Here is the latest Pittsburgh Steelers' mailbag. If you have a question please send to @ScottBrown_ESPN with #mail.
And away we go...
@ScottBrown_ESPN That's a tall order, Carmen, and I'm not sure Dri Archer will ever develop into the kind of back that sounds an awful lot like Le'Veon Bell. That is not to say he can't become a contributor after barely playing as a rookie. Part of that is on the Steelers as far as finding a way to best utilize Archer and his word-class speed. The Kansas City Chiefs provided a template when they visited Heinz Field last December. They got rookie speedster DeAnthony Thomas the ball in space -- he caught six passes for 47 yards -- and he also returned both kickoffs and punts. That is the type of role I see Archer playing if he proves to the Steelers he can handle it. That starts with Archer restoring the faith the Steelers had in him as a kickoff returner when they used a third-round draft pick on him last May.
@ScottBrown_ESPN Brian Orakpo is the most accomplished of the three but he turns 29 in July and has twice suffered season-ending pectoral injuries. That would scare me if I'm the Steelers, and my guess is some team will take the kind of risk that would push Orakpo out of Pittsburgh's price range. ESPN NFL analyst Matt Williamson really likes Brandon Graham and thinks the former first-round draft could break out with regular playing time, something he has not received in Philadelphia. My preference, if the money is similar, would be Pernell McPhee, who is probably in the middle of Orakpo and Graham when it comes to upside. McPhee recorded 7 ½ sacks last season for the Baltimore Ravens despite having a couple of pretty good pass-rushers in front of him in Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. And he is a young 26 since he celebrated his birthday in December and does not have much tread on him. The problem with McPhee is I think he will also be out of the Steelers' price range. The same may be true of Graham as well as there are rumblings that he wants at least $20 million guaranteed in his next contract.
@ScottBrown_ESPN I'm with you when it comes to cornerback Marcus Peters as I just don't see the Steelers taking such a risk with their first-round pick. Peters has owned the mistakes that led to his dismissal from Washington's football team last season and is widely considered the most gifted cornerback in the draft, so never say never. Also, as you point out, it might make sense waiting to take an outside linebacker prospect if the elite edge pass-rushers in the draft are gone before the Steelers pick at No. 22 overall. Trading down in the first round -- or even out of it -- is a possibility, especially if a team that needs a quarterback wants to trade back into the first round to take a signal caller who emerges behind Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Free agency will be a factor too when determining what the Steelers do with their first-round pick. If they sign an outside linebacker or cornerback they feel is capable of starting it makes that position less of a need in the draft.
@ScottBrown_ESPN Do you remember that line in “Dumb and Dumber” when a smitten Lloyd Christmas, played by Jim Carrey, asks Mary Swanson, played by Lauren Holly, if they would ever be a couple? She eventually pegged the chances at one in a million to which the uproariously funny -- and cluessless -- Christmas proclaims, “So you're telling me there's a chance?!” Well, there is even less of a chance of the Steelers targeting Ndamukong Suh in free agency. He is an absolute beast but he will break the bank if he gets to the open market. The Steelers simply aren't in a position to bid on Suh and have too many other needs to spend money they don't have on one player.
@ScottBrown_ESPN I don't think it is fair to Shawn Lemon to place Cameron Wake expectations on him just because the latter also starred as a pass-rusher in the Canadian Football League before signing with the Miami Dolphins. Lemon first has to make the team and that won't be easy even with the openings Pittsburgh could have at outside linebacker. That said Lemon is not just another guy and the contract the Steelers signed the Akron product to is proof of that. The Steelers gave Lemon a three-year, $1.58 million deal with a $7,500 signing bonus, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Most players signed to future/reserve contracts get one-year deals with no guaranteed money. That the Steelers went significantly beyond those parameters with Lemon shows that they were not the only team who had interest in him following his breakout season in the CFL. Let's just hold off on the comparisons with Wake for now.