Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Justin Brown is about to enter the second phase of his transition into the NFL with the first OTA session getting underway Tuesday in Pittsburgh, but transition is something that the Oklahoma product is probably pretty used to by now.
Brown, who attended the Steelers rookie camp immediately following the draft, decided to transfer to Oklahoma from Penn State following the Jerry Sandusky scandal and he recently told Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that it took a lot to decide to leave the school that he envisioned playing for during all of high school.
“When everything broke at Penn State, Oklahoma was one of the first schools to contact me,” Brown said, via the Paulk report. “I didn\’t really entertain any other offers. When Oklahoma called, I thought it would be a benefit for me to make that move.”
Brown would go on to talk more about the transition specifically.
“It was tough to transition, but at the end of the day football is football,” said the 6-foot-3 receiver. “I was exposed to a lot of different styles in the last year and half, but it\’s part of the business. You have to learn to adapt and learn from different people”
Adapting to different people and a different system is exactly what Brown will be attempting to do now in Pittsburgh, but at least he has Landry Jones, his quarterback last year at Oklahoma, making the transition with him.
After only registering 73 catches for 1,047 yards and three touchdowns in his three years at Penn State, Brown recorded 73 catches for 879 yards and five touchdowns in his one year at Oklahoma. That jump in production, along with his physical style of play, likely helped Brown avoid going undrafted. New Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann said following the selection of Brown in the sixth-round that he liked what he saw of him of him prior to the draft.
“I just feel really good about what I saw on tape,” said Mann about Brown. “I am a big film guy. He is a big guy. He transferred from Penn State after three years. He is very productive, that tells you something about the guy. I think he has good toughness and that’s part of being a good receiver. He’ll lock up downfield and I think that is a part of it also. On top of it all, he’s a good receiver. He can catch the football. Big target.”
Despite him being a big target, Brown won\’t be the tallest wide receiver at the OTA\’s this week as both veteran Plaxico Burress and former Penn State wide receiver Derek Moye are listed as being two inches taller than he is. Brown also isn\’t the swiftest of receivers on the roster as evidenced by the 4.60 that he reportedly ran at his pro day back in March.
Even if Brown\’s transition goes well over the course of the next few months, it will not guarantee him a spot on the Steelers 53 man roster. In reality, he more than likely will be battling for a spot on the practice squad unless Burress fails to make the roster. Making the practice squad is not a bad thing, however, as it will provide Brown even more time to transition to the NFL game.