It seems as if the Pittsburgh Steelers draft a wide receiver every year. This year should be no different. With Martavis Bryant in his last year of his contract and unlikely to return, the Steelers will need an outside receiver to replace him. An outside receiver who can help the Steelers red-zone woes is Allen Lazard.
2017 Stats: 13 Games | 71 receptions, 941 yards (13.3 avg) | 10 TD
Background: Chose Iowa State over Stanford and Notre Dame. Father and brother both played football at Iowa State. Four star recruit. First Team All-Big 12. Co-captain. Best wide receiver in Iowa State history, breaking five school records. Senior Bowl participant. Communication Studies major.
What’s to like: Excellent size at 6’5”. Laser focus with contested and combative catches. Lethal red zone threat. Reliable over the middle of the field, doesn’t shy from ensuing defenders. Finds open space to exploit defensive weaknesses. A hands-catcher, doesn’t rely on his body to secure a catch. Catches the ball at the highest point. Great body control and adjustment to the ball in the air. Truly mastered catching back-shoulder passes. Fights through press coverage with strength to separate. Will draw many flags down field due to size and body position. Works the sideline very well, keeps feet in. Makes some out-of-this-world spectacular catches.
Concerns: Run blocking effort is inconsistent. Needs to stay engaged with defenders while run blocking. Doesn’t offer a ton of production after the catch. Not great burst off the line of scrimmage. His routes could be a bit more crisp. Will have some issues adjusting to strong press-corners in the NFL. Not a fluid athlete but isn’t totally limited.
Verdict: Lazard is a pure possession receiver with some really good traits to work with. He has some solid production due to the high volume of targets he received and his ability to catch the long ball. He doesn’t offer much after the catch, so this may turn some teams off. On day three, if available, the Steelers should consider Lazard due to his leadership, high character, ability as a red zone threat and can move the chains anywhere on the field.
Grade: 64.5 (Early Day Three)
Film Credit: YouTube
Background Credit: Iowa State Athletics
Photo Credit: Black Heart Gold Pants