Steelers Potential 1st & 2nd Round Wide Receiver Draft Options

By Jeremy Hritz

If the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the market for a wide receiver early in the 2013 NFL Draft, these are six names worth paying attention to as the offseason wears on. At pick 17, the Steelers should have a shot at all five of the following players.

Keenan Allen, California

Not a speedster, but Allen is a big target at 6’3 who can make the difficult catch in traffic and is unafraid of going across the middle. Elusive enough to make defenders miss in the open field, Allen can find open areas in defenses. Was recruited by Nick Saban to play safety at Alabama. While Allen will not stretch the field, he can use his vision and wiggle to turn short catches into big plays. While he would not replace the deep threat that the Steelers are losing in Mike Wallace, his size and sure-hands could be alluring.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

Patterson is somewhat of an enigma in this year’s draft being that he only played one season of major college football at Tennessee. Prior to that, he spent two years at Hutchinson Community College where he caught 113 balls for 1832 yards and 24 touchdowns. His one season at Tennessee was not tremendously productive, only accounting for five touchdowns on 46 catches, hardly the stuff of top flight NFL receivers. Patterson is seen as a prospect that has the size/speed combination to stretch defenses and to create the big play down the field. Because of the lack of experience playing the wide receiver position at the DI level, Patterson has real bust potential.

DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

Hopkins had a solid year in 2012, catching 82 balls for 1405 yards, and he had a monster game against LSU in the Chik-fil-A Bowl, grabbing 13 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Hopkins has good hands and body control, and is aggressive in going after the catch. Curiously, his coach at Clemson, Dabo Swinney, questioned Hopkins decision to leave school early and enter the draft, feeling he could have benefited from another year. Not a burner, but an all-around solid prospect.

Tavon Austin, West Virgnia

Ultra-productive receiver and returner at West Virginia, Austin is shifty and has undeniable speed. He can make defenders miss, yet he does not possess the size to out-jump and out-physical defensive backs for the deep ball. While Austin would upgrade the Steelers return units, his style of play is similar to that of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, which makes the possibility that the Steelers would select him low.

Terrance Williams, Baylor

Williams is a 6\’2 target that generally  gets good releases off the line of scrimmage. He uses his frame well to shield defenders and is regarded as an above average blocker on the outside. He has quick feet but is mostly regarded as an outside receiver and is not well versed in a variety of routes. Much like Wallace, Williams is more of a body pass catcher than a hands catcher. The Baylor product had 957 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns as a junior in 2011, and led the entire country in receiving yards his senior year.

Justin Hunter, Tennessee

Let’s preface the discussion of potential wide receiver picks of the Steelers by acknowledging that they are in need of size at the position. While not a thickly built player, Hunter is rangy at 6’4, and his size is something that would be attractive to the team. Described as competitive but not physical, Hunter has the ability to stretch defenses. Tore his ACL in 2011, but recovered fully in 2012 and caught 73 balls for over 1000 yards.

PlayerCollegeHeightWeight40 TimeCareer RecsCareer YdsCareer TDsYPCDraft Proj.
Keenan AllenCalifornia6’32104.5320525701712.51st Round
Cordarrelle PattersonTennessee6’32054.4646778516.91st Round
DeAndre HopkinsClemson6’12004.4920530092714.62nd Round
Tavon AustinWest Virginia5’81734.428834132911.82nd Round
Terrance WilliamsBaylor6\’22054.4920132942716.52nd Round
Justin HunterTennessee6’42054.4910618121817.12nd Round

  • RW

    Justin Hunter would be nice – question is would we have to trade up to get him?

  • Kenneth Wilt

    For me, Williams is out. If you look at the big physical receivers, they must be able to go get the ball with their hands. That may be the largest hole in the WR core right now. Physical and will go get the ball. Look at Denver, Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston….they all have guys who will go GET the ball with their hands and size. I said the entire year last year, we had 2 #2 receivers in Wallace and Brown. Either would be great in that #2 role, but we didn’t have a #1. Wallace isn’t a #1 to me cause he only likes to run go routes and doesn’t have great hands. Sanders is a good #3 and Plaxico and Cotchery are fine for the #4/5 slots, but we need a true big, phyical #1 receiver.

  • Cols714

    Do not want a tall slow receiver. If we are drafting a receiver we need to draft one in the Mike Wallace / Torrey Smith mode of being fast and of decent size.

  • Kysteeler

    I would doubt it, I would say we would likely be able to trade down and still grab him.

  • Kysteeler

    I like Smith.. he reminds me of a poor man’s AJ Green (which I would take lol)

  • steeltown

    Would love Hopkins, but would take Hunter if Hopkins is gone

  • zyzak

    Hopkins by a wide margin

  • steeltown

    We have speed in Brown and Sanders.. we need a physical fight for the ball WR with good hands and body control.. I would love to get Hopkins in the 2nd

  • Josh

    The wide receiver position appears to be very deep this year. There will probably be a couple other guys worth considering in the 2nd round. Markus Wheaton from Or St. is similar to Mike Wallace. Aaron Dobson from Marshall has size and speed. And Quinton Patten from La. Tech is a player. All things equal, I’d hope that Deandre Hopkins is available in the 2nd and the Steelers nab him.

  • steeltown


  • I think Hunter should be available when we select in the 2nd round.

  • Garrett Hunt


  • ^ This. Speed is not our need. Size and hands are.

  • Rodney Smith from FSU?

  • When you’re discussing Cordarrelle Patterson you have to consider him more than just a WR. He’s an offensive playmaker. Sure, only 5 tds receiving last year, but he also had 3 rushing tds and 2 return tds. He only played one year at Tenn, but he was also the #1 JUCO prospect. At his community college he accumulated 3,379 all purpose yds(1,832 rec), and 36 career tds(24 rec). I think he’ll be the 1st WR off the board, around #10, followed by Tavon Austin, and then maybe another speed receiver after that before Keenan Allen gets his name called.

  • Thom Kay

    I was just about to recite the same stats. Patterson is my favorite. At 6’3″ with blazing speed, he could be a game changer. Love what he can do. If you haven’t watched his games on YouTube, do so. You’ll be impressed.

  • Henry

    As a Tennessee alum, I watched every game Patterson and Hunter played last year. Patterson is a phenomenal athlete. Big, strong, fantastic body control and agility. Also adjusts well to the ball in the air. The one downside is that he runs terrible routes which is why he only had 46 catches last year. Some plays, he simply takes himself out of the play BC he runs a bad route. Gotta think that has to do with only 1 yr of major college ball. Him running with the ball in the open field is something to marveled at.

  • SteelerDave

    Hopkins over Hunter but either one in the 2nd round would be a valued, smart pick. Although the WR crop this coming is deep, there is nobody worthy of our using a 1st round pick on. Same can be said for a few other positions.

  • Clint Martin

    Just talked to Colbert they are going after Landry Jones in the second round.
    1st round will be best player available he said hopefully Chance Warmack is still on the board.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Hey we finally agree! Maybe not a wide margin though

  • Clint Martin

    Never another player from LA.Tech again especially not a first round wide receiver.Anyone remember Troy Edwards