Will The Steelers Double-Dip The Wide Receiver Position In The Draft?

Had wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders not had his one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet given to him by the New England Patriots matched this past Sunday, the general consensus was that the Pittsburgh Steelers would have double-dipped at the wide receiver position in the upcoming draft. Now that the Sanders will at least be back for one more season, many still believe that two wide receivers will still be drafted, but I wouldn\’t be so sure that will be the course of action.

Keep in mind that you have a numbers game to deal with in regard to the 53 man roster. Sanders, Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery are currently the Steelers top three wide receivers. We are pretty sure that another one will be drafted in the top four rounds, so that makes four in total that should be roster locks baring something unexpected happening. As I pointed out in a recent post, veteran Plaxico Burress is by no means a lock to make the 53 man roster now that Sanders has been re-signed, and he would become even less of a lock if the Steelers were to come out of the draft with two wide receivers.

In 2005, the Steelers opened the season with six wide receivers on their 53 man roster. Two of those six, however, were special teams players in the form of Quincy Morgan and Sean Morey.

In 2006, the Steelers again opened the season with six wide receivers, and again, Morey was one of those six.

If you considered Stefan Logan to be a wide receiver in 2009, the Steelers again carried six wide receivers to start the season, but Logan was a return man and Sean McDonald was a special teams player.

In 2010, the Steelers once again carried six wide receivers to start the season with Arnaz Battle being the sixth due to his special teams play and the same went for 2011.

Last year, the Steelers only kept four wide receivers to open the season and that was a rarity, and most likely due to the number of running backs that they chose to keep.

Heading into to 2013, it is certain that both Cotchery and Burress will not be asked to play on special teams. If Burress makes the roster, then a second drafted wide receiver better be able to play special teams. Keeping six, however, would come at the expense of another position and it would also mean that one of the six would be on the inactive list in Week 1.

When you put together roster numbers for 2013, you will see that keeping six wide receivers will be a tough thing to do. It\’s not out of the question to happen, mind you, just unlikely.

The Steelers have several holes to fill this year during the draft, and when you take all that we know right now into consideration, it will make it tough for the Steelers to draft two wide receivers next week, unless they were to pick up another draft pick via a trade.

So consider this your chance to chime in on the situation. Do you think that the Steelers will draft two wide receivers in the upcoming draft? If so, how many do you see them keeping on the 53 man roster?

  • hergieburbur

    If they do, I think it will be the 2nd/3rd and late, like maybe their comp 6th. Otherwise, I think they look toward UDFA. Either way, I look for them to stash the second guy on the PS.

    I definitely don’t think, like some people seem to, that we go 1st and 3rd or anything like that.

  • Burress is a big target and a good friend of Ben BUT he not only does not play STs, he is not very well known for his blocking either. I think he is better served as a WR that you sign and bring in when injuries start to mount. With the Steelers looking to get this running game going, I can’t see them keeping more than 5 on the 53. So that means Brown, Sanders, Cotchery, a draft pick and Gilreath or Burress…Gilreath plays STs so maybe he is the better value. The Steelers obviously like him because they keep bringing him back…So I would say no to the double dip this year. Plenty of extra picks to get that extra WR or 2 next year.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    I can’t see hanging onto Burress or Cotchery, not with the draft as deep as it is. I’d like to see Eifert picked in th 1st rd, Hopkins, Bailey or Hunter 2nd, Josh Boyce in the 5th and at least on FA, Brice Butler perhaps.

  • hergieburbur

    Cotch isn’t going anywhere, they need at least one veteran WR. I doubt they take three pass catchers. I think Eifert and a WR in the 2nd or third is more likely. Keep in mind how rare it is to get any real production out of a rookie WR.

  • steeltown

    I think 5 WR’s this season. My thoughts exactly.. #5 comes down to Burress or Gilreath.. and Gilreath might tear it up in preseason again
    BUT that doesn’t mean they wont draft a 2nd WR (with their extra 6th or the 7th Rd pick) if a guy they covet falls to them they will select him.. and it might be at the expense of Burress AND Gilreath come time for final cuts

  • steeltown

    Cothery isn’t going anywhere, like Bryan mentioned Brown, Sanders and Cotchery are the top 3 and almost locks to make the roster, everyone else is fighting for a spot, including whoever they draft

  • Lamarr56

    I would be ecstatic if we could get Stedman Bailey, or “Nuke” Hopkins. It would also be sweet to draft my man Swope out of T A&M.

  • And why are a lot of folks trying to give Cotchery a headstone? The Guy is only 30 and while he may not ever get better than what he is, he is still a dang solid receiver for his pricetag. He can surely produce 2 or 3 more years.

  • steeltown

    I agree
    To be honest, he is the type of player you want on your Team, not just for his veteran experience, but I mean a guy that can produce and still cost very little. You cant have superstars at every position. He’ll never be the #1 and we’re never going to ask him to be, like you said, for the money he is solid.
    Pending the outcome of the draft and Sanders (long term) I actually hope he is extended for 1-2yrs after this season, again for cheap, to be our #3 or #4 WR

  • Exactly and especially if they can’t get the Sanders extension done.

  • Kolie Oak

    Ryan Swope will easily be gone by our 3rd. The question is, is he worth our 2nd???
    I personally think, he will cover up Mikes absence..

  • steeltown


  • Kolie Oak

    After looking at most mocks regarding the 3rd and 4th rounds I’m starting to think signing Sanders was not so bright…
    We have so many holes to fill, an extra pick would of been the right move.

    After re-reading my post I’m really not sure what to think, all I know is there’s a lot of high quality guys in the 3rd…

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    Wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all if they carried 6 and inactivated Baron Batch..I’d rather dress 6 WRs then 4 RBs it can Change based on opponents but Batch brings nothin to the run game..NOTHING! Atleast Plaxico is a viable target and can help In the $ Zone

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    Oh and not to mention theres a High chance Sanders..Cotchery and Plaxico may be gone next season it would be smart to grab two. Another reason I wouldn’t have mind getting a extra pick from the Pats.Who knows maybe they trade that first and get a extra second and third

  • dgh57

    If they double dip anywhere I think it will be at the Safety position! Before the Sanders signing I thought yes they’ll be double dipping in this draft at WR. They still can take 2 receivers but it might be of the WR-TE variety. Of course, it all depends on how the draft unfolds as to what they do!

  • SteelSpine

    Don’t forget the best ever double-dip of WR in NFL history: Swann & Stallworth.

  • Cody Younkin

    I really want DeAndre Hopkins, but since the only way to get him is in the first, i say go with Stedmn Bailey and Ace Sanders in the 6th. guy catches everything like DeAndre and can be a kick/punt returner on SP. Other than that I would also condisder double-dipping in the saftey class. Get a guy like Vaccaro and Boyett ( from Oregon) in the 6th. ALSO look at Ray Ray Armstrong in the 7th/FA PLEASE

  • LucasY59

    exactly what I would’ve said, I will be a little disappointed if they don’t draft a TE, one WR should be enough this year, maybe a comp 6th,7th or UDFA as well (there is enough talent to find a late rd talent) if that player can beat out Plax then the WR corps is headed in the right direction. I really hope that they take 2 safeties in this draft, there are enough prospects this year that both could become quality players. the only problem is the Steelers could use about 3 more picks this year

  • James Warner

    I think they will double dip. They need a young tall guy as long as his name isn’t Sweed….. lots of choices first 3 rounds and a slot guy to learn the system for when sanders leaves next year. Boyce or Bailey should be available 3rd round or later. Not convinced they will come to terms on money with Sanders.

  • Jollyrob68

    If they draft Eifert who is a TE/slot guy then they can just draft one. I was thinking Mark Harrison Rutgers a big bodied Wr in the later rounds

  • RW

    Because the mock draft thread is so over-saturated I thought I’d post mine here, particularly because I do think we’ll double dip at WR. Anyway, here it goes:

    First of all, I think we trade down. I’ve seen two mock drafts that have us trading down with SF. While I doubt Jim Harbaugh lets go of his petty AFC playoff loss against us, SF does have enough draft picks to let some go (and they’ll need to, they almost have a full roster as is). Anyway, I have us giving them our first and them giving us their first and second (the earlier second round pick). I also have us trading our 4th and earlier 6th for a 3rd rounder. I’ve used CBS Sportsline NFL Prospective Player rankings to determine where each player will go (+- 10 or so spots). Here goes nothing:

    1 – ILB – Alec Ogletree

    2a – FS – Matt Elam

    2b – WR –Robert Woods

    3a – RB – Andre Ellington

    3b – WR – Stedman Bailey

    5 – CB – Brandon McGee

    6 – OLB – Brandon Jenkins

    7 – SS – Ray Ray Armstrong

  • David Edward

    Some good posts on here. I think it will be only one WR and could be later than some may think. This is a year where they may go BAA in each round since they actually have more needs than draft picks. If they are creative, then BAA would likely be Eifert in 1st. They’ll probably miss out on a WR in 2nd, and maybe 3rd, but grab Boyce or King in the 4th. I also think they will only keep 5 WR with Burress and Gilreath fighting for #5. However, by drafting Eifert, it’s like having another WR to go along with TE. He can essentially replace Plax as the big WR and open the door for Gilreath.

  • steeltown

    Im hearing Minnesota is looking to trade up as well

  • mokhkw

    If there weren’t so many other needs I would say it was a good chance of getting 2 WRs or 1 WR+1TE/H-Back…maybe even 3 total WRs & TEs.

    I tend to think it will be one & the Steelers sign a vet post-Draft like Breaston.

    Looking at the hiring of Richard Mann, our new WR Coach, his track record appears to be much better with vets than it is with rookies. I was interested to read his comments a while back about how he adjusted after receiving criticism for not preparing some players as well as others – it was refreshing to see tbh.

    With so many needs to fill I also don’t discount the possibility that the Steelers don’t draft a WR or a RB at all & fill out those needs via FA.

  • mokhkw

    Marcus Davis & Corey Fuller from Va Tech would make a nice comp 6th pick. When you look at the WRs available in the later rounds, there’s some surprising talent there – even Mark Harrison from Rutgers may go undrafted now, a few years back he was being toted as a potential 1st Rder.

  • John Hinton

    If Tyler Eifert is a “Gronk clone” perhaps picking him @ #17 would be a good move.

  • hergieburbur

    The Hotel thing, true or not, sure doesn’t do him any favors.