Steelers To Take A Wide Receiver In The First Round?

By Jeremy Hritz

The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver position, one that was thought to be a tremendous strength and one of the best in the league at the beginning of last season, is seriously in question heading into the 2013 offseason.

Malcontent Mike Wallace will walk, which essentially is a positive due to his self-acknowledged lack of focus and true production during the 2012 season. That will leave a diminutive trio of receivers in Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jerricho Cotchery left to drive the passing game.

While these receivers are shifty and can make plays in the open field, they are not big targets that can out-physical defensive backs for the ball or get behind a defense. Losing Wallace takes away the deep threat component of the offense that the Steelers will either have to address via the draft as early as the first round, or through free agency. While Ben Roethlisberger has made the offense go with less talent at the receiver position in the past, in a league where the top offenses score points in bunches, he will ultimately need a threat if this team is to improve its scoring next year.

It could be telling if the Steelers decide to not add a receiver in the early rounds of the draft or through free agency as it could signal a desire to return to an offense more focused on controlling the time of possession with the running game. Potentially, the Steelers could burn an early pick on a runner, or, add one in free agency. While the Steelers have not been active in recent years in bringing in big-name free agents, based on Kevin Colbert’s dissatisfaction with his 8-8 team, this could be a different year.

Considering the history of the Steelers, they more than likely will not pay big money to land a star receiver, such as Greg Jennings, and if anything, they would be more inclined to sign a free agent running back. While Steven Jackson will be 30 years old next season, he still has tread left on the tires, and he wants nothing more than to play for a winner. If Jackson doesn’t command an obscene price tag, and if the Steelers can manage to do so with the salary cap, Jackson would provide for a physical runner that would automatically boost the quality of the running game. If they do sign Jackson, which I acknowledge is very unlikely to happen, they would still draft a young back in the later rounds, but it could free them up to take a wide receiver with their first overall pick.

While I still believe that the Steelers will draft an outside linebacker, I do not believe that they will select one with their first overall pick. With the offense lacking any true weapons for Roethlisberger and due to their inability to score points, they have to bring in some firepower, and it could result in the Steelers selecting a wide receiver in the first round, and then selecting an outside backer in the second or third round.

The Steelers have lots of work to do on the offensive side of the football, and while the defense is in need of players who can get pressure on the quarterback, imagine how many more games this team could have won if the offense could have generated more than 21 points?

With that said, it is possible that major additions are coming to the wide receiver and running back position. Whether it will be through the draft or free agency will be something worth paying attention to as we march deeper into the offseason.

  • mokhkw

    As 1st Rd WRs, Allen & Patterson would fit the bill if the Steelers decided to go that way. With Miller coming off surgery and the effectiveness of 2 TE sets maybe even a trade down to the 20’s & get Ertz from Stanford, the No1 rated TE in the Draft.

    While some teams – like the Steelers – can go 3 deep at CB and cover WRs not many teams can boast 2 Safeties or DBs big enough to cover 2 TEs. It also allows you some more options to help out a potentially young pair of OTs as well.

    Personally I don’t think either will happen in Rd.1.

    With Haley now confirmed as OC for the Steelers, I wonder if that has an impact on Dwayne Bowe? He had his best seasons under Haley, could he possibly be prepared to work something out to land back with Haley & be on a potential contender?

    Again, not something I consider likely, but I give it a slight chance where normally I’d give it none.

    Reports say that Mendenhall & the Steelers are still talking, maybe his exit isn’t as assured as we may think. Given the market for RBs, especially those coming off injury and “other” issues, plus the Steelers young and potentially good OLine ( it’s got to get better at some point & they get some luck with injuries) maybe he comes to the conclusion that a 1 or 2 year deal with options to stay where he is may be the best option for 2013.

    I love Jackson….but I also remember Duce Staley. No thanks.

  • This is exactly what I’d like to see happen. Steven Jackson is old(er), but he would add a proven veteran, and no doubt he would also be the feature back instead of this merry-go-round bullshit. If this did happen I’d like to see Issac Redman signed by another team, and the Steelers adding a speed back later in the draft. I also believe that if WR Cordarrelle Patterson makes it to pick #17 than the Steelers WILL draft him. He is by far the most exciting talent at receiver out there with his speed and size combo, although he still is a bit raw. He’s good enough to start in our 3-receiver sets as well as being our return specialist. If he doesn’t make it to #17 then the Steelers might wait until their 2nd round pick to pull the trigger on someone, and in my opinion there’s no way we don’t take a receiver with one of our first three picks, but I’d lay my money on the 1st round if Patterson is available.

  • I don’t know about Mendenhall, but I think Bowe would command way more money than the Steelers are willing to consider. Jackson, on the other hand, might be able to be had at a discounted price if he wants to play with a winner. We did go 8-8 last year though, so maybe we’re not even on his radar.

  • alex

    there will be huge turnover on the defensive side of the ball in the next 2 years; ie, Harrison, Hampton, Foote, Keisel, Clark, etc…

    That being said, if you cant score points, you cant win…Outside of the huge lack of a run game, which for the Steelers for the last decade is very telling, we really need what BEN has always asked for since losing PLEX…A BIG WR, but in the first round?

  • John Mazza

    I was getting pumped about seeing Jackson till you said the name Duce staley.. Lol

  • Mike Carroll

    I think the Steelers have been drafting by need a bit too much of late and should lean more toward drafting the best player available for the next couple of years. I realize it’s tough to judge which approach the team has actually taken, since it all depends on their internal thinking on draft day and the fans will never know their true opinion on these matters. But from the outside, it sure seems the team has focused on filling holes on a team that used to be a Super Bowl quality team. But, the team is getting further and further removed from those teams and they need new playmakers, regardless of what position they play.

  • steeltown

    Drafting a RB in the 1st Rd (even if they were 1st Rd grade) is dumb, unless his name is A.Peterson. RB’s can easily be found in the 2nd, 3rd and beyond.

    I was not considering WR up until the last few days, but the more I think about it, the more it is a real possibility, Sanders and Cotchery are both entering the final yr of their contracts, that leaves A.Brown and Gilreath.

    There really arent to many players I see them selecting at #17 overall, except maybe S Vaccaro or if there is a pass rusher they covet that is currently under the radar, so I could also see them trading back into the 20’s selecting someone with a late 1st rd grade and in turn getting an extra pick

    Who knows though, maybe someone falls to them the way DeCastro did last year, someone they just cant pass up (best player available)

  • ox-burgh

    The Steelers need to address to wide reciever position early but not exactly the first round due to the deep reciever draft. I think they need a ball hawk the first round to help produce those turnovers that we desperately need. We need to let Redmond,Colon,Lefwich,Mundy and Cotchery go but keep Burress and Lewis. Also we have to try something that seems omen to the Steelers and that is free agency! We need to grab a good tight end, tackle or even safety free agent! Here is my mock draft I think this would definitely help the Steelers……
    1) Johnthan Banks cb
    2) Justin Hunter wr
    3) Stepfan Taylor rb
    4) Sean Porter olb
    5) Travis Fredrick g
    6) Michael Williams te
    7) DeVonte Holloman s/olb (can be used as a lb because of his size)

  • steeltown

    I do not see them drafting CB in the 1st (unless K.Lewis leaves via FA) and actually unless Lewis walks I dont see them drafting CB at all. I do however see them drafting Safety.. maybe early

  • steeltown

    Its too early to tell what we have at NT, I like McLendon and Ta’amu /or Fangupo could be molded to be a space eater. Also havent seen a big enough sample of Heyward, same goes for Worilds, both have played well when called upon.
    But, Foote and Clarks replacements are not currently on roster (unless Lake molds R.Golden into a decent Safety and Spence becomes an every down LB) I really think ILB and Safety are big needs in this draft and/or next

  • Mike Carroll

    Wow, I can see why you like Patterson. The guy ‘looks’ like a playmaker and more importantly, he makes plays whether he’s receiving, rushing, or returning kicks. I’d be happy if the Steelers drafted him.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Steven Jackson and Dwyer would make a good running combo I think, and Dwyer could learn a lot at the same time. If we don’t use a first round pick for WR, I would like to see the Steelers consider DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson. He doesn’t get as much attention as he should because of being playing with Sammy Watkins, but no doubt he can play.

  • grw1960

    While I think the possibility of the Steelers bringing back Mendy is better than that of Wallace.Both of them will test the FA waters before any deals are made.
    And until The Salary cap deadline has past and I see what players are left.
    I will stick to the thought that the Steelers will draft a WR and RB some where in the first 3 rounds of the 2013 draft.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Apparently Tavon Austin is working down in Orlando with Ike Taylor and Ike loves what he sees out of him, so who know maybe trade back for a 1st and 2nd then grab Austin and use our second round picks to get maybe Eddie Lacy and a good LB.

  • Would MUCH prefer them to take Justin Hunter over Patterson. Better hands, better body control, more than willing to go over the middle, faster and more teachable.

  • Clint Martin

    Justin Hunter is the second best flanker wide receiver in the draft at 6’4″ 205.

    Steelers won’t pick Patterson with the 1st round pick it is a huge reach he is ranked 76th best player available he should be around late second or third. This kid is not ready to start in this league yet.

  • Clint Martin

    Tavon is only 5’9″ 175 he is only a slot receiver not a feature receiver.But he is the best slot available. Steelers don’t need another slot receiver.

  • Clint Martin

    LMAO Steelers will draft with the 17th pick the 76th best player available. LMAO

    If Steelers draft Patterson with 17th pick Colbert will be escorted out of the building! LMAO

  • I like Hunter too, and I think he is a smoother more fluid wide receiver, but I don’t think he has the individual play making skills that would put him ahead of Patterson. Hunter probably has better hands and route running skills, but no way does he have better body control. That’s Patterson’s best asset. He makes people miss every play, and that’s what makes him a special teams standout. The ceiling is high on Patterson, and that’s why he’ll probably be drafted within the first 20 picks.

  • Dude, you say 76th best available player like it’s set in stone. Where do you get your info from? Who knows where these players will be picked when it comes to draft day. Certainly not you, and chances are wherever you or I get our information from is wrong too. That being said I’ve seen Patterson’s stock rise the last month in a few mock drafts and individual rankings, and most of them have him, as well as Keenan Allen and Tavon Austin, as the 3 receivers most likely to go in round 1. Tavon is too small for us and Keenan doesn’t have the breakaway speed. That’s why I like Patterson, and if you watch his tape from last year you can see the kid gets his yards because of his playmaking talent.

  • Yup, and that’s why I like him. He fills 3 different roles for us in being a 3rd receiver, punt returner and kick returner.

  • Actually, in my opinion Justin Hunter is the more likely 2nd round pick. I think you have him listed an inch too tall too.

  • Clint Martin

    The story of my life LOL

  • Ahmad

    The Steelers have enough talent on offense to put up 30+ points a game but they just have not put it all together yet so to say their is a lack of firepower is stretching it. Better execution by the offense will lead to more points, not an early round draft pick.

  • I like Hopkins too, and like you said he’s probably a 2nd round receiver, but I’m not sure he’ll last to pick #48.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Can make a case Steelers mite draft EVERY (any) position in first round. We’ve done QB already. 20 more positions, so 20 more articles to go. I aint complaining about that, i know its because Steelers hav a long offseason & there wont be much news other than for a coupla days in April right-after the draft.

  • Cody Younkin

    Am I the only one that believes that a Saftey is still our best option seeing that we have a chance to get Matt Elam as the future of the secondary? We can get Da’Rick Rodgers or Ryan Swope in the Second round

  • grw1960

    Depends on what draft sites you go to.
    NFL Draft Scout has Patterson as the # 2 WR and a 1st round rating.
    When the combine is over there will be a closer concenous amoung the rankings.

  • grw1960

    I like Hopkins also and agree he probably will be gone by the Steelers 2nd round pick,
    But if the steelers don’t get Patterson or Hopkins I sure hope they choose a good one.
    Hunter and woods have to many drops for my taste and I hope the Steelers don’t pick another Sweed.

  • LucasY59

    If they were able to sign S. Jackson, M. Lattimore would be the RB that I would like them to draft, could get good value for 4th rd pick (maybe even 5th if he drops that far and a less risky player is available that fills a need in the 4th) wouldnt pick him any sooner as there are other postions needed with the 1-3 picks S, WR, OLB, or TE

  • LucasY59

    I agree with the depth/talent of WR’s in this draft, but none really being worthy of the 17th pick the only way I see them picking a WR in the 1st is if they trade back, even then I would rather a S in the 1st and then WR with the 2nd rd pick

  • Nolrog

    But also imagine how many more games the team would have won if they could have put pressure on the opposing QB and forced some turn overs and maybe even defensive TDs. The offense was humming along quite well until Ben got hurt. The defense hasn’t put decent pressure on the QB in 2 years now.

    I’ve been going back and forth between OLB and an offensive player. The only thing I know for sure is that they need on hell of a draft in order to stay at the top of the AFC.

  • LucasY59

    Jackson has a better resume than Staley and would hopefully come for a cheap 2yr contract to get a chance for a championship. Bowe could be another good fit for a FA but no $ for him, he is the kind of possesion WR that I think the Steelers need. too bad he and Wallace both think they should be paid way more than they are worth. I also agree that a TE could be a better value and fill a possibly bigger need in the 1st than WR (depending on how Millers knee heals)

  • You have to draft the best available player in the first round.

    I wonder if a second pro bowl TE might be a better fit for this offense than a tall WR though.

    When I look back at the season I see a very clear reason for missing the playoffs and it isn’t a WR. There were several losses this year that were completely inexcusable. Being able to run the ball and control the game solves more problems than a WR.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    The Rooneys do not bid for FAs of other teams. So any Steeler fan is wasting dreams on Stephen Jackson. Bettis was long ago & was a trade etc. Kevin Green was way long ago.

  • Clint Martin

    Go to draft tek .com

  • Maurice_hill_district

    The Rooneys dont bid on any other teams’ FAs. Therfore any dream of Steelers bidding on Bowe or SJackson is a joke. And players dont take significantly-less money to go to a particular team in NFL.

    Players NBA sometimes take less to go to a team, but thats because in basketball 1 player can put a team over the top.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Safety maybe not #1 priority but tied for the top. No doubt Steeler staff will be examining hard any safety rated to go in rounds 1 or 2 in this draft. Having high needs for safety & OLB etc is why trading down makes sense this year. We are more-than 1 player away from making playoffs next year.

  • Clint Martin

    I have to check that out thanks

  • Clint Martin

    The one reason I don’t like Patterson is beacause He only played 1 season of big boy football. Kind of like Mendenhall being a 1 year starter for Illinois. It shows when they get to the big show.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I agree, and just look at their success at drafting WR’s recently so I bet they will take a good one.

  • steeltown

    I agree. I like Paulson, but if they could get another great TE it would help the Offense tremendously, plus Heath will be coming off a serious injury and be another year older

  • steeltown

    The more I watch the playoffs this year, the more I think getting another good TE in the early Rds would be a good idea… TE’s can really dominate in todays League (as Heath did this past year) with their mismatches and breaking off blocks. I like Paulson, but he will probably never be a #1 guy, say if Miller goes down again, plus Miller is coming off of a serious injury and will be another year older

  • Rubem Dornas

    Here in Brazil is really difficult to watch to college football games so I don’t know the guys you’re talking about.

    But some guys you’re discussing… 6 ft 4 in, 220 lb… 2nd round… remembers me someone…

    Please, PLEASE, do not draft another Limas Sweed!

  • Pete

    I don’t see it happening unless a star WR fell and the Steelers had him rated as top 5. A really good WR can be had throughout the draft. Antonio Brown, 6th round and Mike Wallace, 3rd round, come to mind. No need to take one in the 1st round.

  • bhandsome08

    What would you think if the Steelers drafted either Aaron Mellette, Brandon Kaufman or Mark Harrison?

  • grw1960

    While watching the games this past weekend. I noticed 3 things.

    1- how poorly the young Steelers OL was, compared to those seen yesterday.
    2 -How important a big WR or a big athletic TE is in the red zone during the play offs.
    3 – The Steelers need at least one RB better than they have.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. With the injury to Miller and the only other valid TE on roster being Paulson, I REALLY hope they draft a TE in early Rds (2nd – 4th Rd)

  • steeltown

    We could actually maybe even get Vaccaro at #17.. or trade back a few picks and get Elam and receive an extra pick

  • steeltown

    Soo agree.. i’m NEVER able to predict what they do in the 1st Rd ever, but would love to see them trade back into the 20’s, get Elam or Eifert late 1st Rd and in turn receive an extra 2nd or 3rd Rd pick and grab a WR and LB (Hopkins and Chase Thomas) …god I hate making predictions, yet I still do it, ha… Lets call it a wishlist

  • uglybagofwater

    Elam would be a great fit in the Steelers secondary. I think there’s a slight chance he even slips to the second round. If Colbert plays his hand right, he may be able to trade down once or twice, bankroll some extra draft picks, and still get his man.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Wow! Cant believe we are talking seriously about getting Steven Jackson. If STL has let him go and they have no offense what does it look like for us to pick him up. He is near the end and isnt worth the money dont look at yesterday hoping for today!

  • Clint Martin

    I heard Steelers are taking a good hard look at the senior bowl QB’s especially Landry Jones and Mike Glennon

  • Clint Martin

    This kid has only 1 year at div 1 football