Three Steelers Wide Receivers Left To Compete For Receiver Spot With Burress Out

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.

  • Luke Shabro

    You never want to see an injury to a guy and I felt like Plax was a good veteran presence but sometimes a forced youth movement is not a terrible thing. I am not celebrating Plax getting hurt (he went to high school two miles from my house) but this could be the opportunity Justin Brown needed. If he makes the 53 he’s the 5th wideout unless someone gets hurt (knock on wood) so it’s not like he’s going to be on the field a ton. Here’s to hoping for no more major injuries!

  • steeltown

    Well.. the battle rages on… this is still a dogfight

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Hate to see Plax go down, but if it was going to happen to one of our WR, better to be the insurance veteran. We need AB, Sanders, Wheaton, and Cotch all healthy…and I hope now that the door is wide open for a motivated Justin Brown, he takes every opportunity to shine. Looking forward to seeing what he can do on Saturday.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    This is for the 5th spot and being we only use a max of 3 in any set a rookie or young guy is fine here. I like Gilreath but Brown sounds like he would be a better contributer on ST with his blocking.

  • cencalsteeler

    Sorry to hear about Plax’s injury. If you turn it into a positive, at least it happened before cuts had been made.

  • grw1960

    So J.D. Wood is not in contention?

  • Vin Twok

    It would be nice if you can also post the jersey numbers of these new guys so we know who to look for during the games. I believe Wheaton is 11, Santonio’s old number, but it would be good to know the others as well. I am looking forward to the pre-season games just to see the new draft picks and know their numbers, but a lot of these PS squad guys or UDFAs, I have no idea what their jersey numbers are and am too lazy to go look them up 😉

  • dgh57

    Of the 3 names mentioned J. Brown is my favorite with his good hands, blocking, size, and best of all as a punt returner!

  • Bill Eltringham

    Was he cut?

  • Steeldave

    Santonio wore #10

  • grw1960

    not that I know of. He just wasn’t one of the 3 mentioned

  • Matthew Marczi

    While it was rare for the Steelers to use more than 3 WRs at a time last year, 4 receiver sets were in fact used. And if a fifth wide receiver actually offers a different skills set (i.e. height, a la Justin Brown), especially if the tight ends are all banged up, he certainly can work his way into some situational roles in the red zone.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I haven’t heard much about him, although Jim Wexell did mention that he had a strong practice either yesterday or the day before. He might not be in the top 3 candidates right now, but he can easily change that in the preseason games.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Nope, he’s still here, along with Kashif Moore (and Reggie Dunn).

  • Matthew Marczi

    Markus Wheaton: 11
    Justin Brown: 15
    Derek Moye: 14
    David Gilreath: 18
    Reggie Dunn: 13
    Kashif Moore: 19
    J.D. Woods: 17

  • Matthew Marczi

    Agreed, I like his chances of being the 5th receiver.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    makes sense