- Adam Schefter, NFL
Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag once a week during the NFL season. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.
-- Sandra (Georgia)
A: A team can never have enough pass-rushers, Sandra, but the problem is paying them. Atlanta will not be able to afford to sign another veteran pass-rusher, unless it was for a veteran minimum deal. But that won't stop the Falcons from looking for more pass-rushers in the NFL draft. If they can find a good value at a certain spot, they will jump on it, as would any team. But this is a team that has improved from last season, when it reached the NFC Championship Game. It added Umenyiora and Steven Jackson, in addition to bringing back Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons will be a favorite in the NFC again in 2013.
Q: Matt Barkley appeared to have a solid pro day by all accounts. What are you hearing in terms of his stock? Has he solidified himself as the first QB off the board?
-- Greg (Illinois)
A: It's hard to imagine him overtaking Geno Smith at this point in time, Greg, but it will not surprise me one bit if Barkley still goes in the top half of the first round of the draft. Look at all the teams in the top 10 that have quarterback questions: Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo and the New York Jets. Would you be floored if any of those teams decided to use their first-round pick on a quarterback, or Barkley in particular? Not really. Barkley will go in the first round -- I don't have any doubt about that. But it will be a bit more challenging to be the first quarterback off the board.
-- Leroy (Arizona)
A: They're going to have to draft a quarterback, Leroy, because multiple people around the league believe that Palmer will never take another snap for the Raiders. And keep in mind that the Cincinnati Bengals still own the Raiders' second-round pick this year in the Palmer trade -- so Oakland is going to be paying for a trade that looks like a colossal failure right now. Oakland always could look to deal for a quarterback like Matt Flynn, it could draft a quarterback as high as No. 3, or it could turn to Terrelle Pryor. But those would appear to be the options for this season. Then in 2014, when Oakland has all it picks, it can re-evaluate.
Q: Adam, with most of the pro days now over, which player improved his stock the most from a pro day performance?
-- Fred (D.C.)
A: Fred: I don't know that any one player improves his stock that much on a pro day. It's just one final test for players to go through. One player I know who has gotten a ton of attention since his pro day is Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson, who now looks like he's going to be a first-round pick. He's got a really interesting story, having played soccer in England and basketball at Marist University before starting at right tackle at Florida State last season. Some team is going to see Watson and the potential he has displayed and pounce on him.
Q: The Pittsburgh Steelers seem like a team on the decline to me. What do you think they need to do in the draft? Who are a couple players they should target? They lost Mike Wallace in free agency and that defense really seems old now.
-- Kelsey (Nevada)
A: Kelsey: Rarely do the Steelers seem like they're in decline. And when they do, at times like this, the franchise typically has some of its best seasons. Let's keep in mind that this organization does a great job of scouting, recognizing and grooming talent. It has a franchise quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. It has some young defensive talent. Yes, the Steelers lost Wallace and the defense is old. But this team doesn't rebuild; it reloads. And it will not surprise me one bit if the Steelers are back in the playoffs in 2013. It's just who they are and how that organization is run.
Answers for mailbag questions on Matt Barkley's draft stock, where Geno Smith could land and more.