If everything goes as planned, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have wide receiver talent coming out of their ears in 2017. In most cases, this is a good problem to have but I can’t help but wonder if the Steelers aren’t facing a serious conundrum.
Let us assume that Martavis Bryant is re-instated and that Antonio Brown gets a fat new contract. There’s your top two guys. Then we have Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, Cobi Hamilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Demarcus Ayers. I think it is fair to also mention that Canaan Severin will push for a roster spot as well and if you want to include Dez Stewart and Marcus Tucker that’s fine but I see their chances as much slimmer.
That’s a larger than usual pool the Steelers have to chose from but there are no guarantees here.
I think Rogers has done more than enough to prove he deserves a roster spot based on this past year. 48 receptions and 594 yards with three TDs is nothing to sneeze at for a guy often forced into duty as a second receiver despite not really being one. We know what DHB brings in terms of speed and veteran leadership but is his knack for special teams enough to keep him on the roster?
The biggest question for some will be Sammie Coates. In the beginning of the year, he was the deep threat the Steelers needed to replace Bryant but then an injury to his hand hampered his entire game. He’s now faced with questions about just how good and reliable he can be. His inability to make a better attempt in the AFC Title game on the opening drive has left many wondering just what his future holds.
I think we have to give Coates the benefit of the doubt. He’s too darn athletic and explosive to send packing just yet. If the hand was indeed the major issue then he certainly deserves a chance in my mind.
With the draft coming in less than 80 days, we already know the Steelers need help at edge rusher, cornerback, tight end, etc. But does that, combined with the abundance of talent, mean the Steelers won’t draft a wide receiver? I’m not ruling that out at all. Do I think it will happen early in the draft? No but at pick number 30, the Steelers may likely be in a position to draft the best player available depending upon what happens in front of them.
Personally, I think this group of receivers is ‘very good’ but if it can be better? Who am I to say no? Ultimately, injuries and camp performance cold separate these guys and that separation is the difference between the active roster and potentially being somewhere else altogether.