Depth of Wide Receivers Could Alter Steelers’ Draft Strategy

EvansIf you’re one of those who have begged and pleaded for the Steelers to add a big wide receiving target then you may not be getting your wish.

Before you jump all over Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, you need to consider it really isn’t their fault.

Based on the performances today of the wide receivers at the annual NFL Combine, the strategy of not only the Steelers but of other teams as well could be changing.

We knew there would be serious depth in this draft across the board and we also knew that the receiver position was one of those areas with extreme depth.

I don’t think anyone could have expected to see so many guys do so well however at the combine.

From speed to catching the ball with their hands to route running, many of the receivers that performed today were better than advertised in many ways.

That means top guys like Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin became even more in demand and lower rated guys like Pittsburg State’s John Brown saws their stock rise as well.

Evans was one that really helped himself and probably put himself in the top ten because I don’t see him getting past Detroit with the tenth pick. In terms of what the dearth of receivers means for Pittsburgh is this; they’ll probably focus more on cornerbacks and safeties for that number 15 pick now.

They know that receivers will be there in the second and third rounds and while that may not be what many fans want to hear, I think has to be considered. For those of us that would like to see offense be the point of emphasis on this team I think we can can get ready for the status quo.

Much can certainly happen over the next 70 or so days but the combine did nothing to deter us from thinking there weren’t a lot of quality wideouts in this draft. If anything, it may significantly alter what the Steelers plan to do in the opening round.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 730pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.

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35 comments on “Depth of Wide Receivers Could Alter Steelers’ Draft Strategy

  1. I’m starting to think you may be right (although I’m not sold yet).

    I just really hope the Ravens don’t end up with Benjamin. Flacco is overrated but I’ll admit he throws a great deep ball. Flacco chucking it up to KB would be scary.

  2. This article is utter garbage. The Steelers are cowards. Ben has asked for a Tall WR but most fans refuse to accept that. That does not include steelbydesign, steeldad and steelcan. Forget the D until round 2 alright, this team has a limited number of Weapons to start with so why allow other teams to take weapons away when you know they can help? The answers is simple: The Steelers care more about screwing over Ben (I’m not joking about this) then giving him the help he needs. Forget Depth that statement is a foolish way of thinking when it comes to WR’s. If this team had success then explain to me why Dallas Baker failed? Why did Sweed fail, Why does Sanders continue to drop key passes when it was needed? Go ahead and say Wallace was good but fans remember him as a whiner and a complainer rather than the guy who made Splash Plays. The Steelers want to prove that mid round WR’s are better than top level talented WR’s, go ahead and see if that works for you cause in the end you just don’t care about your best player, you care about giving him poor excuse WR’s than giving him the help he needs. He are the guys I would accept at WR: Watkins, Evans, Lee, Benjamin and Coleman and if they fail in getting 1 of those guys you will have to pray to the heavens above Wheaton shows up cause if he don’t’ then I do not want to hear any fans moan about Wheaton. Mark My Words

  3. Yup, the Steelers “care more about screwing over Ben, then giving him the help he needs” & “in the end dont care about their best player”, so much so, that he will be paid another $100 mil on his next contract. Geez, imagine if the liked him!! Btw, its looking more and more (at this point anyways) that they will use either their 1st or 2nd pick on a WR, so all is good.

  4. Through out this offseason I’ve heard that they will pay him but just not right now. The radio host of 105.9 the X basically said “the Steelers have no forgiven Ben for his past transgressions in those 2 off-season’s and that is why they are apprehensive on a long term deal” Colbert words and I quote “We will target a Tall WR within the 1st 2 rounds of the 2014 draft” Now when draft day arrives he better back it up or people in Pittsburgh will be asking for his head on a platter. He said it now back up those words and do it. This article had me fuming over Uhlman’s assessment of the WR group. If people honestly think the Steelers should stay the course and wait out on WR talent again then you obviously have gone su locura as far as drafting goes.

  5. You are talking about a team that went out and drafted the slowest OLB in the draft last year in the first round . Even this season they are going to try and justify it and just give him a starting spot even though he didn’t earn it. Will this team go out and screw up this talent rich draft???? What else have they been doing for the last 6 years.

  6. Leave Jones alone bob graff. You are like everyone else in saying it was the wrong pick, how can it be the wrong pick? What other options were there at that point? If you say Eifert I will be really mad. Jones struggled as a rookie should be no surprise, it happens to Defensive rookies under LeBeau always have always will. I said before and I will say it again: Colbert said there all in for Ben and they would draft a Tall WR within the first 2 rounds of the NFL Draft, now he must go out there on draft day and BACK IT UP or face the Steeler Nation as the fool you will have become.

    • Eifert, Ertz,Hopkins, Elam,Minter. If you don’t understand the 40 doesn’t mean everything but when your time as a playmaking defender gets around 5.0 you are old/slow before the game even starts. that’s a no-brainer. This crap that it takes time to learn this complex defense is BS Jones was playing a basic 3-4 OLB position last year and was just flat out physically unable to do it. I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what other peoples opinions are, you are going to say they are wrong. I feel the Steelers could be a playoff team. But have drafted very poorly over the last 6 years or so and it has left them with a thin roster to the point where they are overpaying for aging talent .Because no one has been drafted to take there spots. Now would be a great time to correct this problem.

      • If there’s one thing I wanted when I started this site is to be real and to be honest. I have no problem admitting that I wanted Eifert in round one. That said, I’m not giving up on Jones after one year. Let’s give him the opportunity to see what he can do.

          • It was the smart pick. Leading up to that draft I kept seeing Jones to the Steelers and for good reason: his knack for making splash plays would help this defense that was clearly lacking that to start with. He is already adding bulk and mass to his body during this offseason and with the addition of Porter he should only get better in his 2nd year. I have no doubt about it. Why is it that no one else sees what I see in this guy?

  7. I hate TE’s in the 1st round. If they went that route it meant they don’t want Miller anymore. Jones was like any other rookie that has played in this Defense: they struggle get over it. By the time there 2nd year rolls around they get the hang of the Defense plain and simple. Minter did nothing and you know that. Hopkins would have been nice but they felt there was better talent in the mid rounds. Jones will only get better. He himself admitted that he needed to add strength to his body and that is exactly what he is doing. You graff are like any other fan that runs there mouth on Defensive rookies: You want production from the get-go. Well you know what that isn’t how this defense works and you know that. Hopkins really doesn’t have a QB to throw him the ball so it’s really a mute point. Why does no one get that this team cannot run a 2TE offense they way NE did. Brady had those guys cause other than Welker who else on that team was making plays at WR. The Steelers run a different type of Offense that what the Pats run. The Steelers have there TE threat in Miller and the other TE’s are more than adequate enough to help on this team. Now in this draft Colbert must back up what he said about a Tall WR or he will have answer for his failed quotes on that matter. I ask you the good people of Steel City Blitz: Am I lying when I say Colbert must back up what he said or he will look like an idiot?

  8. I think some of the things you are saying are true. We agree to disagree when it comes to Jones. The one thing the Steelers have always been able to do is come up with WR’s. As i have said in earlier posts if Justin Gilbert is there at 15 take him. We need him, would a player like Mike Evans work great with Ben that’s a no brainer. I feel the Steelers just can’t afford to go through another draft cycle without getting some high quality players.

  9. You say Gilbert would help but how can he? LeBeau only played Jones and Williams due to injuries and lets face it are we having this disagreement if they only played sparingly during the season? No The Steelers have of a way of picking the Wrong WR’s rather than getting it right. Case in point: Limas Sweed and Dallas Baker. Both picked as WR’s who could help and where are they now? Don’t mention Wallace cause fans only remember his complaining and lack of playmaking rather than his ability to make plays before. Sanders kept dropping easy passes thrown his way. So other than Brown who else did anything for this team as a drafted WR since 2007? Colbert himself said the CB class is deep so take that as his way of saying No CB in the 1st round. The better guys like Gilbert and Dennard get with workouts the higher they go. You can say the same thing about Evans but I can honestly say 3 QB’s will be taken within the top15 as well 7 Defensive guys as well be gone along with 3 OT’s. So by that account that leaves the high possibility of Evans being there at 15 and not the CB you want. So in reality if your GM says Were all in for Ben and you will get a Tall WR then why even go Defense in the 1st if that Tall WR they need is right there staring them in the face. This team has taken guys in the 1st since 2007 who never really start the whole year or even part of the year so why do that again when a talented WR is right there just waiting to help.

  10. See my biggest problem at this point when it comes to talking about the Steelers Draft it’s the people who want a guy like Ebron or ASJ or Amaro it is by the far biggest lie anybody can ever utter or speak of. I will make it real simple for everyone to understand: No TE or at any point of the draft. When you have a guy like Miller who is still one of the premier TE’s in the game why try to make it better or fix it to be great when it never was broken to begin with in the first place. If they do it then here is it how it will work: sign that TE and then trade Miller for whatever you can get. To all those fans who don’t understand this I’ll make it simple for you. You can have Miller or the Rookie TE you can’t have it both ways it just won’t work. So I ask you the fans which way is it going to be when it comes to the TE position?

    • Here’s the problem with that. Miller was clearly not himself last season. Yes he was coming off knee surgery and that can’t be ignored as a cause for an average year by him but…..
      He is entering the final year of his contract and there is ZERO talent behind him. They must address the position sooner rather than later.

  11. Why Address a position when the Steelers know that they must extend miller’s contract? I know that his extension should not be a long one but a good extension of 3 years sounds right wouldn’t you say. I would avoid TE all together and focus on there other areas of need rather than drafting at a position of non need. I repeat if you take a TE in this draft then you can’t have Miller. It’s either extend Miller or you trade him. I will not accept ASJ, Amaro, Ebron or for that matter any TE in this draft to play opposite of Miler I see nothing but problems arising if they go that route. Give me Evans before TE, give me mid round Defensive prospects over these “TE’s”. I want players that are needed for the Steelers not guys who don’t belong next to Miller. Look at NO are they doing what NE, Baltimore and Cincy did? What about the Hawks or the Niners or the Chargers for that matter? ?re they going with that 2TE threat offense? The answer is flat no. They know what they have at the TE position and they aren’t thinking “lets do what NE did or what Baltimore is doing or what the Bengals are doing” No they believe in the TE they have now unlike how most fans of this city want Ben to have another TE threat rather than giving him what he asked for time and again: A TALL WR. No fans would rather have the Steelers draft a poor excuse of a WR in the mid rounds like they have before and have failed at I might add and draft a TE who they don’t need, but for some reason you the fans want to live in bizzaro world rather than the real world. TE is not a need. The only time TE will ever be a need is when Miller is gone. Until that day arrives I fail to see any positives coming from the 2TE threat offense.

  12. Here’s what i think for what’s it’s worth, secret’s out everyone knows about Gilbert now . great combine, tape and college career. I was hoping this kid would go unnoticed. oh well no chance he last till 15 now.

    • We really won’t know whether Jones was a smart pick for two more years so I’m not going to worry about it yet. As for the tight end situation, I totally agree that a WR should come well before any tight end in the draft but I still think it needs to be addressed whether in the draft or free agency. Miller has been a great TE and I hope we can get a few more years out of him but he won’t play for peanuts either.

  13. The Steelers will give Miller a new deal one that is cap manageable and everyone can be happy with. If they draft TE where does he play in the offense? There paying spaeth more than they would pay a rookie TE so how can a rookie take over for spaeth or for that matter over Miller? They are set at TE what more do you the fans want from them? Bob are you nuts in saying you were hoping Gilbert would go unnoticed! The kid was a high 1st round pick before the season ended. This team needs help at WR, NT, S and CB. There is no need to draft a position that is not needed until Miller is gone. Here is a question I want answered from you: Lets say that Evans, Benjamin and Nix III are all on the board by the time the Steelers pick at 15 who is the best legitimate guy you would draft based on what you know from these 3 players?

    • Of the three you mentioned Vittorio, I can take Nix out immediately. Knee injuries and lack of value send me running in another direction. Between Evans and Benjamin I would lean Evans simply because he doesn’t get the ‘drops’ like Benjamin can.

  14. Well it’s good to know you the people have the right mindset when it comes to the Steelers 1st round pick. Heck even Mark Madden doesn’t like the idea of taking Nix in the 1st round. My brother along with a few other fans want Nix but I keep telling him it’s the wrong pick. McShay and Kiper have the same reasoning when it comes to Nix and I just don’t see it. Yeah he is the fat guy you need to plug the middle of the D but how can those guys be sure that his weight issues won’t be a problem or for that matter his knee won’t buckle? Can somebody tell me what it is they see in Nix that I don’t?

    • Remember Vittorio, some of these ‘experts’ only see the surface of each team. They know the Steelers missed Casey Hampton a bit last year so it’s only natural they plug in Nix as the next great Steelers’ nose tackle. The problem as I’ve explained is that the game has changed. While running the ball is still very important, this is a passing league now. That means a guy like Nix would only be on the field on first and maybe second down and perhaps goal line situations. Considering his knee problems as well, I just can’t see the 15th overall pick being used on a guy who won’t be an every down contributor.

  15. They may see Nix as a 2 down guy but when was the last time these experts listened to local sports talk show radio hosts or talk with guys close to the team? The reason I ask is this is because there radio host on Mark Madden 105.9 The X here in Pittsburgh looks at Nix as a 1down player. I trust his knowledge and what he talks about most of the time is usually right. So my feeling is why even go that route in the 1st round when he’ll never start his rookie year.

  16. I have been screaming at the TV for the last 5 years asking the Steelers to draft a dominant corner, to no avail. If we ever intend on competing with Brady and Manning we need a plethora of CB talent. Look what happened this year in NE… Brady had his way with us, the only time we beat them is when we pressed the receivers and put pressure on him. Arguably our weakest position depth is in the secondary, so the Steelers need to wise up and draft play makers for our secondary.

    • Part of the problem Bruce is the style of defense LeBeau plays. He doesn’t want true man to man guys. He wants corners who play off ten yards and can tackle. It’s a brilliant strategy but ONLY if the front seven get pressure.

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