When Heath Miller was still recovering from ACL surgery early in the 2013 season,it became clear that he was an important part of the offense. It didn’t help that Matt Spaeth was also sidelined with a foot injury.
The Steelers tried to keep their head above water with what Coach Tomlin called a “committee-oriented group,” of David Paulson, David Johnson, Michael Palmer, and even Kelvin Beachum at one point.
I thought that might work with Paulson’s pass-catching, and Johnson’s and Palmer’s blocking ability.
However, as we all saw, that was a huge failure.
Looking ahead, David Johnson and Michel Palmer are both free agents. I would say that Palmer probably returns due to Johnson’s inability to stay healthy. However, it’s possible they both come back and get a chance to fight it out.
I could see Heath, Spaeth, Palmer, and a couple of rookies (drafted or UDFA) being the TE depth chart going into training camp.
Head writer here, SteelDad had a write up earlier this week about the possibility of the Steelers selecting Eric Ebron at the #15 spot in the first round.
I wouldn’t be crazy about the pick, but if he represented the best player available then I’d say go for it.
Keep in mind, this is just my opinion… but I think going into the draft the Steelers would grab a TE if someone they liked was on the board and was a good value, but also would be content going to camp with Heath and Spaeth as the top TE options if that didn’t happen.
I could see them potentially wanting to find a better pass catching option than Spaeth to backup Heath though.
Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are all very talented pass catchers that should go pretty early.
Seferian-Jenkins would be my personal favorite if he were there in the 2nd round. If he does fall that far it’s because teams are worried about a DUI arrest he had last Spring. ASJ reminds me a little bit of Rob Gronkowski with his all-around skills in the pass-catching and run-blocking game.
If the Steelers looked to free agency there’s a couple of options that would be cheap options to backup Heath.
Guys like Garrett Graham, Ed Dickson, or Andrew Quarless don’t have too much tread on the tires, and shouldn’t demand large contracts if they wanted to go that route.
To sum it all up, I think that the Steelers would definitely welcome an upgrade to the TE position behind Heath (and to eventually replace him), but if the draft doesn’t fall that way they could win games with what they have.