Steelers' mailbag: Le'Veon Bell and the WRs

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
4:15
PM ET
Here is the latest Pittsburgh Steelers' mail bag. My apologies but I lost a bunch of questions because my Twitter timeline got so jammed from training camp updates. Please re-send your question if I did not get to it here and keep the questions coming. I'm hoping to run another mailbag on Monday and I'm sure there will be plenty of questions from the Steelers' first preseason game.

And away we go...



@ScottBrown_ESPN Props, Jeremy, for getting three questions in despite limited characters. I’m not sure whose idea it was for Bell to drop a little weight but I will ask him this week. He didn't strike me last season as a player who needed to shed a few pounds so my guess is that it was Bell’s decision. A couple of tough cuts will be made at wide receiver and in my latest 53-man roster projection I only have the Steelers keeping five players at the position. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Derek Moye are my odd men out but it is still so early. Taylor has looked and he said he is healthy after battling through injuries last season. I’m anxious to see him in preseason games though Taylor and the rest of the starters will probably only play a series or two Saturday night against the New York Giants.



@ScottBrown_ESPN Dangerfield making the 53-man roster. I know Adams has struggled through the first half of training camp but I can’t see the Steelers giving up on the 2012 second-round draft pick. If they cut Adams, Guy Whimper is the No. 3 offensive tackle and he is not better than Adams. As for Dangerfield he has been impressive and I think he has a chance to make the team though the Steelers probably have to keep five safeties for that to happen.



@ScottBrown_ESPN Outside linebacker Howard Jones has impressed me and one veteran told me that he “has a chance to be a player.” The Shepherd University product has obvious pass-rushing skills and last Friday night he twice beat tight end Heath Miller in the backs on ‘backers drill. My concern with Jones, aside from his having to make the jump from Division II to the NFL, is whether he is big enough. It would be ideal if he could spend a year on the practice squad and get bigger. The Steelers, however, may not be able to sneak Jones onto their practice squad if he plays well in preseason games.



@ScottBrown_ESPN No, I think Shamarko Thomas will play more than just special teams this season. Will Allen has made it tough for Thomas to get on the field as a third safety because of how well the 11th-year veteran has played since re-joining the Steeelers last October. But I think Thomas makes a big jump this season and at some point supplants Allen as the No. 3 safety. When that happens remains to be seen.



@ScottBrown_ESPN Either cornerback Cortez Allen or right tackle Marcus Gilbert. I have my doubts as to whether the Steelers get a new deal done with outside linebacker Jason Worilds, and they can use the transition tag again or franchise tag on him next year if they want to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent. That scenario is not ideal for either side. But it gives the Steelers protection if they don’t sign Worilds to a new deal yet don’t want to lose him after this season either. The problem with this scenario is it would leave the Steelers without a safety net in regard to Allen. They lost Keenan Lewis to free agency in 2013 and not signing him turned out to be a mistake. They certainly don’t want to lose another young cornerback, which makes me optimistic that the Steelers get something done with Allen before Sept. 7. The same goes for Gilbert, who played very well through the first half of training camp and is looking more and more like the right tackle of the present and future with Adams off to a slow start.



@ScottBrown_ESPN Nothing happening on either front and it’s looking like it’s going to take an injury for either player to return to the Steelers. I had Brett Keisel on my first projected 53-man roster but not the one that ran on Monday in large part because rookie Stephon Tuitt has looked so good in camp. He may start sooner rather than later at left defensive end and should play significant snaps this season. I still think Keisel would be a perfect addition so he could mentor Tuitt and add depth at defensive end. But right now it looks like the Steelers are committed to younger players at defensive end and outside linebacker. I don’t think the Steelers have ruled out re-signing either Keisel or James Harrison but, again, it may take an injury at their respective positions for them to pick up the phone.



@ScottBrown_ESPN Thomas has played well and he has gotten work with the first-team defense at left defensive end and nose tackle. He is the starter at left defensive end for now but Tuitt is such a talent that Thomas will only hold off the second-round draft pick for so long. The Steelers would love nothing more than for Tuitt to play his way into the starting lineup so they can use Thomas as a swing player between defensive end and nose tackle.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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