That scared me, a lot. With so many really solid receivers in this draft I thought that taking such a raw receiver would be a huge mistake. The Steelers are in transition and a huge bust in the 2nd round would be a huge blow to the team’s future.
In the third round, I started thinking I’d be comfortable with taking a shot on Bryant, so when he was there in the 4th I thought, jackpot.
Let me say this first about Bryant; I think that Steelers fans need to be patient, and keep their expectations in check with him. I’ve read that he could start this season for the Steelers, which I think is way too optimistic.
There’s a reason Bryant dropped to round 4. He played in an offense with a big arm at QB, and the best receiver in the country playing across from him and still didn’t exactly light it up.
That being said, I think that Bryant just started figuring it out last season. Brant runs sloppy routes, and doesn’t look like a natural hands catcher.
I started with the bad, because I’m afraid that Steeler nation thinks we just drafted a receiver with Plaxico’s frame and Wallace’s speed, and he’s going to tear up the league; but there is plenty to like about Bryant too.
I read somewhere that Brant compared to the late Bengals receiver Chris Henry, and I thought that was a spot on comparison.
Henry was a raw receiver, with a long lanky build. He didn’t run routes particularly well, but he was fast, and he could jump… and Henry managed to be a great deep weapon for the breakout Bengals.
Henry was never a high volume pass catcher, averaging just 2.2 catchers per game over his career and he benefited greatly from the attention Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh demanded.
However, as we saw on the first Bengals snap in the 2005 playoff game, Henry had a knack for big plays and could turn a game in an instant. He caught a 66 yard bomb on the infamous play, knocking Carson Palmer out of the game.
I think Bryant’s a similar receiver, and could fill a similar role in the Steelers offense, if he’s willing to work. I’d love to see Antonio Brown’s work ethic and route running ability rub off on Bryant.
He’s really the epitome of boom or bust prospect, but with just a 4th round pick spent, it’s a gamble worth taking.