Monday, April 19, 2010

Steelers Draft Preview: Receivers

We continue our Steelers draft preview series today with a look at the Steelers receivers. We'll be hosting a Cover It Live Blog with some other bloggers and fans on Thursday and Friday for the first three rounds of the draft. Feel free to stop by and share your thoughts with us! The great thing about CoverItLive Blogs is that you don't need an account to participate, you can make posts as a guest. We're looking forward to the draft and hope that you'll drop by and chat with us!

Wide Receivers
Current Players:
Hines Ward
Mike Wallace
Antwaan Randle El
Arnaz Battle
Limas Sweed
Tyler Grisham
Brandon London
Jason Chery

The Steelers traded away Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets, inspiring many knee-jerk reaction fans to proclaim that "the season is screwed!" or "this will be the make-or-break draft for the Steelers franchise." Hopefully people have calmed themselves down a bit. Holmes is suspended for 1/4 of the season, and the Steelers did enough in free agency, picking up Randle El and Battle, to give them a solid receiving corps. Does this mean that the Steelers should go the whole draft without taking a receiver? Absolutely not. In fact, we hope they do take one. However, do the Steelers need to take a receiver on the first two days (3 rounds) of the draft? Absolutely not. This draft is incredibly deep at receiver and the Steelers could find a great player in a later round, like Freddie Barnes (WR-Bowling Green). With all the noise that has been made about character this offseason, it's highly unlikely that the Steelers take Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State), the best receiver in the draft without question. If we had our say, the Steelers wouldn't take a WR in the 2nd round either unless Golden Tate (Notre Dame) fell to them. That scenario isn't very likely. We think Tate will be gone by the time the Steelers get their turn in the 2nd round. They could take a shot on Emmanuel Sanders (SMU) who has absolutely blazing speed, but we'd rather see them go for a guy like Freddie Barnes in the 5th round. We have a huge man-crush on Barnes, and for good reason. He caught 155 passes for 1770 yards last year. Yes, he played for Bowling Green, but he still caught 155 balls. That's an unprecendented amount of production (and an NCAA record). The dude can catch the ball, and that's exactly the type of guy we need.
Potential Draft Picks:
Golden Tate (2nd)
Arrelious Benn (2nd)
Emmanuel Sanders (3rd-6th)
Freddie Barnes (4th-5th)

Tight Ends
Current Players:
Heath Miller
Matt Spaeth
Sean McHugh
David Johnson
Eugene Bright

The Steelers situation at tight end is hard to analyze. At the top, they have Heath Miller, arguably one of the Top 5 TE's in the league. Heath has four houses and a hotel on the middle of the field and can also be a devastating blocker. He's often used as a "sidecar" in shotgun sets to provide extra protection for Ben. Spaeth was highly touted coming out of Minnesota, and he has shown flashes of brilliance in the receiving game when he has been given a chance. For Bruce Arians' love for multiple-TE sets, he rarely utilizes the 2nd TE in the passing game. Behind them, Sean McHugh, who spent last year on the IR was a decent H-back (basically a receiving fullback). David Johnson waned as last season drew on, and the Steelers lack of a true blocking back showed as they attempted to fill the void with tight ends. If the Steelers target a tight end in this draft, it probably won't be as a pass-catching option. Spaeth's blocking has improved since his rookie season, but Johnson and McHugh leave a little something to be desired. We honestly have no idea who the Steelers might draft. They brought in former Woodland Hills star Rob Gronkowski for a visit, but we doubt that they spend a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a tight end. Because we're homers, we would like to see them take Penn State product Andrew Quarless or Pitt product Dorian Dickerson, but neither of those are likely to happen.

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