2014 Draft

Steelers Would Probably Be Wise To Avoid Drafting A Wide Receiver In Round One

According to several of the major media draftniks, this year’s draft class is deep when it comes to the wide receiver position. With that being said, there still figures to be four or five drafted in the first round come next Thursday night. Will the Pittsburgh Steelers be one of those teams to draft a wide receiver in round one?

Recently, the Milwaukee Journal┬áSentinel polled 17 personnel men with national responsibilities to name their five top wide receivers and as Bob McGinn reports, a first-place vote was worth five points, a second was worth four and so forth. The results below probably aren’t that shocking.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wide Receiver Poll Results

PlayerPoints
Sammy Watkins83
Mike Evans59
Odell Beckham55
Brandin Cooks,25
Marqise Lee22
Jordan Matthews3
Kelvin Benjamin2
Cody Latimer2
Paul Richardson2
Davante Adams1
Shaquelle Evans1

Judging by those rankings, one would think that there will be at least four wide receivers drafted in round one with Marqise Lee possibly being the fifth. That means there’s likely going to be some decent wide receivers drop to not only the second round, but round three as well.

As you likely noticed, Donte Moncrief, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson and Martavis Bryant unsurprisingly failed to receive any top-five votes and I believe there’s a decent chance that at least of three of those four players stay on the board until round three.

Being as it’s supposedly such a deep class this year, I have a feeling the Steelers will wait to draft a wide receiver until round two or three unless Mike Evans falls. For starters, a rookie wide receiver in Pittsburgh isn’t likely to see much playing time in his first season and on top of that, history really hasn’t been overly kind to the position when comes to finding an All-Pro in round one.

As you can see in the sortable table below, there’s been 38 wide receivers drafted in the first round over the course of the last 10 years and only four of those players have achieved All-Pro status. In reality, that number is only three as Cordarrelle Patterson was honored as a kick returner and not a wide receiver.

Sure, there are a lot of talented former first-rounders listed below, but I think most of you would agree that most of these players never lived up to their expectations as it relates to where they were selected.

Of the 26 wide receivers on this list that were drafted prior to 2010, four never reached the 100 reception mark, while 12 more are still under the 300 reception mark.

Interesting enough, during the Kevin Colbert era, the Steelers have drafted a wide receiver in the first round only two times. In 2006, Santonio Holmes was selected with the 25th overall pick, but was the first wide receiver off the board. In 2000, Plaxico Burress was the 8th overall selection and the second wide receiver off the board. It should also be noted that neither of those two players saw a second contract with the Steelers as Holmes was traded prior to entering his final year of his rookie contract and Burress was allowed to walk off via free agency when his rookie deal expired.

Another interesting note about both Holmes and Burress is the fact that in the nine combined seasons that they played in Pittsburgh, neither cracked the 80 reception barrier in a single regular season and combined, they had a lowly 53% completion ratio.

The Steelers have tried to insulate themselves this offseason when it comes to wide receiver position by signing Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey and while neither player fixes long term issues when it comes to depth at the position, it does help when it comes to the 2014 season. When you factor that into all of the above, it makes sense for the Steelers to stay away from drafting a wide receiver in the first round next week.

2004-2013 First Round Wide Receivers

YearRndPickTmPlayerAP1PBGRecYdsTDSchoolHGTWGT
200413ARILarry Fitzgerald181568461136787Pittsburgh6027225
200417DETRoy Williams01115393571544Texas6024211
2004113BUFLee Evans00117381600843Wisconsin5107197
2004129ATLMichael Jenkins00130354442725Ohio St.6044217
2004115TAMMichael Clayton0095223295510LSU6026209
200419JAXReggie Williams0079189232218Washington6036225
2004131SFORashaun Woods001471601Oklahoma St.6021202
2005127ATLRoddy White14141685943655Ala-Birmingham6012207
200513CLEBraylon Edwards01112359552240Michigan6027210
2005122BALMark Clayton0083260344814Oklahoma5103193
2005121JAXMatt Jones0054166215315Arkansas6060242
2005110DETMike Williams005612715265USC6045229
200517MINTroy Williamson00498711314South Carolina6013203
2006125PITSantonio Holmes00103381596336Ohio St.5105188
200712DETCalvin Johnson34106572932866Georgia Tech6050239
2007123KANDwayne Bowe01103472640144LSU6022221
200719MIATed Ginn00104197260411Ohio St.5112178
2007127NORRobert Meachem0092171280027Tennessee6020214
2007132INDAnthony Gonzalez00409913077Ohio St.6000193
2007130SDGCraig Davis0026515582LSU6011200
2009129NYGHakeem Nicks0070311462227North Carolina6006212
2009122MINPercy Harvin0155281331920Florida5111192
2009110SFOMichael Crabtree0063279362922Texas Tech6013215
2009119PHIJeremy Maclin0059258345326Missouri6001198
200917OAKDarrius Heyward-Bey0072169238012Maryland6015210
2009130TENKenny Britt0057157245019Rutgers6027218
2010124DALDez Bryant0159293410440Oklahoma St.6020224
2010122DENDemaryius Thomas0253240369830Georgia Tech6032224
201114CINA.J. Green0347260383329Georgia6035211
201116ATLJulio Jones0134174273720Alabama6026220
2011126KANJonathan Baldwin0033446072Pittsburgh6043228
2012120TENKendall Wright003115817056Baylor5102196
2012113ARIMichael Floyd003211016037Notre Dame6025220
201215JAXJustin Blackmon00209312806Oklahoma St.6007207
2012130SFOA.J. Jenkins001981300Illinois6002190
2013127HOUDeAndre Hopkins0016528022Clemson6010214
2013129MINCordarrelle Patterson1116454694Tennessee6017216
201318STLTavon Austin0013404184West Virginia5084174
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