PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – The pass catching position has undergone a lot of change this off-season for the Steelers and although a couple veterans will be around to offer support, the load will have to be shouldered by younger players.
In this next in the series of 937TheFan.com Exclusive Web Primers, Andrew Fillipponi will take a closer look at the Steelers wide receivers.
As a result of an underachieving performance last year, the Steelers allowed their receivers coach to get a job elsewhere and together with Mike Wallace taking his talents to South Beach, the wide receiver position will look very different for the Steelers this season.
Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders need to take the next step in their growth. Brown must be more consistent, and Andrew thinks he has the skills to be a big play threat.
The Steelers matched the one-year offer sheet Sanders signed with the Patriots so he is playing for a bigger payday next off-season. Andrew does not expect much more than average production from the unproven Sanders.
This franchise has had success finding quality receivers in the draft in recent years and they will be trying to duplicate that result with Marcus Wheaton out of Oregon State taken in the third round and Justin Brown taken in the sixth round from Oklahoma.
Wheaton should see time in the slot and on special teams to start while Brown’s natural size makes him a tempting target.
Still, Andrew argues that “quarterbacks make their receivers.” There are numerous examples from around the league of this happening so getting on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be essential for all of the receivers.
This is a unit that is sure to improve from last year even with the loss of Wallace.