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?