Now that the reports have surfaced that Pittsburgh Steelers veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress could be out for the season with a torn rotator cuff, the race for the fifth wide receiver spot on the 53 man roster will likely come down to three young players unless another veteran is signed. Here is a look at the top three candidates as the Steelers get ready to take on the New York Giants Saturday in their first preseason game of the 2013 season.
Justin Brown – While Brown wasn\’t born with blazing speed needed to take the top off of coverages, he is a big kid with soft hands that works well over the middle in traffic. He is physical receiver that blocks well that fights hard off the line of scrimmage. Brown is probably the most experienced young punt returner on the team, but it still isn\’t a specialty of his. With that being said, he will likely get a chance to return a few during the preseason to show what he can do. If Brown can\’t be the punt returner, he needs to find a way to contribute somehow on special teams in order to increase his stock. The Steelers have a sixth-round draft pick invested in him, so he has to be considered the leader in the clubhouse right now.
David Gilreath – After starting slow last year in training camp and the preseason, Gilreath made a solid push late and it resulted in him landing a spot on the practice squad as a result. He really had no impact, however, very late in the season when he was promoted to the 53 man roster because of all the injuries. The Steelers still decided to bring him back for one more go, but there haven\’t been too many reports during training camp of him blowing the doors off of his competition. Gilreath was an established kick returner back when he was in college, but being as LaRod Stephens-Howling likely has that job sewed up, Gilreath will have to impress somewhere else on special teams ad play like he did last year late in the preseason.
Derek Moye – Like Brown, Moye is also a big kid, but he has a much more slighter build. The Steelers thought enough of him to add him to the practice squad last year and he has a lot to prove during the preseason. According to several media reports coming out of training camp, the Penn State product is one of the few young wide receivers to shine along with Brown. However, he is not noted as being player that will offer anything in the return game or special teams, so he must really have a strong preseason on offense if he is going to make the final roster. Realistically, Moye is likely battling to show he is worth keeping on the practice squad once again, but he does have enough of shot to warrant listing him.