Categorized | Article

Steelers Playing With Fire By Shying Away From WRs, CBs


Entering the draft, the broad consensus was that the two greatest areas of need for the Pittsburgh Steelers were cornerback and wide receiver.

They’ve flown in the face of convention through the first two days of the draft by exiting the first three rounds with an inside linebacker, a defensive end, and a scat back.

Admittedly, the best time to draft a receiver in terms of value may have been around where the Steelers would have had their natural third-round pick this year, had they not traded it away in last year’s draft to select Shamarko Thomas.

But when the compensatory portion of the third round finally rolled around, a full 51 selections after their second-round pick, the vast depth of top-end talent at wide receiver had largely dissipated, or so it seemed, especially after Donte Moncrief went off the board.

The most desirable cornerbacks, too, are now gone, with the rest largely expected to be projects in nature, which is familiar territory for the Steelers.

There were options at 97, however. For wide receiver, the Steelers could have taken the 6’4” Martavis Bryant, for example. At cornerback, a player such as the 6’1” Pierre Desir would have seemed to represent fair value.

The Steelers bypassed both, as well as every other cornerback and wide receiver, in favor of the deadly fast but slight Dri Archer.

In case you were wondering if he was going to be converted to slot receiver, he was discussed after the pick by running backs coach James Saxon, not wide receivers coach Richard Mann.

Now the Steelers must wait until the 18th pick of the fourth round before thinking about addressing those who catch the ball and those who intercept the ball, unless they elect to trade up. With a pair of late compensatory picks to fall back on, they do have some pieces to move around, if that should be their prerogative.

That is if they don’t find a tight end or outside linebacker that tickles their fancy first. Or maybe a kicker. Anything, seemingly, but the perimeter players of the offense and defense.

The Steelers entered this draft knowing that it was one rich in talent at wide receiver and cornerback. Instead of exploiting the depth to take one at the top of the heap, they’ve clearly elected to test that depth to see how long it lasts.

They may end up getting burned.

At wide receiver, behind young All-Pro Antonio Brown is the thoroughly unproven Markus Wheaton, and the aging and past his prime slot receiver, Lance Moore, as well as the bust with the dropsies, Darrius Heyward-Bey. Is this the receiving corps that you want to surround Ben Roethlisberger with in his 10th NFL season?

At cornerback, we find the once great but clearly at the end of the line Ike Taylor playing out his last season in what should be a less demanding role. Cortez Allen will get a second try at staying healthy and being a starter without getting benched. And neither are under contract beyond this season.

All of this seems to be pushing need in 2014 to desperation in 2015. While there are still four more rounds, in which the Steelers have six more selections to make, it seems that they are tempting fate in terms of adding to their roster, and potentially overestimating what they currently have.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Jollyrob68

    Perhaps they don’t feel as bad about the Cb play as we fans do. In fact it was pointed out that the pass defense was better than the run defense. So they’ve bolstered the run defense and by drafting Archer they saved AB from taking unnecessary hits in the return game while providing the scat back we coveted.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Matt, come off of the ledge!! Please…..DONT JUMP!!!

  • shawn

    Its very ironic .. I’m ALMOST always the pessimist that is disagreeing with the writers … and now after the first 3 rounds i find myself being ecstatic while the writers appear to be down … This coming from a guy that wanted the following positions to be the first 3 picks CB,WR,TE … and we didnt get none of them ..

    SO why am i soo happy ??? Because we picked 3 players that fill immediate needs .. & are incredibly explosive and will play instantly, hence we did exactly what is needed in the draft … in my opinion if you have 7 or 8 holes … i could care less which holes u fill as long as u fill them with a Great Player …. and that is exactly what we did !!!

    they will not be sitting on the bench learning the system and excelling 3-4 years down the road … they are not projects or luxury picks ( i place a high priority on KR and mismatch wild card backs ) and they all seem like high quality guys !!!

    Absolutely LOVE it !!! yes we do need a Big WR, 2 CBs (slot & outside) and a TE .. but we can’t get them all in one year … i can easily see them finish patching this rebuild job by next year … and if rebuilding is missing the playoffs by an inch … count me in !!

  • Paddy

    I think they are being true to their board and needs. They have very little depth on defense. No crazy about the Archer kid, we seem to fail on small guys.
    Tuitt was indeed a steal, he is an awesome player

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    lmao, and maybe they did not re watch the patriots, lions game last year , or the Tebow game from the past.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    The steeler’s are standing in the middle of a forest fire and think someone is burning leaves.

  • Ike Evans

    Honestly, its probably not accurate but doesn’t it just FEEL like Baltimore is so much better than us as drafting players? Smn

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    So you say you don’t watch all those kickoffs go through the end zone.

  • shawn

    unfortunately yes … but remember he doesnt need many chances to hit a HR … even 2 good kickoffs a game can be the difference between winning and losing !

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    Yes and Ben is getting younger!

  • shawn

    LOL … that is funny .. but i think u will be pleasantly surprised … i hope our next few picks turn out half as good as our last … if we even get 2 solid guys on the last day i will consider it a very successful draft !

  • Andrew Grigsby

    Hated to see Donte Moncrief go to the Colts, have been a big fan of this kid. Really don’t want Bryant seems like a head case with too many drops. Like Desir but not at 97, maybe today in the 4th. Not crazy about Archer either to be honest, Rainey didn’t work & this kid seems the same besides the speed. Hope Colbert knows what he’s doing. I didn’t think a RB was a need at 97 at all.

  • Anthony Hargraves

    Name a pro bowler that the ravens have drafted in the last 5 years? I’ll wait….they are not as good as you think.

  • steeltown

    Not a fan of Moncrief or Bryant, so no tears there and I think they are thinking that they can get just as good of value at CB picking 118th as they would’ve last night

  • JAMESH

    19-0, Baby!

  • steeltown

    Playmakers, Shazier and Archer have the potential to be instant contributors, while a guy like Tuitt has the makeup to be a corner stone on the DLine opposite Heyward

  • Jacque Strappe

    Loved the first 2 picks. Scratching my head with the latest one. Chris Rainey’s ghost just hopped back on the roster.

  • Crazy Bone

    Colbert doesn’t care…at least Haley got his Steelers version of McCluster. This team just throws away draft choices (did the same thing drafting Landry Jones in the 4th). At some point you have to blame the owner if he allows it to continue every year without making changes.

  • Jacque Strappe

    What I’m wondering,,,was Archer not going to remain on the board? Was he in that high a demand?

  • Nolrog

    This has been a rebuild draft, not a let’s go to the SB draft. IMO, Colbert knows he needs more help than he could get in one year.

  • Jacque Strappe

    That’s fine, but the Archer pick does neither unless you are trying to convert him to a field stretching WR, in my opinion. Please help me understand the value in that pick.

  • Steelers12328882

    Omg the stores in Pittsburgh are running out of tissue paper after last night lol. Look, I want a CB and a WR too, but I love our 3 picks and I’m not sure I’d replace them with any player that was available at the time. Archer seems a round too early but ya gotta remember that comp pick might as well been a 4th rd pick.

  • Steelers12328882

    Great post. I completely agree with you. I’m really excited with our picks even if the 1st and 3rd we’re complete surprises to me.

  • Tito Marin

    Antonio Brown 6th round, Brett Keisel 7th round, Cortez Allen 4th round vs.
    Limas Sweed 2nd round , Curtis Brown 3rd round, Rashard Mendenhall 1st round. Best Available vs Need. I’ll take Best Available, thank you!
    PD: Patience!

  • Steelers12328882

    Exactly.

  • WilliamSekinger

    You are wrong! Colbert should be fired cause he doesn’t agree and run the draft like the armchair GMs on these boards want it run. Everyone knows the armchair GMs have watched more tape, interviewed more players, have logged more hours of meeting time with the coaching staff, and magically know who every other team in the draft is going to pick!

  • Brendan

    And Ozzie loves drafting those Bama players. He’s whiffed on every one so far…

  • ScottB

    I would agree on the surface RB wasn’t a need but when the players you wanted were off the board then why use the pick for would be a a developmental project? May as well grab talent and not reach

  • ScottB

    Can’t expect Gay to play as well as he did again this year, but I think you want Desir in the 4th either way.

  • Steve

    The secondary did well in the second half of the Lions game.

  • shawn

    I completely agree !

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    Bengals are tho

  • Weiss Chad

    Give me EJ Gaines ,desir or cockrell please.Idealy two of the three

  • Weiss Chad

    Right up to they take the field

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    You need a hug!

  • Weiss Chad

    EJ Gaines =mike Evans four catches 8 yds

  • Tullydew

    Wow….can we let the draft play out first. No need to overreact like a typical mongo fan. Can’t fill all needs in the first 3 picks. Did they have a huge need at DE? Yes. Did they have a need at ILB? Yes, V. Williams was a ok but is a liability in pass coverage.
    Their are plenty of quality WR and CB still available. Let’s wait until all 9 picks come in before we start overreacting.

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    Putting our success in late players is ridiculous. I can name you a to. Of 4-7th rounder we selected who couldn’t make the team. Your not always going to get a Brown In later rounds

  • Weiss Chad

    Pro football talk had him going in first.Now that would probably be bad.This guy is gonna contribute in many ways

  • Jason

    Desir won’t be there when we pick in the 4th IMO.

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    They should. I like our picks. I think they are all good football players. But if AB gets hurt were screwed.
    Ike got toasted last season
    Allen got benched due to awful play
    Gay is best served as a slot CB.
    And that’s if they are all heathy… Everyone should be worried about the WR and CB position

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    Shazir is just going to be just as much as a liability as Williams was. Jarvis Jones and Williams got thrown into the fire last season I expect them to both be better this season and I expect Spence to start over Williams of he can get back to his old self

  • Weiss Chad

    See if I can help.Great change of pace back.avg over 9yds a Carrie in 2012.He can play slot as well as outside.Anytime he comes in game could tAke it to house.Kuck off and punt returner and probably most electrifying player in draft.He can be used as decoy and as an assett

  • Weiss Chad

    Gotta go desir,Ellington,or EJ Gaines in fourth please

  • Weiss Chad

    I concur

  • Jason

    Shazier>Mosely bank on it.

  • Jason

    Watch some film on Archer if you wanna know the difference between him and Rainey.

  • shawn

    what u think about this Desir kid ..?? the more tape i see of him the more i can’t tell a single thing … he is playing against such marginal competition i just can’t gather anything from it …

    All i can tell for sure is he’s got an NFL body with ok speed … thats all i can say for sure

  • Jason

    Did you see how RB’s were flying off the board? He would have been gone soon.

  • Jason

    LMAO.

  • shawn

    He solves 3 main needs … KR, Change of Pace back … and can slot out at WR for mismatch … whats not to like ?

  • dgh57

    They improved the pass defense up front which should in turn help make the DBs job a little easier thus no CB. We still a 6 more picks on day 3 to get our CB/WR so no need to panic, at least not YET!

  • steeltown

    Maybe in subpackages, yes Spence will start over Willliams but we already knew VW doesn’t play much in coverage, there’s no way Spence plays BUCK in the base Defense

    I fully expect Jones and Williams to improve this year, but the thought of incorporating Shazier and Spence in this Defense is intriguing and one

  • Ike Evans

    Yea i know but on draft day it feels like their killing us…every year…doesnt turn out like that it seems like but thats how it feels

  • Doug Sawyer

    I like the way this team is projecting to look …I think 11-5 is a real possibility

  • dave

    Steelers dont value corners and receivers are a dime a dozen if you have a franchise QB.

  • John21

    Pls dont defend Archer pick. It was irresponsible for an 8-8 team w/3 corners who ea have 1 yr left to not choose at least an every down player or someone who can grow into an everydown player. This gimmick crap is what the Oakland Raiders do.
    Dont begin to tell me Archer was the highest ranked player on their board

  • Doug Sawyer

    If the Steelers go into a 4 WR set Brown Wheaton Moore and Archer …are you going to want to be the guy covering Archer on a quick in or out?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    We are beating ourselves up because we did not draft a WR or CB? We have 3 guys at CB that started last year for us on the team…it wasnt a hole that HAD TO BE FILLED BY REACHING. We can still get a guy or two we can develop. At WR we have Brown, Wheaton and Moore. Once again there isnt a glaring need. Wheaton is unproven but so would a guy drafted in the first 3 rounds. This draft looks to have GREATLY IMPROVED US. More dynamic on both sides of the ball.

  • Doug Sawyer

    I’d like Watkins and Gaines

  • steeltown

    I think Desir is very Cortez Allen-esk, small school and will need time to develop but as you said, he has the body type you want. I like Gaines and Cockrell a lot too and the Watkins and Aikens kids

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    i agree. i think our defensive LBs can be awesome. If Spence can handle his business and his knee is fine. i think he can play the Mack position great. I would really love to see Shazir at Worilds OLB position down the road(I know hes starting Inside) hes extremely talented at rushing the passer. Overall LBs should be very solid

  • Doug Sawyer

    would also like if we went Jeff Janis @WR

  • Jeff Anoble

    CB Dontae Johnson 4.45 6-2 200lbs 3 ints 81 tackles. Don’t know much about him.

  • Doug Sawyer

    they did I was there to see it first hand…they shut down the Lions big time

  • Steelers58

    Again this writer is an idiot. If wr Wheaton is an unproven talent. What does that make a wr pick in the third round of this yr. Wheaton at least got on the field. He will be fine. Please everybody don’t panic. Wr isn’t that pressing of a need

  • Doug Sawyer

    it was a great pick…in a pass happy league taking the fastest man in the draft is always smart ..If the Rams can make Tavon Austin work as their #1 pick…we just made them look silly by getting a guy like Archer in the 3rd

  • Brian Miller

    I agree that WR is not nearly as big a need as people are thinking. Especially now with the ability to put Archer in the slot, that can only help. My fear is CB, and not for this year necessarily, but for the next couple of years.

  • nicolaisim

    His future is at safety but a good prospect

  • Brian Miller

    Dave Te’ Thomas talked about Desir being unintelligent…this may be the reason the Steelers don’t appear to be interested…setting up nicely for Cockrell…

  • Brian Miller

    An injury to ANY of our starters would be devastating…it’s called lack of depth, which as we are Steeler fans, we are not used to. AB hasn’t been injured in the past much, so no reason to worry now. Seems like you should worry more about the OL and Pouncey or DeCastro…

  • Bill

    I would like to have seen them get a top flight corner; however, if they have improved the pass rush, which they very well may have done, the corners you have immediately get better. When you ran your poll I voted for a defensive end as the top priority. That being said, I’m sort of befuddled by the linebacker and running back picks, especially the diminutive RB. They say Spence is doing well; if so, why draft a clone? It seems the present Steelers draft team has a history of over emphasizing speed! However if the ND tackle works out, McClendon could play some DE and the front seven would be close to a complete unit of some sort. Maybe they’ll turn one of those fast LBs into a monster safety.

  • Brian Miller

    Well said, and i agree…we were never going to fill up our depth and get our needs filled in 1 draft…draft the BPA on the Steeler’s board…I believe that is what they are doing…

  • Brian Miller

    yup…I am glad they took the injury waiting to happen in Mosely…

  • Doug Sawyer

    I think they may eventually employ Shazier in very much the same way they use Troy now…and in fact having them both on the field roving at the same time sounds fantastic

  • Brian Miller

    We always have an advantage at QB though…as long as they roll with the Redhead, we have a chance…

  • Brian Miller

    yes, they really are night and day…not even close.

  • Brian Miller

    yep…he shut down several stud WRs didn’t he…there are still some really talented CBs…and they don’t have to be studs do they? Just fit our needs…

  • Brian Miller

    True, but with our lack of success in the early rounds, especially the 2nd…so I don’t think we can solely depend on the early rounds either. Let’s see what we end up with first before we start getting upset.

  • stellarsfan

    I say we go Desir/Ellington/Bryant in 4th and hit Watkins/McGill/Donate Johnson with our first 5th, maybe Shaq Barrett for our second 5th. Perhaps a little early for barrett but he just makes too much sense, right Joey?

  • Brian Miller

    Remember guys, there are still some great players available…EJ Gains, Watkins, Cockrell, McGill, Breeland, Dontae Johnson, Exum, Purifoy, Dixon, Hal…and WRs-Ellington, Bryant, Janis, Coleman, Abbredaris, Street, Mike Davis, Saunders, Gallon, and my personal favorite Robert Herron…we still have options people, let’s see what we end up with…go Steelers!!

  • Brian Miller

    Ha ha! Yep, let’s see what happens today…plus we still have enough picks to get a Blanchflower, or a Duncan, or Navjar too!

  • Milliken Steeler

    Jeff Janis, Desir, Baptiste, Herron, relax guys. We are going to be fine.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    There is still some talent at both positions I like.

    WR: Abbrederis, Bryant, Coleman, Street, Enunwa

    Only 9 CBs are off the board….9.

    CB: Exum, Desir, Roberson, Cockrell, Johnson, Gaines, Hal, Aikens

    That is 13 guys total, so even with pick 18, we should be able to get 1 of these guys. That being said, maybe the FO likes one of Brown or Moye more than we know. Maybe they trust a group of Ike, Gay, Allen, Troy, Mitchell, and Shamarko when we have 6 DBs on the field.

    I did not, nor do I understand the #3 pick, but if we end up getting a good 4th and 5th round with 3 total picks, I may just not care.

  • Bill

    One thing I do like about the Steelers draft MO is that they seem to go for the what they see as the best player available rather than reaching for a position. This works really well, if you are an excellent judge of talent.

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    i agree with you. But they continue to make the playoffs and we dont

  • Brian Miller

    Well, there is that…

  • joed32

    How many times did I watch Felix Jones return kicks almost to the 20 yard line?

  • joed32

    Most sites had him in the 3rd.

  • Andrew Grigsby

    I agree to a point but besides his speed they drafted a returner way 2 early, too many other needs to draft a RB. Wasted pick for sure, Stephen_Howling didn’t work last season, Rainey was a bust. Time for Haley to get over the scat back stuff. Archer isn’t McCluster. He’s good but just not needed on this roster now.

  • whisn

    i’ll be shocked if our next pick isn’t a corner. With the failures of Curtis Brown and more recently Hawthorne, we are close to bare bones. Both these guys heads weren’t in the game in my opinion, so look for us to continue to draft players with intelligence, desire and maturity, because that has been very prevalent the last two drafts.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m blown away by not taking a WR or CB yet! BUT! What I likes about Shazier was his ability to cover, and if Tuitt can bring the pressure, the DBs can get a break! Archer can be used as a mini WR, so it’s not really as bad as it looks.
    But I’m still amazed! I knew DL and LB would throw our draft for a loop but I wasn’t expecting both em!

  • Matt Manzo

    I think the next 2 picks could be CB!

  • shawn

    you are right we dont Need a big WR .. but a bigger Good WR best complements what we have already … and helps in the RZ u get my point … would i take a 6.4 bryant over a very good 6.1 WR .. heck no …. but i think u understand my point !

  • Jason

    LSH didn’t work because he blew his knee out. Archer will line up in the slot and cause matchup nightmares. I understand what you mean saying we had bigger needs but I think you’ll end up loving this guy.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Does anyone have any idea why Rashaad Reynold, CB, Oregon St. is falling? He was projected as a mid-late 3rd rd guy, but he’s still on the board at he beginning of the 5th. He ran a 4.49 and is high character with explosion (good vertical and broad jump numbers). What I really like is his production and ball skills–61 tackles, 6 ints in ’13. He reminds me of Wilie Gay with better ball skills. I think he’s be a solid pick if he lasts to our 5th rounder (#157). JUst wondering if I missed something on him.

  • charles

    Pressure on the qb makes an average CB look good. Therefore we don’t need a CB as much as we need pressure…exactly what the Steelers spent their first 2 choices on. I was excited to learn what Haley (the mad genius football talent recogniser) had up his sleeve. Archer and Bryant show that Haley and Ben do communicate and that Haley really wants a scat back. These first four rounds seem as promising as I have seen in a long time!

  • vinnie12

    T he steelers made head scratching picks! After Shazier, Tuitt and Bryant. None of the picks make sense! quit smoking blunts when you draft Seelers!

  • CrazyTerry

    If you rank our defensive efforts in the last 3 SBs, as good as they were, they wouldn’t rank in the top 5 defensive efforts since the Ravens 2000 SB. Why? because we had an average secondary. no great corners. Compare that with how Seattle’s D looked in the SB compared to or last 3 Ds. They faced a tough offense in Denver. Ike has been a joke the last two years and we sign him. The only good durable corner we had was K allen and we let him go. And we draft one freaking middle round corner????? We wont spend money to get a good corner, but we wont spend the draft picks needed to stack up the area.
    And it’s time Lebeau starts developing our players faster.

  • CrazyTerry

    The last 6 or so years, they have not been an excellent judge of talent.

  • CrazyTerry

    Ike is a joke. By that logic , we had two ILBs starting. So why draft an ILB?

  • Gautama Om

    While I understand your concern, I can tell you the Steelers are will always be unlikely to use a high pick on CB a position of not so high value in our zone defensive scheme. The only way I see the Steelers selecting a CB high is if the player represents extreme value, which I dont think Dennard was. He is overrated in my opinion. Even Justin Gilbert is overrated because he’s soft, not dedicated, a diva, and a head case.

    They didn’t selected Martavis Bryant with the 97th pick as you wanted, they did even better and got him in the 4th round .

  • Gautama Om

    Bmore screwed up big time drafting Mosely (damaged goods with long history of injuries) and Jernigan (not a scheme fit, unless they plan to use him as NT which means not good value; could be had in 3rd round). Jernigan is also a druggie.

  • Anthony Hargraves

    Don’t know bout that one. I like that kid. when he is in shape he is a beast. I would take him in a heart beat.

If you enjoy our content & podcast, feel free to buy us a cup of coffee below.
Shop for 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Nike and New Era Team Gear at Fanatics

Archives