AFC North mailbag: Steeler Nation

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Reader from Easton, Md. writes: I recently heard that Michael Bush (Raiders) could be traded for a draft pick. He is young and when healthy could be the BIG back that the Steelers have been missing since Bettis left. I just don't think that Mendenhall will pan out. Your thoughts? Mike

James Walker: I'm somewhat surprised with the amount of e-mails I get asking about Pittsburgh's tailbacks. The Steelers won the Super Bowl with a running back by committee last season. Willie Parker had one down year where he suffered multiple injuries. Rashard Mendenhall is being written off as a rookie. Mewelde Moore is a solid backup that people seem to already forget about. I have not heard any connection with Bush, but I would stick with this group over Bush anyway. You can't get rid of Parker or Mendenhall, and Moore is the team's best third-down option. Gary Russell is there in case one of those three gets hurt. The offensive line needs more of an upgrade than the tailbacks, but it's obvious some in Steeler Nation disagree.

Tim from Philly writes: With the signing of Kemoeatu, it's pretty obvious that, barring any major cuts or contract restructurings, the Steelers (unfortunately) won't have the cap room available to resign McFadden. Do you think Gay ready to take over?

James Walker: Tim, the Steelers just aren't an organization that overpays for players. William Gay was gradually worked in as the season went along last year, and there wasn't too much of a drop off. But the jury is still out when it comes to being a full-time starter. With Pittsburgh's pass rush, it may not matter.

Reader from Harlem NY: Is there any chance that byron leftwich will remain a steeler?

James Walker: With the amount of quarterback movement so far in free agency, my guess is that Leftwich will find an opportunity to compete for a starting job somewhere. If not, returning to the Steelers will be his best option if he remains a backup.

Austin from Charleston, SC writes: Now that the Ravens have acquired Foxworth at CB, do you still see them drafting one 1st round and if not what position will they draft?

James Walker: Austin, the Ravens patched the cornerback hole in free agency so it now gives the team some flexibility in the draft. At the end of the season, the team's two biggest needs were cornerback and receiver. Now a wideout moves to the top of the list, and Baltimore has to be very impressed with the speed in this year's group. The team also could release veteran cornerback Samari Rolle down the road. So a nickel cornerback could be added later in the draft, but not in the first round.

Dustin from Zanesville writes: Do you think the browns will make any moves in free agency. i mean i don't want them to get rid of players an not pick anyone up i am just saying u can not replace people through the draft they are not ready there is so many good players still out there. thanks for time.

James Walker: Of course the Browns will make moves in free agency, Dustin. There is just a huge cloud of secrecy in Berea, Ohio, this offseason where most people do not know what Eric Mangini is up to. It doesn't mean Cleveland isn't making any moves as we speak. It's just the team is doing a great job of keeping everything in house. I believe the Browns will address the defense first, particularly linebacker and safety. But no one knows for sure.