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Jameis Winston or Jalen Hurts, which QB would Steelers fans prefer?

Behind the Steel Curtain - 2 hours 36 min ago
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Jameis Winston is the established veteran, but is Jalen Hurts worth the investment?

The biggest question mark facing the future of the Steelers franchise is who will take the reins once Ben Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame career comes to an end. While the Steelers don't have to make a decision at QB this year, I don't think Kevin Colbert wants to get caught with Mason Rudolph or Duck Hodges again in the event Roethlisberger is unable to perform for one reason or another.

Two names have prominently been bounced around among Pittsburgh Steelers fans across the world wide web.

For top overall draft pick, and ex-Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston, and former Oklahoma Qb Jalen Hurts.

In Winston the Steelers would be getting the proven commodity. While he is a talented thrower, and he would fit the Steelers system quite seamlessly, there are his detractors, namely being careless with the football. But that's where the fit lies. Winston taking a year or two to learn from a future Hall of Famer could see him become a solid QB again when he comes out the other side.

Don’t get it twisted. If Jameis Winston wants to play in the NFL again it’s going to be on a contract that fits into the teams cap situation. The deal however won't be more than two years, but if Jameis can prove he’s worthy of the opportunity and Ben does indeed retire at his contract’s expiration I don't see why he couldn't receive a second deal.

And then there's Jalen Hurts. The Alabama turned Oklahoma signal caller has a championship pedigree, a strong arm and the best mobility of any QB in the 2020 draft class. Hurts’ biggest detractors are tendencies to force the ball into tough matchups, and taking off with the ball instead of climbing the pocket and keeping his eyes down field. Those issues again can be fixed by sitting behind someone like Roethlisberger for a couple seasons before taking over.

The biggest pro in drafting Hurts, over signing Winston, is the 4-year deal mixed with the low 3rd round price tag. The biggest pro in signing Winston over Hurts is that you already know you have a starting capable QB.

The biggest con in signing Winston over drafting Hurts is he could leave a year after the projected 2-year deal to play elsewhere and the team is left with no one than their current depth chart at the position. But the con in drafting Hurts is that he could never develop into a NFL caliber thrower.

So what do you think? Do you want the Steelers to sign Jameis Winston or spend a draft pick on Jalen Hurts? Or do you think the team should hold off on a QB all together? Let us know in the comments below!

Chase Claypool: A budding new draft romance for Pittsburgh Steelers fans?

Behind the Steel Curtain - 3 hours 51 min ago
Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Steelers fans sometimes have a wandering eye and often lust after various prospects as the NFL Draft approaches each spring. It would appear that Chase Claypool, the big, rugged receiver out of Notre Dame, is their latest draft crush.

The Steelers draft fan is a bit of a fickle mistress—some would say she has a wandering eye.

Not long ago, she was playing the field and sending out indicators of interest to Jalen Hurts, the handsome Oklahoma quarterback and possible heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger, as well as J.K. Dobbins, the smokin’ hot running back out of Ohio State who could easily make her forget about the on-again, off-again, love/hate romance with Le’Veon Bell.

But when it comes to the insatiable Steelers draft fan, she’s always on the prowl for someone new, and just who is the potential new suitor in her life? How about Chase Claypool, the big, rugged receiver out of Notre Dame?

Yes, despite some perfectly fine receivers at home to choose from in JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson, whenever Claypool’s name is mentioned, the Steelers draft fan’s eyes just light up. “If he was there at 49, you better believe I’d take a shot at that fella,” she’s often heard whispering to her friends whenever Pittsburgh’s needs in the 2020 NFL Draft are discussed.

Let’s take a look at this mystery hunk, shall we?

According to Chase’s Wikipedia Page, he was born in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. A weird sounding hometown, yes, but if he’s from Canada, he’s surely nice and courteous—every Steelers draft fan loves a gentleman.

As per College Football Reference, Claypool played four years at South Bend and increased his production each season, from five to 29 to 50 to 66 receptions for 1,037 years in his senior year. Ambitious, a climber, someone who is never satisfied where he is—no wonder Steelers draft fan suddenly has her eye on him.

When you pore over Chase’s post-Combine NFL.com Draft Profile, you see that, for starters, he’s 6’4” and 238 pounds, physical attributes that draw comparisons to Miles Boykin, a former college teammate and a current member of the Baltimore Ravens.

How fast is Claypool? 4.42 in the 40. How strong? 19 reps in the bench press. I don’t know about you, but those sound like the traits of a hunter and gatherer.

What else does NFL.com say about Claypool? “Strong competitive nature.” That’s hot. “Presents a sizable target with an expansive catch radius.” Finally, Big Ben might have his big red zone soulmate.

What else? “Pancake maker with nasty demeanor as run blocker.” Step back! Now I see Steelers draft fan’s infatuation—nothing she desires more than a receiver who loves to block.

There are some unflattering traits, such as “Pedestrian release to challenge press” and “Not a natural technician as a ball-catcher.” Also, according to his draft profile, “Claypool doesn’t have shake to get much separation underneath,” but who says Steelers draft fan wants him to go anywhere? She’s changed receivers before, and she’ll do it again!

What about his social media activity? After all, if there’s one thing that turns Steelers draft fan off, it’s a man who runs his mouth, doesn’t listen and makes it all about him.

If we go to his Twitter page, we see that, on March 5, Claypool went live on some video chat service called Yoke. Oh no, a brand furthering-type—I can see Steelers draft fan quickly losing interest.

Receivers, they’re all alike.

But wait a second, did you see the pancake block Claypool laid on some poor beta defender back in 2017? Steelers draft fan just noticed, and now she can’t stop giggling like a schoolgirl.

As of now, Claypool is projected to be available when the Steelers make their move with the 49th pick (Round 2) of the 2020 NFL Draft, but will he still be available? You know how it is with draft fans, the second other draft fans start noticing a player, that player becomes much more attractive and begins to draw attention from all around. Maybe that’s why it was no surprise that draft guru Mel Kiper had the Packers taking Claypool at the end of Round 1 in his latest mock draft.

Steelers draft fan is clearly smitten with Claypool, but she may now have company.

Chase Claypool, quite possibly the new man in Steelers draft fan’s life. Is this the start of something special or just a fleeting infatuation?

Podcast: What does a “win now” approach look like for the Steelers in the draft?

Behind the Steel Curtain - 4 hours 53 min ago

In the latest episode of “Steelers Q&A” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

The Steelers have made a splash in free agency with a “win now” approach. What does that same strategy look like in the draft? Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Tony Defeo as they wade through the Steelers news of the day. As always, you will be asked to participate in the live chat.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Q&A Show. On this show Bryan Anthony Davis and Tony Defeo break down all things Steelers!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • With the draft in less than a month, will the Steelers strategy be more of “win now” or build towards the future?
  • Week in Review
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Bryan Davis and Tony Defeo, of BTSC, walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: Did the new CBA help the Steelers more than other NFL teams?

Behind the Steel Curtain - 5 hours 51 min ago
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) helped the Steelers more than any other NFL team.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Is it possible the new CBA signed just days before the start of the new league year helped the Steelers more than other teams?

Tim Benz: Two ways that a new CBA rule may help the Steelers

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

An element of the new NFL collective bargaining agreement should benefit the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Well, it’s going to benefit every NFL team. But based on the Steelers’ current roster construction, recent offseason moves and potential plans for the draft, it may help them more than most.

At least in 2020.

According to the new CBA, game day rosters are going to expand from 46 players to 48 players. Obviously, all NFL coaches will be happy with the additional flexibility, as will some fringe players on the roster who at least get to put on a uniform and run out of the tunnel, even if they don’t get on the field on game day.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Mark Madden: Will Antonio Brown play another NFL snap?

By: Mark Madden, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians, ex of this parish, issued a hard “no” on the possibility of Antonio Brown playing for his team: “I just know him, and it’s not a fit in our locker room.”

Arians’ most damning words: “I just know him.”

After what’s transpired since Brown left the Steelers after the 2018 season, everyone knows him.

At 31, Brown should have a few good years left. But it’s hard to envision a scenario in which any NFL team sees Brown as even remotely employable now that Tom Brady has forsaken him.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Steelers continue to be positive members of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping where the need is strong

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

Last season T.J. Watt made a commitment to do more in the Pittsburgh community, to give back to those that need it the most.

And he did it by teaming with 412 Food Rescue, a Pittsburgh based organization that was founded as a response to the disconnect between food waste, hunger and environmental sustainability. The organization works with local distributors and mom and pop stores, chain restaurants to urban farms, to provide to those who are food insecure and since its inception, 412 Food Rescue has provided over seven million pounds of food surplus, resulting in more than 5.7 million meals provided.

With so many in the Pittsburgh area suffering from food insecurity these days as a result of the impact of COVID-19, Watt knew he needed to step up. Last November, on an off day, Watt went with the staff of 412 Food Rescue and took boxes and boxes of food to organizations and senior housing, providing the necessities for hundreds in the community.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed...

Steelers make the XFL signings official

Steelers make the Eric Ebron signing official

Grading the franchise tagging of Bud Dupree

A Mock Draft to keep you busy this Tuesday

The latest NFL Power Rankings have been released

  • Social Media Madness

In his six seasons in the NFL, @Ebron85 has recorded:
2️⃣8️⃣3️⃣ receptions
3️⃣1️⃣9️⃣5️⃣ receiving yards
2️⃣7️⃣ receiving touchdowns pic.twitter.com/OBHXz38lDV

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 30, 2020

BLACK⚫️ & YELLOW . My family and I are more than excited to be apart of this great and historic organization! @steelers nation! See y’all soon. In the mean time stay safe ✊

— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) March 20, 2020

“As a young kid, all I ever believed in was that defense always wins championships. They put in the dirty work of #SBXLIII.”@ToneTime10 talks about winning #SBXLIII and gives thanks to the #Steelers organization and #SteelersNation. pic.twitter.com/6xFDpXW1Cb

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 30, 2020

WE’VE JUST WON THE SUPER BOWL‼️

P.S. Wonder who’s going to end up keeping this game ball? @LaMarrWoodley | @bkeisel99 | #SBXLIIIRewind pic.twitter.com/iIq5DwfgG4

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 30, 2020

THIS JUST HAPPENED. THIS IS REAL.@_BigBen7 | @ToneTime10 | #SBXLIIIRewind pic.twitter.com/Hgo12miEsN

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 30, 2020

Steelers officially announce the signing of tight end Eric Ebron

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 4:12pm
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The details of the two-year contract had already been released, but until the Steelers announced the signing it was not yet official

Ten days after it was initially reported Eric Ebron was signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, all the parts of the contract process have come together for the Steelers to finally make the official announcement.

We have signed TE Eric Ebron to a two-year contract.@BordasLaw TRANSACTION: https://t.co/r6Q3Bf9FX7 pic.twitter.com/BJfvUXZq4C

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 30, 2020

The amount of time it was taking for the Steelers to make the announcement about the signing of Eric Ebron began to be a little concerning after the XFL signings became official. Missing the final five games of 2019 with an ankle injury which required surgery, the only concern was the Steelers getting an adequate physical with the constraints facing all of the NFL during the coronavirus pandemic. With the Steelers making the announcement today, it appears all is well and Ebron is officially a member of the black and gold.

Ebron was the 10th overall draft pick in 2014 by the Detroit Lions. After 4 years in Detroit in which he totaled 11 touchdowns on 186 receptions, Ebron spent the last two years playing for the Indianapolis Colts. In his first season in Indianapolis, Ebron earned a Pro Bowl selection after scoring 13 touchdowns on 66 receptions. With the return of Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle from injury, Ebron‘s numbers decreased in 2019 to 3 touchdowns on 31 receptions in 11 games played.

Almost a week after it was reported tight end Eric Ebron was signing with the Steelers on a two-year deal worth $12 million, the specific amount of the contract and how they implicate the salary cap were made available. Ebron will earn a $1 million salary in 2020 along with a $5 million signing bonus with a $5.5 million base salary in 2021 with a $550k roster bonus.

The exact number on the contract for Ebron is quite team friendly for the Steelers when it comes to how it is distributed. After the expected $1 million base salary, Ebron was given a $5 million signing bonus. When working this out for his salary for 2020, it is evenly split as he will earn $6 million for the 2020 season and the other $6 million in the form of $5.5 million base salary and a $500k roster bonus for 2021.

With the signing bonus being split up to count towards the salary cap over both seasons, Ebron will only count $3.5 million towards the 2020 salary cap and $8.5 million for 2021. The salary distribution is beneficial to the Steelers as it helps them keep their salary cap number down for the season. Additionally, should Ebron not work out after one season in Pittsburgh, the Steelers can free up $6 million towards the 2021 salary cap simply by releasing him. If Ebron performs as the Steelers anticipate, either he can play out the final year of his deal or the Steelers could look to give an extension beyond 2021 where more of the salary could be converted to a signing bonus and would be split up over the length of the contract.

The biggest knock on Ebron throughout his career has been his injury history, which becomes a problem when pairing him with McDonald, another player who has had his share of injuries during his time in the Steel City.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

Shaming athletes and team owners for the amount of money they donate to charity isn’t cool

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 3:19pm
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

It shouldn’t be about how much an athlete or team owner donates relative to his or her wealth, it should be about the fact that they donated, period.

A number of years ago, Saints quarterback Drew Brees faced public scrutiny (perhaps for the first time in his entire life) when a story emerged that he only tipped $3 on a $74 takeout order. Around that same time, Penguins star center Sidney Crosby felt the wrath of the people (perhaps for the first time in his entire life anywhere outside of the City of Philadelphia) when it was learned that he was rushed to the front of the line during a trip to the DMV so as not to create a mob scene with fans.

I couldn’t help but notice the irony.

On one hand, people were angry with Brees, a wealthy athlete, for not tipping more than what was required under the circumstances (it was a takeout order, after all). And on the other hand, they were angry that Crosby was getting preferential treatment based on his celebrity status.

And that brings me to today’s topic: People who shame athletes, team owners and other celebrities of wealth for the amount of money they donate to specific charities.

This has always been a thing, but it’s become a bigger thing now with the Coronavirus impacting so many lives and celebrity-type people stepping up to help their cause financially.

Anytime a story is published about a team or person’s charitable donation, it’s not uncommon for someone to take to social media or a comments section and say something along the lines of, “That’s like me donating $5. Just sayin’.”

The implication, of course, is that the extremely wealthy team or person could have given so much more. Therefore, why admire the effort?

Long-time Pittsburgh sports scribe, Bob Smizik did just that recently, when it was announced that the Pittsburgh Pirates had donated $50,000 to The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, an amount that will reportedly help feed 110,000 people.

That’s a good thing, right? Especially now, with the pandemic affecting the livelihoods of thousands of people in the Western Pennsylvania area.

Not according to Smizik, who took to Twitter to say this about the Buccos’ donation:

“How about Pirates making public their $50,000 food bank contrib. That’s an organization worth $1 billion owned by a man who is reported to be a billionaire. That’s like someone making $100,000 a year contributing $5. Why the need to publicize charity? Shameless”

And you thought I was kidding with the $5 reference.

Anyway, that’s certainly a great example of someone worrying more about the amount a person donated in relation to his or her wealth and less about how much the donation will actually help people.

Maybe the Pirates could have given more. So what? I’ve been known to give homeless people money—$2, $3, whatever I have on me. Could I give more? Sure, but that doesn’t mean the money I do hand out isn’t helping the people who get it.

What do we want from wealthy athletes, team owners and celebrities? Do we want them to donate so much of their wealth, they have a brief moment of buyer’s remorse, where they contemplate their financial future, like Michael Scott in the moments after he purchased a condo in a Season 2 episode of The Office?

Do we want the amount to sting them even just a little? Is that more important than the actual sum and who it helps?

As for Brees in 2020? He did draw universal praise for the $5 million he and his wife donated for Louisiana Coronavirus relief efforts (at least in the comments section of the Pro Football Talk article that discusses the story). Speaking of that comments section, I wanted to leave you with a PFT user’s quote from the comments section of that story because I think it perfectly sums up everything I’ve just said:

“Good for him. While he is considered very wealthy being a millionaire, the fact that he donated 5 million says alot. Especially considering he is no where near as whealthy as these owners or even other celebrities as Kyle Jenner who only donated a 1/5 of that but yet they are billionaires.”

Steelers officially announce their three most recent XFL signings

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 12:30pm
Photo by Michael B. Thomas /Getty Images

All three players have been signed to a one-year contract

Even though the reports on all three players came over the past week, the Steelers have officially announced the signings of safety Tyree Kinnel, linebacker and long snapper Christian Kuntz, and defensive end Dewayne Hendrix from the XFL.

We have signed DE Dewayne Hendrix, S Tyree Kinnel and LB/LS Christian Kuntz to one-year contracts.@BordasLaw TRANSACTION: https://t.co/d1YPtlul53 pic.twitter.com/9oeUsqqm8f

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 30, 2020

Tyree Kinnel had 17 total tackles in the shortened XFL season. After a Michigan career during which he had 170 tackles, two interceptions and one sack, Kinnel signed with the Bengals as a undrafted free agent in 2019 but was cut after training camp.

Kuntz spent the 2019 preseason with the Steelers before losing the long snapping job to Kameron Canaday. Kuntz does provide something which Canaday does not, and that is position flexibility. Kuntz is not just a long snapper, but can also play linebacker. While not vying for a starting job, he could provide depth at a position of need if the Steelers feel he would give the team value at that position.

Hendrix spent the XFL season with the St. Louis Battlehawks where he tallied one sack and four tackles. Undrafted out of Pittsburgh last year, Hendrix was signed by the Miami Dolphins where he spent the preseason, making five tackles with three sacks and two forced fumbles. Hendrix originally made the practice squad in Miami and also spent time on the practice squads of the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars. Playing his freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee, Hendrix transferred after only one season playing for the Volunteers. In his two years playing for Pitt, Hendrix had 50 tackles along with 7.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries.

While the signings are noteworthy, they are on a similar level as the futures contracts the Steelers use to sign the majority of players from their 2019 practice squad. For all three players, their contract with the Steelers will give them a chance to showcase their talents in training camp and the NFL preseason in order to catch the eye of the Steelers or any of the other 31 NFL teams.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL Power Rankings: After Free Agency moves, Steelers hold steady in latest rankings

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 11:05am
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were active in the first week of NFL Free Agency, but didn’t do enough to see them move up in the latest Power Rankings.

The NFL Free Agency period isn’t over, but the majority of the big name players who were looking for a new home have found their new football residence as the 2020 offseason continues on a crash course with the 2020 NFL Draft at the end of April.

With free agency in its final stages, several media sources like to post Power Rankings after the latest segment of the offseason, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers these rankings certainly aren’t very pretty.

Before the 2019 season the Steelers were considered to be a Top 10 team, but times have changed. After Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow injury in Week 2 of last season, nothing is certain. If the team’s franchise quarterback can rebound and be his 2018 self, this team can go places. But as 2019 proved, even with an elite defense, you have to have a decent quarterback to win in today’s NFL. For once, it is the defense that is carrying the offense.

My how things have changed.

The loyal Steelers fan base is hopeful the team can still succeed with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, and after the additions of Derek Watt, Eric Ebron, Stefen Wisniewski and Chris Wormley, the team will be poised to strike this season. Either way, the Steelers have their work cut out for them in 2020.

I realize Power Rankings mean absolutely nothing, but they are also a very good way to create discussion about who is going to be the best of the best in 2019. With no further ado...

Check out the Post Free Agency Power Rankings via ESPN:

1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Green Bay Packers
6. Seattle Seahawks
7. Tennessee Titans
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
...
15. Pittsburgh Steelers

Three words: Checked the boxes.
The Steelers filled their most pressing roster needs through free agency, allowing them the luxury of drafting the best available playmaker when they make their first selection at No. 49 overall in the second round. Guard Stefen Wisniewski and tight end Eric Ebron fill the most immediate needs, giving the Steelers a two-time Super Bowl champion to compete for the starting left guard spot and a tight end to be a big-bodied target in the red zone for Ben Roethlisberger. Quieter than most teams, the Steelers restructured the most expensive contracts and were efficient in the first wave of free agency, setting them up for more freedom when the draft rolls around. — Brooke Pryor”

Steelers Report Card: Grading the franchise tagging of Bud Dupree

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 9:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after the franchise tagging of Bud Dupree.

The Pittsburgh Steelers felt that putting the franchise tag for a one-year deal worth $15.828 million dollars They failed to consult anyone of us. But that’s okay. The right people are paid to make those decisions, while we judge from afar.

For some reason, I’ve been given the responsibility to rate the performance of Kevin Colbert, Omar Khan and company on nothing but speculation. It’s not easy, but I’ll give it a whirl. Despite my less than prestigious BTSC teaching certificate, I have to issue the necessary disclaimer. You know the story; of course, I’m not a football coach, or a teacher, but I play one in blogs and podcasts. All offseason, I had certain expectations that the Steelers would have to be quarantined because of no cap space...but they found some magic beans.

Grading personnel decisions is even tougher than grading games. We have to wait nearly six months to actually know if our grades our on the money. This time I decided to enlist my friends to help. Since I don’t have any...I recruited a few of my colleagues at BTSC. They resisted, but relented. But I now have to name my next four kids Jeffy, Little Big Swa, Deputy Dave, Silent Bob and Ant-née. Joke’s on them though. I’m as sterile as a government test lab now.

With that being electronically said, let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:

OLB - Alvin “Bud” Dupree Overall Grade: B

Dupree took awhile to truly stand out, but he did last year in a ginormous way with 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Combining with T.J. Watt for another year means 26 sacks return to the unit that was the strength, heart and soul of the Steelers. Pittsburgh may have swallowed a huge salary in bringing back Dupree for what could be only one season, but if Ben Roethlisberger comes back healthy and fixes the offense...this team can be dangerous if the defense can replicate games 3-16 of 2019. Dupree was a huge part of that.

Dave Schofield: C

Dupree is second only to Roethlisberger with the salary cap hit on the 2020 season, so it’s a steep price for the Steelers weakest link from 2019 along the defensive front. Having no other option at the position is the only thing keeping the score average.

Jeff Hartman: B

The Steelers lack of depth left them no choice when tagging Bud Dupree. The team has a window to win, and having that bookend pass rusher is key.

K.T. Smith: B+

it was a move we pretty much had to make. It was the right move, in my opinion. The risk, of course, is in whether Dupree can duplicate his 2019 production. If not, $15 million is going to be an awful lot for five sacks.

Lance Williams: C+

Retaining Dupree keeps the Pass Potent and positions the Steelers defense to continue its defensive dominance into the 2020 season

Tony Defeo: A

A steep price to pay, but the window to win is closing fast.

Bryan Anthony Davis: B+

Some moves you just have to make. One year at a hefty price is better than a huge void at a very important defensive position.

Now it is your turn to play teacher. Use the polls and the comments section below. We can compare notes in the teachers lounge.

Mock Draft Monday: The Steelers look to add an offensive lineman with their top pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 7:45am
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers add depth along the offensive line

The Pittsburgh Steelers are exactly one month away from the NFL draft! Although the NFL free agency period has moved past the initial flurry, there are still moves to be trickling in even though the Steelers have already signed three outside free agents as well as made a trade. With the lack of player pro days, it might be nice to have an idea as to some of the names associated with the Steelers in the second round. The Steelers’ first round pick has already been named an All-Pro player as Minkah Fitzpatrick can be thought of as the Steelers’ choice. So let’s look at prospects who may be available at the 49th selection and see what they could bring the the Steelers in 2020.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. After various losses and gains in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either running back or wide receiver with their first pick. Personally, I feel edge rusher and inside linebacker could be on top of the list. After the Steelers have made multiple moves to start the league year, they are in a great shape to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In the latest two-round mock draft by cbssports.com they have the Steelers addressing the offensive line before anything else. With the Steelers not drafting many offensive linemen in recent years with high draft picks, it is time to begin getting younger at the position. In this case, the Steelers look to add a player who played tackle in college but appears to be better fitted for guard in the NFL. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the second-round pick:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Robert Hunt| OL | Louisiana | SR |

Now that the NFL Scouting Combine has concluded, there may be some players most fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Hunt according to thedraftnetwork.com:

Functional Athleticism - He can be a little too eager in space and would be well served to trust his length a bit more and not chase — but some of the landmarks he hits are still pretty nuts on backside cutoff on LBs on the second level. He’s quick out his stance and moves fairly well despite not having the most fluid hips.

Football IQ - He’s a well seasoned starter but there’s still some room to grow, especially considering he’ll be kicking back inside to OG, where he played earlier in his career. Needs to make sure he’s staying aware to not drift upfield on extended passing plays chasing after contact.

Anchor Ability - Heavy anchor. He’s got a dense frame with lots of weight distribution below the waist and pairs it with significant core/lower body power to absorb power rushes. He’s not going to give up a lot of real estate unless you catch him leaning and can pull him off his spot first to uproot his fit.

Hand Technique - Some really nice flashes of punch power and compact hands to pack a wallop. Isn’t always consistent with his placement but he definitely offers the goods in this department — have seen him knock dudes over just with stun punch. Ability to yank defenders out of gaps is impressive.

Balance - Guilty of letting himself work too far over top of his toes, but that’s a byproduct of being tasked with working in space. Get him in tight quarters on gap run concepts or in the phone booth with a TE attached to the LOS and he’s methodical and shows necessary steps in close quarters to stay square and ready to deliver a blow.

Pass Sets - Figures to be better off inside, where he won’t be charged with protecting the perimeter. Like his snap out of his stance and figures to project well into OG reps. Added bonus of length allows him a large strike zone to eat up upfield charges against his quick sets and allow him to get his feet set quickly.

Flexibility - He does have the ability to roll through contact as a drive blocker — and boy does he ever unload on folks. But his lateral hinge and lower half mobility to play with a dynamic base to enable rapid or fluid mirror skills is only modest and he doesn’t have the leg reach in drive catch to take vertical sets as an OT at the next level.

Power at POA - Get out of his way in short yardage and tight spaces. Absolute bar room brawler who has terrific power through his frame and trusts his hands to jolt defenders and uproot them from the LOS. You could run behind him 100 times and get needed yardage on 95 of them. Love his fit as a RG in a gap/power run heavy offense.

Length - Has necessary length to warrant consideration at OT in an absolute pinch. But rather his extension skills inside enable ability to sustain blocks for longer and create first contact quicker than the average OG. Like his power and control of defenders at full extension as well, doesn’t needs to be belly to belly to impose will.

Competitive Toughness - This dude is nasty. He’s constantly escorting defenders out of the frame and playing through the echo of the end of the whistle. Likes to bury guys up front and will ensure he’s got a “kill” by riding guys all the way to the turf. Shows good hustle and willingness to pick up extra work in pass protection.

---

Best Trait - Power at POA

Worst Trait - Flexibility

Best Film - Georgia Southern (2019)

Worst Film - Appalachian State (2019)

Red Flags - 2019 groin INJ

Player Summary - Robert Hunt projects as an interior OL at the NFL level despite his experience playing at tackle at Louisiana. Hunt brings terrific power, tenacity and mobility when projected inside — and he’ll be much more protected from some of the foot speed and mobility issues that limited him at times as an offensive tackle. Hunt may need an incubation period to adjust to a role working on the interior at the NFL level but this is a player with starter potential and bruising power to set the tone up front.

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Hunt with their first pick, albeit in the second round? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position or a different one who may still be available? Personally, I believe there will be multiple options for best player available and I doubt Hunt will be on the top of the Steelers’ board. But if the Steelers really want him, I don’t think Hunt would be available for their next pick. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and remember these mock drafts are merely speculation and caused to create discussion among the fan base.

An updated look at the Steelers salary cap situation in 2020 and beyond

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 6:30am
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have managed to remain under the NFL salary cap while making various moves to bolster their 2020 roster

It was only two weeks ago when the Pittsburgh Steelers had the worst salary cap number in the NFL and were patiently awaiting the results of the NFLPA’s vote on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Once the vote passed on March 15, it has been a flurry of moves including restructures, releases, retirements, trades, and free-agent signings. After everything making all these moves, where do the Steelers currently stand when it comes to the 2020 salary cap?

First of all, the Steelers are no longer at the bottom of the list when it comes to salary cap space in the NFL according to overthecap.com. Even though they don’t have the most up-to-date numbers for the Steelers, OTC has five teams with less salary cap space than the Steelers. But do the the most up-to-date numbers change much? They do alittle.

According to OTC, The Steelers are currently $7,178,944 under the current NFL salary cap restrictions. Until teams have to trim their rosters after the fourth preseason game, the only salaries which count towards the team salary cap are the top 51 contacts. Come September, every player on the Steelers roster along with practice squad players will have to come under the $198,200,000 cap. For now, as long as the top 51 salaries remain under this number, the Steelers are salary-cap compliant.

One item which needs to be noted is there is one roster moves reported about the Steelers which has not come through financially to count towards the cap. OTC has not posted the salary of Chris Wormley to the Steelers. Wormley was due $2,133,000 from the Ravens for the 2020 season. Assuming his contract transfers and he does not work out another deal, the Steelers will have to account for the remaining salary. But adding Wormley’s current contract would move the bottom salary out of the top 51 which is $675,000. So the net gain from Wormley would add $1,458,000 to the Steelers top 51 salary. Once this number is added to the Steelers total, their current amount under the NFL salary cap is $5,720,944. As for the players from the XFL the Steelers have signed, it is unlikely their salary would displace anyone already in the top 51.

Even though the focus is on the Steelers 2020 season, it is worth peeking ahead to 2022 to see how much the Steelers are already spending. With 27 players under contract for the 2021 season, the Steelers already have a cap liability of $168,971,701. While this number does seem quite large, it is only about $3.5 million more than the top 27 currently for 2020 not including the Chris Wormley contract. It should also be noted that contracts for Cameron Heyward, Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, James Conner, and JuJu Smith Schuster are not on the books for 2021 as of this time as they are entering the final year of their deals. The Steelers are expected to pick up the fifth-year option on T.J. Watt later this year.

Looking ahead to the 2022 season, it is actually quite interesting as the Steelers only have 10 players under contract. In looking at players not on rookie deals, the only players under contract to the 2020 season are Stephon Tuitt, Chris Boswell, and Derek Watt.

The Steelers currently have no players under contract for the 2023 season.

Even though the Steelers still need to sign their 2020 rookie draft class and will have to take into account the entire roster in September, there are still other moves which could be made between now and that time to free up some cap space. So if there is a low budget free agent out there which the Steelers would like to sign, or if they are looking to extend any of their players entering the final year of their deals, it is still in the realm of possibilities.

Podcast: Which Steelers youngster is due for a breakout in 2020?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 5:30am

In the latest episode of “Home and Hater” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over, and the Steelers lost their final game by losing to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, ending their record at 8-8.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Home and Hater Show. On this show Jeff Hartman and Lance Williams break down all things Steelers!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Which younger player is due for a breakout season in 2020?
  • Week in Review
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Lance Williams walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: When Stefen Wisniewski dons the black-and-gold it will be a dream come true

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 4:30am
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how Stefen Wisniewski is more than excited to wear the Steelers jersey for the first time in his professional career.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Stefen Wisniewski grew up a Steelers fan, which means when he will get to wear that jersey, and play at Heinz Field, will be a dream come true.

Wisniewski is living the dream

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

When Stefen Wisniewski announced he was signing with the Steelers on his Twitter account, he was proudly sporting a Steelers hat showing the love not just for his new team, but his hometown team he grew up cheering for.

And the thought of course was, it was a hat he or his family had sitting around the house.

Not the case.

”I went out to Walmart and grabbed one,” said Wisniewski from his home in State College, Pa. “That is one of the good things about being near your hometown team. They have Steelers gear everywhere.”

And that wasn’t the only thing he has been sporting lately that is black and gold.

”I started wearing Steelers gear again. It’s been a while,” said Wisniewski. “I had to buy some new stuff. I grew a little bit since the last time I was wearing Steelers gear. My wife, Hilary, is pulling out a lot of her Steelers sweatshirts that she had in her closet. She is a Pittsburgher as well.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • From what we know about Bruce Arians, what will this mean for Tom Brady’s health in Tampa Bay?

Labriola on can BA protect Brady better than Ben

By: Bob Labriola, Steelers.com

Ready or not, here it comes:

• It was January 2012, and Steelers President Art Rooney II was on his postseason media tour to give his assessment of the team’s 2011 season, one that ended with a 12-4 record but an overtime loss in Denver in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.

• “We need to be more consistent on offense,” said Rooney. “That’s one of the goals we need to have. We need to take fewer sacks. I think we finished 21st in the league in scoring, which is something we obviously need to improve on,” and then a little later he got specific about his starting quarterback. “I’m not sure if I would say he has to change his style of play. He may need to tweak it a little bit, but Ben is Ben. You wouldn’t want to try to convince him that he completely has to change his game, because a lot of what he does is the reason he is successful. The other side of the coin is that he’s turning 30 years old. We do need him to stay healthy. Taking fewer sacks would probably help that equation.”

• Take fewer sacks. In the span of 90 seconds or less, Rooney said those three words twice. And then in case someone, anyone, either wasn’t paying attention or didn’t get his meaning, he threw in that tidbit about Ben Roethlisberger’s upcoming birthday.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Kevin Colbert sure is setting the bar high...

Steelers G.M. looks to 1974 for draft inspiration

By: Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk

The Pittsburgh Steelers had perhaps the best draft in league history in 1974. They did it without the various devices that are (or at least were) currently available.

Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert is using a process that generated five Hall of Famers as inspiration for 2020.

“Art Rooney Jr., Bill Nunn and Dick Haley, they put together the best draft in NFL history, and they didn’t have Pro Days, they didn’t have Combines,” Kevin Colbert said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They relied on what they felt those guys were as football players. If we have to go into this draft with that same mentality, that’s our challenge, and we’ll do the very best we can.”

With the Pro Days abruptly ending and private workouts and player visits canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, all teams are on a level playing field that makes the draft even more of a crapshoot than usual. Ultimately, the exercise may convince some teams that game film and instincts may go a lot farther than the information-gathering exercises that potentially cloud the more basic question of who can play football at a high level, and who can’t?

“We value the Pro Days to be able to get up and close and interact with the player, watch him work out, meet his family,” Colbert said. “That part has been taken away from us, but we’re not alone in that endeavor.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • BTSC articles you may have missed...

A 4-Round Mock Draft to get you started right...

How the Steelers deploy Terrell Edmunds will be huge for the 2020 NFL Draft

Join the BTSC Watch Party!

The best remaining free agents on the market for the Steelers

  • Social Media Madness

“Lambert’s difficult.
Period.
With anybody ” - Dwight White#Steelers pic.twitter.com/0EIl5UclqI

— Old Time Football (@Ol_TimeFootball) March 29, 2020

The premier safety of his era, @tpolamalu played his entire 12-year professional football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.#PFHOF20 | @steelers pic.twitter.com/WlFY8XB7Sh

— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) March 28, 2020

7️⃣➡️1️⃣9️⃣

Thanks for the #SteelersJukeBox request @K_Will_98!@_BigBen7 | @TeamJuJu pic.twitter.com/kiLt7q2Ojg

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 28, 2020

How accurate were the Pro Football Focus grades for the Steelers offense in 2019?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 03/29/2020 - 12:20pm
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Some people swear by PFF rankings while others give them no weight at all, but the real answer is probably somewhere in between when it comes to grading the Steelers offense

As the NFL offseason presses on, fans are evaluating how players from their favorite team performed in 2019 in order to determine how they view the position both continuing in free agency and going into the draft. While some positions have much easier data to compare, others are very difficult to quantify with statistics. With many of these positions, fans often turn to the Pro Football Focus (PFF) player grades they issue for the season. There are many fans who swear by the rankings while others dismiss them completely. So how much can fans truly trust these grades?

The first thing which is needed is to understand how PFF breaks down each player in order to come up with an overall score. The first installment looking into PFF grades was two weeks ago just before the flurry of free agent activity began and it explained the process of how PFF determines their grades. This time, we are going to look at some of the PFF grades of the Steelers offense from 2019 to help determine how accurate their scores could be.

For this exercise, we will look at the ranking and scores at the offensive positions for the Steelers’ players. The top ranked player as well as the number of players ranked will be listed. Fullback was not included as the Steelers did not have a qualifying player. These numbers are merely presented in order to help you draw your own conclusion. All scores are courtesy of pff.com.

Quarterbacks:

Top Ranked: Russell Wilson (92.0)
Number Ranked: 37
35: Mason Rudolph (53.0)
37: Devlin Hodges (45.8)
N/A: Ben Roethlisberger (49.0)

Of all the quarterback who played enough snaps to qualify (about 315), the Steelers young QB’s ranked as two of the bottom three. The only player who separated them was Washington’s Kyle Allen.

Running Backs:

Top Ranked: Nick Chubb (88.7)
Number Ranked: 58
21: James Conner (73.6)
55: Jaylen Samuels (54.4)
N/A: Benny Snell Jr (67.2)

Snell did not reach the 260 snaps in took to qualify in the rankings. Had he been included, he would have been placed just ahead of Todd Gurley (67.0) as well as Melvin Gordon (66.0), LeSean McCoy (65.4), and Leonard Fournette (64.0).

Wide Receivers:

Top Ranked: Chris Godwin (90.7)
Number Ranked: 122
59: James Washington (69.3)
65: Diontae Johnson (67.9)
85: JuJu Smith-Schuster (63.1)
108: Deon Cain (55.6)

Johnson’s receiving score was slightly higher than Washington’s, but Washington ranked in the top 25 in run blocking among qualifying NFL receivers.

Tight Ends:

Top Ranked: George Kittle (94.4)
Number Ranked: 66
64: Nick Vannett (48.2)
T-65: Vance McDonald (45.3)

2019 was a difficult year to evaluate much of the Steelers’ offense, especially tight ends. McDonald tied for last among qualifying players with Vannett only one spot above.

Tackles:

Top Ranked: Ryan Ramczyk (90.9)
Number Ranked: 81
20: Matt Feiler (75.2)
24: Alejandro Villanueva (74.0)
N/A: Zach Banner (78.3)
N/A: Chukwuma Okorafor: (58.3)

Banner was about 100 snaps short of qualifying in the rankings which would have put him around 15th even with a very low pass blocking score. The Steelers were one of the six NFL teams with both tackles ranked in the top 25.

Guard:

Top Ranked: Brandon Brooks (92.9)
Number Ranked: 81
15: David DeCastro (71.0)
50: Ramon Foster (59.0)

It can be noted Stefen Wisniewski ranked 16th with a score of 70.9 just behind DeCastro.

Center:

Top Ranked: Jason Kelce (81.1)
Number Ranked: 37
32: B.J. Finney (56.9)
36: Maurkice Pouncey (51.5)

Not only was Pouncey’s score the lowest on the Steelers’ offensive line, his individual scores in both run blocking and pass blocking were lowest of all the Steelers’ starters.

So do you think PFF grades are reliable source in evaluating a player’s performance based on their assessment of the Steelers offense? Did the players score where you expected? Please vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

2020 NFL Mock Draft: 4 Round mock has the Steelers thinking defense with their top pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 03/29/2020 - 9:45am
Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have a first round pick, but their three picks in the top four rounds will certainly frustrate many fans.

The 2020 NFL Draft is going to go off as scheduled, it might look different but will still be held at the end of April. With this announcement coming from Roger Goodell this past week, it brings more validity to the practice of mock drafts. While mock drafts are simply guesses as to what will happen, it does create some great discussion for fan bases.

In the latest 4-round mock draft by Chad Reuter of NFL.com, he has the Pittsburgh Steelers going all over the map when it pertains to their top three picks in the process.

Check out who Reuter has slated to the Steelers, and a synopsis of the player below their name from their NFL Draft Profile.

Round 1

No Pick (Well, Minkah Fitzpatrick)

Round 2

Bradlee Anae - Edge

School: Utah | Year: Senior

Overview

Anae’s tape tends to grow on you the more you watch with his revved-up motor and salty disposition showing up in every game. He’s fairly skilled and instinctive as an upfield rusher with a threatening upfield burst and a relatively diverse approach to climbing past tackles. He’s not a natural bender or the longest edge defender and he’s much better at attacking blockers than defending his territory against the run. He has the size, hands and strength to play standing or with a hand down, but may have a better chance of becoming a starter as a rush linebacker in a 3-4.

Round 3

Jalen Hurts - QB

School: Oklahoma | Year: Senior

Overview

Like Tim Tebow, Hurts is a winning dual-threat quarterback known for his strength, toughness and character. Hurts is a more accurate passer and better runner than Tebow but is inconsistent as a decision-maker and tends to break the pocket when throws are there to be made. His deep-ball touch and intermediate accuracy improved this year so teams may see him as a developmental talent who will keep getting better in the right scheme. He’ll struggle to beat NFL defenses from the pocket, but his ability to grind out yards on the ground and make off-schedule plays should make him a solid backup with upward mobility.

Round 4

Quintez Cephus - WR

School: Wisconsin | Year: Juniorvg

Overview

After missing all of 2018, Cephus got right back into the swing of things culminating with memorable games against Ohio State and Oregon. Size and body positioning create workable windows in tight quarters and his ball skills build trust with the quarterback. He’s a build-up runner who lacks suddenness to uncover and may need to be motioned, bunched, and lined in the slot to help with early separation. Teams know he can catch it but will need to see him get open. Cephus is a possession receiver with the profile of a capable WR3/4.

How would you feel if this is how the top three picks went for the Pittsburgh Steelers? Would you be happy? Frustrated? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold.

How the deployment of Terrell Edmunds is the key to the Steelers 2020 NFL Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 03/29/2020 - 8:15am
The Steelers third year safety may be the key to figuring out the teams biggest draft need. | Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A new role for Edmunds could see the Steelers go in a direction Steelers fans weren’t expecting

Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans have been pining for the team to chase a running back like JK Dobbins or a wide out like Jalen Reagor in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. The team’s biggest defensive needs appear to be adding depth players to its safety and linebacking corps, so naturally adding talent to an offense that struggled without Ben Roethlisberger would be the most obvious decision.

However, I do expect the Steelers to utilize the size and skill set of Terrell Edmunds in multiple situations at the inside linebacker position. He’s best in coverage inside the box, and would make the most sense for the team to play Edmunds down and take Vince Williams off the field in passing situations.

This leaves a substantial hole at strong safety as Jordan Dangerfield, a predominantly special teams player, as the top option.

Here is where the 49th pick of the draft could result in Pittsburgh killing two birds with one stone.

Cal safety, Ashtyn Davis is the 49th prospect on the Sports Illustrated big board and if he falls into the Steelers lap he could quite possibly be the guy.

Davis is an athletic freak that excels in zone coverage and possess great recovery speed. A tough tackler, and scouts rave about his character.

Pairing Davis with Minkah Fitzpatrick in the back end would be a scary turnover creating duo while allowing Edmunds to play a role where he would excel.

Davis is also a more than willing special teamer, twice being named Cal’s special teams MVP.

Gabe Mayberry-USA TODAY Sports Davis pulled in 7 interceptions in his college career and broke up 12 passes for Cal

If the Steelers draft Davis I'd expect him to be the top backup at both safety positions, a situational third safety, a special teams beast, and someone who will push Terrell Edmunds for starts.

What do you think? Should the Steelers target Ashtyn Davis with the 49th pick? Let us know in the comments below!

BTSC Watch Party: 2018 Week 15 vs New England

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 03/29/2020 - 6:40am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The first game of the BTSC Watch Party is the 17-10 Steelers victory over the Patriots in 2018

Welcome to the BTSC watch party! You’re just in time to catch all the action for the first game Behind The Steel Curtain will view and re-live together. In order to join in on the fun, the first step is to make sure you have a signed up for your free subscription to NFL Game Pass which will last through the end of May. In doing so, you will have access to all NFL games dating back to 2009. If you have not yet signed up for Game Pass, click HERE.

Here’s how the process will work. We will all watch the first game sometime between now and next Thursday. On Thursday morning, Behind The Steel Curtain will publish the next article to discuss key elements from the game in the comment section. Additionally, the next game to be watched will be announced. So whatever you do, make sure you scroll all the way to the end of this article in order to vote on the next game to be a part of the watch party.

Another suggestion to enhance our viewing for the next game was by BTSC editor Jeff Hartman. He proposed the notion of doing the watch party at a specific time where we will create an article with an open thread much like those during Steeler games throughout the season. To see if others are interested in viewing the games in this manner, there is an additional pole at the end of the article. If so, the watch parties will be at 8 PM on Thursdays and at 1 PM on Sunday afternoons.

Now on to the game! The game which we will be viewing this week is…

2018 Week 15
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers December 16, 2018
Result: Steelers 17 Patriots 10

Finally getting over the hump to take down “that team up north,” the Steelers relied on strong defensive play and a key fourth quarter interception in order to secure the victory. It was also the career highlight of running back Jaylen Samuels who rushed for 142 yards on 19 carries as James Conner missed the game due to injury. It was an electric atmosphere at Heinz Field (I was in attendance at this game), and the Steelers stepped up to the plate on the big stage.

Things to consider when watching the game:

  1. What was the key moment in the game which led to the Steelers victory?
  2. Was there any particular player who stood out for having an exceptional game?
  3. Was there one particular play which kept the Steelers from a more decisive victory?
  4. Was there a moment in the game where everything went the Steelers way and if not it could have been a turning point?
  5. What was your most favorite moment of the game?

Of course, these questions are simply designed to start discussion. Be prepared on Thursday to give any of your thoughts about the game.

Make sure you let us know which game you would like to have for the next Steelers watch party. Articles will be on Sundays and Thursdays. If there’s a particular game not on the list, please leave the suggestion in the comments below so it can be included in the next article.

Podcast: The other side of the Steelers/Dolphins Minkah Fitzpatrick trade

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 03/29/2020 - 5:45am

In the latest episode of “Steelers 1-on-1” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 season is almost here, and news is heating up. With a surge of Steelers news, it was time to get back on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-gold.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast Steelers 1-on-1. On this show Jeff Hartman interviews Danny Renn to talk about all things black-and-gold, but specifically the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The other side of the Steelers/Dolphins trade
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick the troublemaker?
  • Tom Brady out of the AFC
  • NFL Schedule news
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, and Max Starks walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: What will the new-look NFL Draft look like for the Steelers?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 03/29/2020 - 5:00am
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how this new-look NFL Draft will look for the Steelers and the rest of the NFL...

Let’s get to the news:

  • With the NFL deciding to keep the Draft at the same dates, you have to wonder what this new-look draft will even look like...

Mel Kiper Jr., Steelers’ Kevin Colbert weigh in on new-look NFL Draft

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

With the bravado of a 19th century ringmaster, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week proclaimed the show must go on as it pertains to the league’s annual draft.

Amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic, the seven-round event will proceed as scheduled, April 23-25, even though the draft no longer will be held in Las Vegas and will be devoid of the circus-like atmosphere it had garnered in recent years.

Teams will make picks remotely and, if the NFL doesn’t reopen team facilities by then, each organization’s scouts and coaches won’t convene in the proverbial war room to provide input on potential picks and evaluate possible trades. Prospects and their families will not convene at a draft site, meaning no first-round picks will walk across the stage and get a customary bear hug from Goodell.

The process will be akin to an online fantasy football draft, which is a reason the NFL general manager subcommittee recommended having it delayed.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

Char Valley grad Christian Kuntz ready for 2nd chance with Steelers after XFL run

By: Chuck Curti, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Christian Kuntz’s foray into the XFL produced the desired result.

Kuntz, a Chartiers Valley and Duquesne graduate, signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, two weeks after the XFL canceled its season after five games because of concerns over the spread of covid-19. Kuntz played long snapper for the Dallas Renegades, not only showing off those skills but also his ability to cover kicks.

The sample size was small, but it was enough to convince the Steelers to give Kuntz another chance. He spent 16 days with the team last summer, playing in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers before being cut.

Kuntz (6-foot-2, 237 pounds) said he didn’t get an indication from the Steelers where he will be needed. His path to long snapper could be blocked by three-year veteran Kameron Canaday, but there are holes to fill in coverage.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Stefen Wisniewski is absolutely living the dream heading back to his hometown team, the black-and-gold.

Wisniewski is living the dream

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

When Stefen Wisniewski announced he was signing with the Steelers on his Twitter account, he was proudly sporting a Steelers hat showing the love not just for his new team, but his hometown team he grew up cheering for.

And the thought of course was, it was a hat he or his family had sitting around the house.

Not the case.

”I went out to Walmart and grabbed one,” said Wisniewski from his home in State College, Pa. “That is one of the good things about being near your hometown team. They have Steelers gear everywhere.”

And that wasn’t the only thing he has been sporting lately that is black and gold.

”I started wearing Steelers gear again. It’s been a while,” said Wisniewski. “I had to buy some new stuff. I grew a little bit since the last time I was wearing Steelers gear. My wife, Hilary, is pulling out a lot of her Steelers sweatshirts that she had in her closet. She is a Pittsburgher as well.”

For Wisniewski, signing with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent has been a dream come true. He is a Pittsburgher, growing up in South Fayette and attending Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. He grew up a Steelers fan, attending games at Heinz Field. Now, he will be playing there.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

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The best remaining NFL Free Agents the Steelers could still target

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 03/28/2020 - 11:35am
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have a ton of salary cap space remaining, but it doesn’t mean they can’t create more space for another move in free agency.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had four player acquisitions last week, not to mention a ton of XFL players signed, and it has their fan base in a frenzy as they anticipate the upcoming 2020 season.

The team acquired fullback Derek Watt, tight end Eric Ebron and guard Stefen Wisniewski via free agency. Shortly following the addition of Ebron it was announced the team traded with the Baltimore Ravens, only the second time this has happened since 1998, to acquire defensive lineman Chris Wormley.

After the XFL signings, fans were able to take a breath and digest some of the moves which were made, and most would agree the team is essentially done making moves ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

But that might not be the case.

The Steelers have around $5 million in cap space after the Ebron signing and taking on Wormley’s contract, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to create more space to potentially make another move, or two.

All it would take is restructuring David DeCastro’s and/or Stephon Tuitt’s contract to give them the space necessary to sign players to a new contract. To be honest, the longer these players sit on the open market, the lower their cost is for whichever team wants to sign them.

Thanks to Yard Barker, they have the Top 20 remaining free agents on the market. You can see the list below, but not every player would be a good, or welcome, fit with the black-and-gold. Who would you like to see the Steelers sign?

Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft at the end of April.

Top 20 Remaining Free Agents

1. Jadaveon Clowney, EDGE

2. Cam Newton, QB

3. Jameis Winston, QB

4. Everson Griffen, DE

5. Logan Ryan, CB

6. Markus Golden, LB

7. Damarious Randall, Safety

8. Jason Peters, OT

9. Eric Reid, Safety

10. Ronald Darby, CB

11. Clay Matthews, LB

12. Prince Amukamara, CB

13. Mike Daniels, DT

14. Delanie Walker, TE

15. Shelby Harris, DT

16. Brandon Carr, CB

17. Carlos Hyde, RB

18. Cameron Wake, EDGE

19. Joe Flacco, QB

20. Damon Harrison, DT

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