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Old 01-07-2014, 02:42 PM   #1
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Default Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

Young Wide Receivers Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

BY DOMINIC DI TOLLA - JAN 6TH, 2014



Two of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ most productive wide receivers from the 2013 regular season will hit the free agent market this March.

Emmanuel Sanders, the team’s number two pass-catcher last fall, set career marks in catches (67), receiving yards (740) and touchdowns (six). At only 26 and with room to still improve, Sanders could be a sought after commodity when he becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA). The New England Patriots were interested in Sanders last spring, and they signed the wide receiver to a third round restricted free agent (RFA) tender before the Steelers matched it.

Due to his age and his projected price tag, I think that the team will have a much easier time signing Sanders’ teammate and fellow UFA Jerricho Cotchery to a new deal. Nevertheless, interest in Cotchery could be high among franchises in need of a savvy, secondary receiver. Cotchery enjoyed his most productive season since 2009 (46 catches and 602 yards), and the veteran set a career-high last fall with 10 touchdown receptions.

Although the Steelers’ brass will do their best to sign Sanders and Cotchery, their current cap situation will probably prevent them from bringing both back for long-term deals. Even if one of the two returns, the Steelers will still need some of their younger wide receivers to step up during the 2014 regular season.

Markus Wheaton, the team’s third round draft choice from last April, should be a candidate to step up and fill any potential void. Although his rookie campaign was marred by finger injuries, Wheaton was one of Pittsburgh’s preseason bright spots (nine catches, 139 yards and one touchdown). In fact, Wheaton racked up more stats during preseason play than he did during the 12 games (six catches for 64 yards) he suited up for during the regular season.

Two other receivers on Pittsburgh’s current roster could be primed to step up in their second seasons with the team, Justin Brown and Derek Moye.

Despite the fact that he spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad, big things could be expected from Brown in 2014. The former Penn State and Oklahoma pass-catcher has a large frame (6’3″ 209 lbs.), had a productive 2013 preseason (six catches for 44 yards), possesses experience as a punt returner and has drawn rave reviews for his play on the scout team along with Moye last fall.

Although he was inactive for eight of the team’s 16 games, Moye still performed well enough (two catches, 20 yards and one touchdown) to stay on Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster for the entirety of last season. Moye led Pittsburgh in receiving (10 catches, 149 yards and one touchdown) during preseason play, and he was even utilized in the red zone during the team’s loss on Monday Night Football in Week 2.

If the front office and coaching staff are not comfortable with the back end of their current depth chart, then they could elect to fill their potential wide receiver needs through the upcoming draft process.

Physically imposing targets like Mike Adams of Texas A&M could be available in the first round, and speedsters with big-play ability like Marqise Lee of Southern California could still be on the board at number 15 overall as well. Although they would be newer to the team than Wheaton, Brown and Moye, those guys could come in and compete for a starting role almost immediately due to their talented skill-sets.

Final Thoughts

Even if only one of Pittsburgh’s top UFA receivers leaves this spring, the door will be open for one or even two young players to find niches for themselves in Todd Haley’s offense.Although many will focus on whether or not UFA outside linebacker Jason Worilds will stay, I am just as intrigued to see what the Steelers’ brass decide to do with their number two and number three receivers this March.

Projecting who stays or who goes aside, the departure of Sanders or Cotchery will create a void for someone to step in and step up for this rebuilding franchise. Thus, the battle between Wheaton, Brown, Moye and even a rookie or two for potential playing time should be interesting to watch during the coming months.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2014/01/06...tential-voids/
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

can we just forget about Burress then?
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

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can we just forget about Burress then?
I think it's time to forget about Plax. This team needs to go with the youth movement, and we have a couple big receivers in the stable. I think Plax is finished in the 'Burgh.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

It would be great if Moye and Justin Brown can step it up and feel those voids. They both have the size and physicality that we so desperately need. I was big on Mike Evans, but I was kind of pushed off a little after watching the way he was mentally taken out of that bowl game the other night. The refs missed a pass interference call and he let it get to him and got two costly personal foul penalties, and he was pretty much a non-factor the rest of the game. Don't get me wrong, he has great talent and I wouldn't be against the Steelers drafting him, but I just wish I hadn't seen that part of him. Watkins really impressed me and Lee impressed me, and I also think another nice receiver that will be in this draft is Brandin Cooks from Oregon State. He's not the big body receiver that everyone wants the Steelers to draft, but he reminds me alot of Joey Galloway with his hands, speed, and strength.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

I think the infatuation with Evans is idealistic.

It will be interesting to see what his 40 is.

Watkins REALLY looks like their type of WR - a more talented Santonio Holmes type.

But, I suspect he won't be there for them to take.

Still think a TE is an option.

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It would be great if Moye and Justin Brown can step it up and feel those voids. They both have the size and physicality that we so desperately need. I was big on Mike Evans, but I was kind of pushed off a little after watching the way he was mentally taken out of that bowl game the other night. The refs missed a pass interference call and he let it get to him and got two costly personal foul penalties, and he was pretty much a non-factor the rest of the game. Don't get me wrong, he has great talent and I wouldn't be against the Steelers drafting him, but I just wish I hadn't seen that part of him. Watkins really impressed me and Lee impressed me, and I also think another nice receiver that will be in this draft is Brandin Cooks from Oregon State. He's not the big body receiver that everyone wants the Steelers to draft, but he reminds me alot of Joey Galloway with his hands, speed, and strength.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

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I think the infatuation with Evans is idealistic.

It will be interesting to see what his 40 is.

Watkins REALLY looks like their type of WR - a more talented Santonio Holmes type.

But, I suspect he won't be there for them to take.

Still think a TE is an option.
Yeah, I agree that TE is definitely an option. Ebron, Amaro, or Sefarian-Jenkins would also fill a need and desire for a big Target in the passing game, and would be good insurance if something happened to Heath.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

I will be disappointed if a TE is taken in the 1st round.

Steelers run defense was terrible without a decent NT in the middle. Was I the only one that watched our Defensive backs make Charles Clay, Greg Jennings and others look like all pro's because they didn't tackle or cover??
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

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I will be disappointed if a TE is taken in the 1st round.

Steelers run defense was terrible without a decent NT in the middle. Was I the only one that watched our Defensive backs make Charles Clay, Greg Jennings and others look like all pro's because they didn't tackle or cover??
probably won't happen, there's no 1st round TE talent in this draft. especially at pick 15 it'd be a reach
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Young WRs Must Be Ready to Fill Potential Voids

Steelers may not even draft a WR this draft. Brown, Wheaton, Moye, J Brown, and resign Crotchery could be a very good rotation. Now if someone of interest drops to the 4th round then I could see them picking him up.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:47 AM   #10
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Steelers may not even draft a WR this draft. Brown, Wheaton, Moye, J Brown, and resign Crotchery could be a very good rotation. Now if someone of interest drops to the 4th round then I could see them picking him up.
cotchery should be the #2, he's sure handed, runs good routes, and is dangerous in the redzone. 10 td's is nothing to sneeze at

reminds me a little of hines, not the biggest or fastest guy, but just gets it done
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