Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wide receiver Justin Brown spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad and so far the reports on him during the offseason practices have been very positive. On Tuesday, wide receivers coach Richard Mann weighed in on the progress that the Oklahoma product has made since being drafted last year in the sixth-round.
“I think he’s done a lot of things real well,” said Mann of Brown. “He really doesn’t look like the same guy. He’s made a transition. Very confident and again, we’re out here learning how to do it and when we start playing tackle, we’ll figure out what we got.”
Mann went on to talk specifically about some of the things that are different with Brown this year as opposed to last year.
“He’s changed and matured,” said Mann. “He understands the concepts. [He’s] Smoother. His body language is different. He’s just a different guy. He’s matured a lot, he really has.”
When training camp rolls around later next month, Brown figures to be headed for a great battle against Derek Moye and newcomer Darrius Heyward-Bey for one final roster spot on the Steelers wide receiver depth chart.
In the case of Heyward-Bey, who was signed during the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, Mann says they are trying to take advantage of what he does best in attempt to have him ready to do battle during camp.
“I think that what we’re doing with Darrius is just trying to get his confidence up,” said Mann. “He’s got speed, he’s got talent. The key to it is during these OTAs and of course this minicamp, is we teach him what to do and hopefully we’ll put him into position to be able to succeed with his speed and his smartness.”
The training camp battle for that final wide receiver spot is really shaping up to be a fun one to watch.