exception. Considering the position he plays and where the Browns are drafting, you have to be certain you're getting a franchise player at No. 7. The Browns will invest a ton of money into that pick, and if there is anything that casts a little bit of doubt, such as a slow 40 time, then maybe Cleveland should think twice. If safety Eric Berry and Haden are both available, I'm taking Berry. Both project to be very good players, but I can't think of any concerns with Berry.

Tony from Stow, Ohio, writes: How likely are the Browns to draft an offensive lineman in the first round this year?

Walker: It's not likely, Tony. There are some good OL prospects in the top 10 this year. But the Browns have the left side set, and with particularly left tackle with Joe Thomas. Cleveland has the seventh pick and most teams that pick that high take a left tackle. (Cincinnati and RT Andre Smith last year was an exception.) The Browns will address other needs early, then address the right side of the line in free agency or later in the draft.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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