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Steelers mailbag: Positions to target in first three rounds?

1/20/2015

@ScottBrown_ESPN: I will go with outside linebacker, cornerback and tight end and maybe in that order. The Pittsburgh Steelers have to take a cornerback early but I think the way the draft sets up that it makes more sense for them to wait until the second round to address the position -- especially since they may have more of a need for a pass rusher. The Steelers very well could go defense with their first three picks but I think there is a good chance they select a tight end early given the long-term outlook at the position.



@ScottBrown_ESPN: I'd be surprised if they give up on Cortez Allen. They aren't exactly brimming with young talent at the position and they did not give up on Ike Taylor after he got benched in 2006. That worked out pretty well for them and leads me to believe they will give Allen another chance. I think there is a good chance the Steelers release Cam Thomas, who didn't give them much in 2014 and would only cost $500,000 against the salary cap in 2015 if they cut ties with him. I'd be surprised if veteran wide receiver Lance Moore is back -- I think he would be too -- as he also has a minimal cap hit in 2015 ($322,500) if the Steelers release him.


@ScottBrown_ESPN: I don't think the signing of Shawn Lemon will have anything to do with what the Steelers plan to do with Jason Worilds. I suppose Lemon's signing provides a little insurance if Worilds walks and certainly adds intrigue at outside linebacker given Lemon's production in the Canadian Football League. But right now all he has is a chance to make the Steelers at a position where they could be thin. The Steelers can't assume Lemon's play in the CFL will translate to the NFL. They would love it if he follows a similar script as Miami defensive end Cameron Wake, who has 63 sacks since signing with the Dolphins in 2009. But Wake is the exception and not the rule as far as former CFL stars making a similar impact in the NFL.


@ScottBrown_ESPN: It will be over $100 million and probably more than five years. The Steelers can realistically expect five more good seasons out of Ben Roethlisberger, which is why he will get another big contract. My guess is the deal is in the six- to seven-year deal range so it helps the Steelers as far as spreading out Roethlisberger's signing bonus over the length of the contract. It will be interesting to see what the numbers are but this deal will get done. Both sides want it and will make it happen.


@ScottBrown_ESPN: I don't think offensive coordinator Todd Haley should be fired after the Steelers' offense turned in one of the best seasons in franchise history. Haley's play-calling in the wild-card game against the Baltimore Ravens would be considerably down the list as far as my reasons why the Steelers lost. And it certainly didn't help that the Steelers were missing Le'Veon Bell because of a hyperextended right knee and could not run their offense through the All-Pro running back. The offense has taken significant steps forward with Haley as the coordinator and could be even better next season. He isn't going anywhere.


@ScottBrown_ESPN: I don't think there is any question that the Steelers' schedule will be more difficult than it was in 2014. Everything lined up for the Steelers last season, including the fact that they did not play one game west of the Mississippi River. That changes in 2015 as they have several long road trips, including one to Seattle. The plus side, if you are looking for one in regard to a schedule that looks pretty daunting on paper, is that the Steelers have a recent tendency of playing to the level of their competition. If that continues in 2015 they should be able to hold their own despite the difficulty of their schedule.