Report: Steelers Rookie WR Justin Brown Has Hands Like A Pillow

On Monday, Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest said during the afternoon Steelers Live episode that he has been impressed with rookie wide receiver Justin Brown, who was drafted this past April in the sixth-round. Labriola emphasized Brown again Wednesday on Twitter and says he thinks the 6\’3″ wide receiver has soft hands and that when the ball hits them, it\’s like it\’s hitting a pillow.

During his one year at Oklahoma, Brown had 72 catches for 870 yards and a 61.5% catch percentage. While he definitely isn\’t considered to be a wide receiver that will stretch the field, he is, however, known for his good hands and toughness over the middle. Many of the media reports suggest he is off to a consistent start in training camp and that he could be in the running to get some looks as a punt returner once the preseason games get underway.

If, however, Brown doesn\’t gain the trust of the Steelers coaches to be the team\’s punt returner, he will then have a hard time knocking veteran Plaxico Burress out of the fifth wide receiver spot on the roster. The Steelers could keep as many as six receivers on their final 53 man roster, but by doing so it would come at the expense of another position\’s depth.

At the very least, it looks as though Brown has some upside to him and should he not make the final cut he will be a prime candidate to open the 2013 season on the practice squad. Being he was a late round draft pick, that\’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    Good. Better than having hands like a Sweed

  • cencalsteeler

    I’m pulling for Brown. A 6′ 3″ receiver with soft hands who’s not afraid to catch in traffic. How can you not pull for him? He has the makings to be a great slot receiver and a red zone threat.

  • Kysteeler

    I actually really like Justin Brown as our 5th WR. He just has more to offer than Plax IMO.

  • JohnnyV1

    Brown was the draft pick I pegged least likely to make the team, from a pretty solid draft class. Nice to hear that he’s getting some positive pub.

  • dgh57

    I knew there had to be something to the fact that Brown was the go to guy for Landry Jones at Oklahoma. He didn’t do to bad as a PR either so things are looking up for J. Brown!

  • dgh57

    He sure does starting with youth, plays STs, and is just about as big a target between the 20s not just the endzone.

  • Stephen Dale

    I said when he was drafted this guy had a chance to make the final roster and was a solid WR and , surprisingly for a big man, a very good punt returner. Still think he will impress and make this team.

  • Stephen Dale

    I agree with KySteeler. Brown has more “upside” than burriss as well as being 12 yr younger.

  • steeltown

    Glad to hear good news on this kid, he was probably my least favorite pick this past draft, but I will always support hard work (and production) Hope he shows some punt return capabilities.

  • 2443scott

    keep brown drop batch and dwyer because dwyer cant keep fit he knows he is on chopping block from all that was said during draft he may of came in more fit but i feel if he gets a contract he go back to where he was again …we need more wr`s because looks like sanders will be gone we cant keep holding on to guys who just make it by each year …then when its clear they could be gone then finaly they get in shape

  • Kenneth Wilt

    IMO, this choice may come down to 1 thing and 1 thing only. Do they think they will lose him to another team if he moves to the PS? We will be able to tell if they start hiding him during the PS games and not really putting him on the field therefore there won’t be any tape on the kid.

  • steeltown

    cant really hide him during preseason games, we have to play the young guys to see if they’re capable. But I agree about the possibility of losing him to another Team sort of like Toney Clemons… Clemons didn’t even show much and he was still snatched up off the PS

    I always fear losing young prospects, even based purely on potential.. which is the main reason I hope Hawthorne can get back on the field and earn a roster spot

  • steeltown

    I would consider keeping J.Brown on the roster over Burress, especially if he shows he is a capable punt returner. Lets face it, we can always call Burress if we need him

  • dgh57

    O without a doubt it would! J. Brown’s soft hands would work even better in the endzone where supposedly we’re keeping Burris for that task and only task I might add.

  • Mike Medina

    Usaully I like Labs pov, but I am not sure he is seeing the entire issue here. Ever day it looks less and less likely that Sanders will get a new contract. That put them in a situation that is even worse than this year. AB, Wheaton the unknown as 2, and the elderly Cotch and plex to slap it out as 3, 4. If this guy shows anything at all they need to keep him or they will need to blow more cap space signing another fairly costly WR just to have some exp next year.

  • steeltown

    Yea I see them drafting WR in the earlier Rds again next year, even if Wheaton explodes on the scene, there is not guarantee that Sanders, Cotchery or Burress will be back

  • Thomas Rancy

    Whats with the emphasis on him being a punt returner on teams? I don’t get it he’s a lanky 6’3 bodytype not really suited for it. When he was drafted what I heard the steelers brass emphasizing was his ability to BLOCK! not return
    so why can’t he do that on teams?
    I predict that if healthy he makes it. If he looks good in pre-season which I beleive he will, they won’t be able to send him to the practice squad.

  • falconsaftey43

    This year’s depth at WR seems so much better than last year’s already. I really like Brown when they picked him, he is very tough and bring something different to the group than AB, Sanders and now Wheaton

  • charles

    Makes one think of John Stallworth. Stallworth had that same frame and great hands, he also had a long stride. This gave him a very quiet speed which put the defense to sleep. Might be why Brown is also a punt returner. I gave Brown little to no chance to make the 53, but then that is why they play the game. So lets see how he does!

  • dgh57

    So is Jacoby Jones of the Ravens not suited to return punts because he’s the same 6’2″ lanky type. Jones is both a PR & KR and has had pretty good success at both.

  • alex

    6’3″ soft hands, likes going over the middle, good luck hiding him…kinda funny the NFL didnt adjust the practice squad rules in the last contract discussions to protect those extra 8 players, given the never ending list of IRs annually…

  • sean mcmartin

    I sure do hope the Steelers also Comb these PS placements from other teams as well. CB, DE, talent needed