<
>

Pittsburgh Steelers mailbag: Is Marcus Peters under serious consideration for first-round pick?

4/17/2015

Here is the latest Steelers mailbag. If you have a question, please send to @ScottBrown_ESPN with the #mail.

@ScottBrown_ESPN Great question, Mike, and one of more compelling ones when it comes to the Steelers and the draft. Marcus Peters probably could help them right away at a position where they could use it and has the potential to play a long time at a high level in the NFL. He is a tantalizing talent, but also a character risk given his dismissal from Washington’s team last November. I lean toward the Steelers passing on Peters if he is available at No. 22 with two caveats: Who else is on the board when the Steelers make their first pick, and how well did Peters sell himself to the team when he made a recent pre-draft visit to Pittsburgh?

@ScottBrown_ESPN The ramifications aren’t that much different in the case of Troy Polamalu as the Steelers still have to account for two-thirds of the $6.75 million signing bonus they gave him last March as part of a three-year contract. That would have been the case whether Polamalu retired or if the Steelers released the eight-time Pro Bowler. The Steelers gave Polamalu wide latitude to decide on his future out of respect to him and what he has meant to the organization. The Steelers had the luxury of taking that course since they did not need to clear room under the cap given what they have done in free agency. And, no, I don’t think waiting on Polamalu forced the Steelers to alter their approach to free agency. If it had, the Steelers would have forced the issue with Polamalu as much as they would not have wanted to do that.

@ScottBrown_ESPN Come on down, Ryan Shazier. I really think this kid is going to be a player -- if he stays healthy – and the Steelers are going to give their 2014 first-round pick every chance to establish himself as their weakside inside linebacker. The high ankle sprain he sustained last November really set him back, but I like the way Shazier responded to the adversity. He did not pout after playing behind the Sean Spence/Vince Williams tandem when healthy, and Shazier seems to be a good fit in the locker room and especially in the linebackers meeting room. His athleticism and character lead me to believe that Shazier is going to be a good one, and the competition at his position should only bring out the best in him. Shazier is among a handful of players who need to make a big jump next season if the Steelers want to field a defense that is anywhere from respectable to good.

@ScottBrown_ESPN As much as I hate to say it because I hold Brett Keisel in such high regard, I don’t think so. Never say never since an injury can change everything, but I think the Steelers committed to moving on from Keisel after releasing the 13-year veteran in March. I get the sense the Steelers are hoping Keisel sees at some point it is time to call it quits so he can finish his career where it started. My guess is that happens since I don’t anticipate Keisel going elsewhere given his deep attachment to Pittsburgh and the Steelers. But he is so competitive -- and that is the foundation of his close friendship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger -- that I could see Keisel trying to play another season. Maybe he stays in shape with the hopes the Steelers call, and if they don’t he retires.