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Pittsburgh Steelers mailbag II: Is Ronald Darby a possibility in the first round?

3/29/2015

Here is the second part of the Steelers mailbag. If you have a question please send to @ScottBrown_ESPN with the #mail.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: That seems a little high and I would think the second round would be more likely as far as the Steelers taking Ronald Darby. Then again, who knows how the Steelers' draft board is shaping up? Darby has excellent speed, comes from a pedigreed program and has another attribute that could draw the Steelers to him. Darby played just three seasons at Florida State before declaring for the draft and only turned 21 in January. The Steelers have a recent history of taking third-year juniors high in the draft because of their upside. They have also had success with players who fall into that category, such as center Maurkice Pouncey, running back Le'Veon Bell and linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: I don't see them taking a small-school prospect who will be a project before the fourth round but Trail is interesting for a number of reasons. The 6-foot-7, 269-pounder is long and athletic and he could play a number of different positions in the NFL, from outside linebacker to defensive end and even tight end. Trail has undeniable physical talent but he is raw and did not play regularly against strong competition while at Norfolk State. I would think the Steelers have too many other needs, particularly on defense, to take a prospect such as Trail with one of their first three picks. He could be in play after that if he is still on the board.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: I think it is unfair to label Ryan Shazier injury prone after just one NFL season. If the 2014 first-round pick misses a significant number of games again this season because of injuries, then it is fair to raise questions about whether he can stay on the field. I got the vibe from coach Mike Tomlin at the NFL owners meetings that the Steelers expect Shazier to make a big jump in his second NFL season, though he has competition at weakside inside linebacker in Sean Spence and Vince Williams. The hope is that the competition brings out the best in Shazier and, of course, he stays healthy. He is among the players the Steelers need to fulfill his enormous potential for the defense to make strides in 2015.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: Dick LeBeau had no desire to retire, even at the age of 77, and the Steelers did not want to risk losing linebackers coach Keith Butler or continue to pay him a salary close to what a lot of coordinators make. That is why the change was made. I don't think LeBeau and Tomlin were at odds over how he ran the defense, and the decline of the defense had nothing to do with LeBeau and everything to do with the all of the turnover that has taken place over the last couple of seasons. Tomlin has every right as the head coach to make changes to his staff, even when it comes to someone as accomplished and revered as LeBeau. I will say, based on what I have heard, is that Tomlin and the Steelers should have handled it better. It was a clumsy change at defensive coordinator just as it had been in 2012 when the Steelers forced offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to retire because they wanted to make a change. Arians is now enjoying one of the greatest retirements in the history of mankind and I think LeBeau will have success running the Tennessee Titans' defense.

@ScottBrown_ESPN: I would guess no. Bryant is coming off a disappointing season in Jacksonville and turns 31 next month. Plus at 6-4, 323 pounds, Bryant projects as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense and the Steelers are happy with Steve McLendon and also have a developmental player at the position in Daniel McCullers. I think they are more likely to sign a free-agent defensive end for depth and Alex Carrington is still available. He visited the Steelers last year before signing with the St. Louis Rams.