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Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Steelers and Ravens mailbag

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Let's answer some questions about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

Ken from Washington, D.C., writes: Do you believe secondary help now becomes the biggest hole to fill for the Steelers?

James Walker: Ken, it depends on what happens with pending free agent Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh's No. 1 cornerback. If the Steelers do not re-sign Taylor to a long-term extension, then cornerback is definitely Pittsburgh’s biggest need. If the team keeps Taylor, who will be 31 in May, then it’s close between the secondary and offensive line. The Steelers also could bolster their guard and tackle positions this offseason.

Brian Kroskey from Sacramento, Calif., writes: Do you think it's likely that the Steelers will draft Mike Pouncey, Maurkice Pouncey's twin brother?

Walker: Mike Pouncey would be a good fit for the Steelers at guard, Brian. But most early projections have him rated higher than Pittsburgh’s No. 31 pick. Barring a trade, I don’t see it happening. But the Steelers have traded up in the first round before.

Dave from Birmingham, Ala., writes: Any information on the physical status of the Steelers two injured OTs Willie Colon and Max Starks?

Walker: Both players are doing well, Dave. I talked to Starks before the Super Bowl and he actually felt he was healthy enough to play in the Super Bowl if he wasn’t already placed on injured reserve. Colon is getting healthy, as well. But he’s a free agent and the Steelers have to decide if they want to bring him back.



Dennis Neal from Baltimore writes: Why must you crush our dream of having both Haloti Ngata and Nnamdi Asomugha with the Ravens?

Walker: The AFC North blog isn't the place for pipe dreams, Dennis. The Ravens cannot make Ngata the NFL's highest-paid defensive lineman and Asomugha the NFL's highest-paid corner in the same offseason. It's just not realistic. But that doesn't mean Baltimore can't pursue more affordable options like Johnathan Joseph and Champ Bailey. I think either corner would be a great acquisition.

Kurt Pfeiffer from West Chester, Pa., wants to know if he should be concerned about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

Walker: Don't expect me to get in on the bashing Flacco bandwagon this offseason, Kurt. I think Flacco is a good, young quarterback who’s become a target for his early success. Young quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan are heroes in New York and Atlanta, respectively. Yet Flacco has done equal or more in his three seasons in terms of winning and statistics and is being criticized for falling short of this season's high expectations. It's up to Flacco to continue to show growth in his fourth season, but I think he's ahead of many young quarterbacks.

Greg from Baltimore wants to know if the Ravens will retain Donte' Stallworth instead of drafting a speedy receiver.

Walker: I think there is a decent chance, Greg. The Ravens have met with agent Drew Rosenhaus to discuss Stallworth, Jared Gaither and some other players. Stallworth made a very good impression in Baltimore's locker room and won the Ed Block Courage Award this season for overcoming his personal hardships. I think his injury to start the season set him back in terms of production and finding a role. But either way, I anticipate Baltimore looking at speedy receivers in the draft.