Steelers WRs Brown, Bryant Are Young, Tall, And Hungry

When the Pittsburgh Steelers first drafted 6’4” wide receiver Martavis Bryant in the fourth round, it pretty much immediately ignited discussions, particularly in the national media, over whether or not he could seize upon a starting position as a rookie.

As the logic went, Bryant could become the big target that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has coveted since his rookie season after Plaxico Burress left in free agency. Aside from that, the Steelers had just lost two of their top receivers during the free agency period months prior in Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.

That left second-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton, he of six catches, as the likely first option to start at wide receiver opposite Antonio Brown. To many, that certainly sounded like it was open competition there, but Wheaton has been silencing those doubts.

No, the Steelers won’t need to depend much on Bryant as a rookie, with the inclusion of Lance Moore as a reliable slot receiver. He will get his playing time, but it will be selective playing time that accentuates his natural assets.

Part of the reason for that is because of the development of the Steelers’ other second-year wide receiver, Justin Brown, who was listed fourth of the team’s first official depth chart that was released yesterday.

After spending a year on the practice squad, the former sixth-round pick has been opening some eyes over the last few months in his campaign to make the roster in year two. He’s currently ahead of the rookie Bryant, and he intends to keep it that way.

Not even a broken nose figured to slow him down much. He missed just one day of practice while he had surgery to repair his busted nose, which he suffered on Thursday after a blow from safety Shamarko Thomas, nicknamed “Headache”.

Both young receivers seem to be advancing past veteran free agent signee Darrius Heyward-Bey, who has been falling behind and missing valuable time with a concussion. Even before the injury, however, he found himself practicing with the camp bodies at wide receiver and quarterback.

It’s still early, but it would seem that Brown would be the first receiver called up to play should there be an injury among the top three receivers. Moore would likely start and move to the slot in three receiver sets.

That doesn’t mean that the rookie can’t steal his share of snaps, however, particularly when it comes to the red zone, where he has been putting on quite a show lately. His deceptive speed also gives him the opportunity to serve as a deep threat.

He significantly lacks polish, however, having been so inexperienced as a complete receiver in college, and he has a lot of work to do before he can be expected to take on a bigger role. When you hear him speak, he constantly talks about how he likes being coached hard, and is intimately aware of the work that he needs to put in to round out his game.

It’s not as though the Steelers can’t find a way to use a raw rookie deep threat, of course. But because of their sophomore receivers coming in and stepping up, Pittsburgh is in the fortunate position of not having to depend on more from him just yet. And in the meantime, the competition is healthy for both young wideouts.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • joed32

    They lose Sanders and Cotchery and in my opinion end up with better WR corps. Nice offseason.

  • CrazyTerry

    agreed. The WR corps looks better and much more promising this year. I expect the offense to get better. Now if we can only solve that LT position.

  • ApexSteel

    Solve the LT Position?

  • Donte Williams

    I agree joed32 i was reading this post over the off season and alot of folks were bashing tomlin and colbert. just like 4yrs ago we replaced Holmes with Wallace. two years ago we replaced Wallce with sanders, last year we are replaceing Sanders with Wheaton, i like this young WR corp. AB, Wheaton, Moore (veteran replacing cotchery) then you throw in JB who is doing his thing Bryant who will be another tall Wide out and lets not forget Moye. i cant wait till this saturday to see these boys in action this is the most i have been excited about the whole team since two years ago love the draft love the f/a pick ups. any word on how long mitchell is out?

  • Lil Smitty

    The most encouraging thing I read was that Bryant likes being coached hard. It seems the Steelers are able to find players who acknowledge they don’t know it all. Hopefully next year Bryant will be pushing AB and MW for starting spots.

  • steeltown

    This kid may have played in 36 or 37 games in college but he only actually started maybe 13 of those games. He is still VERY raw (and moldable) we can only hope he makes a Justin Brown type leap entering his sophomore yr

  • SteveM2

    So, Derek Moye isn’t young, tall and hungry?

  • William Weaver

    Imagine how good of a squad it would be if your right and Bryant is pushing hard towards starting. Imagine three wr sets where AB can use his speed and quickness out of the slot with Wheaton and Bryant on the outside. Still having Bell and Miller to deal with.. Deadly! Then the only question is do we have the pass rush to win another Super Bowl because I think the rest will be answered by then.

  • srdan

    He is, but he’s not as good as the other two – right now.

  • SteveM2

    You’re sure about this, eh?

  • srdan

    Well I checked the depth chart. But take it with a grain of salt.

    Let me guess-you’re a penn st fan? Lol

  • steeltown

    Off PUP list and back TODAY

  • Eric MacLaurin

    There are lots of people who are young, tall and hungry.

    Writing about two of them doesn’t require that you write about all of them and doesn’t mean any tall, young and hungry people in the world should feel slighted because they weren’t included.

  • SteveM2

    I’m a fan of fairness. Excluding Derek Moye from the mix is unfair, and smacks of biased reporting.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    LT scares me to death. They need to get someone before the season starts instead of hoping they can get by with Beech.

    Not only do I think we need an upgrade but an injury would end the season.

  • steeltown

    Definitely grain of salt the Moye conversation aside, they have Podlesh ahead of Wing haha not quite since he hasn’t even been in camp and then Heyward-Bey ahead of Bryant also doesn’t seem correct based on reports, playing time and production thus far

  • Big White

    Amazing how little attention Wheaton gets.

  • falconsaftey43

    I think Beachum will be fine. You’re not going to find and upgrade this time of year anyway, so it’s not like there are other options.

  • James Kling

    Justin Brown went to Penn St., too.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I disagree.

    We can and should find an upgrade but have to at the very least get a back up in case he goes down. It isn’t going to be easier to find someone mid season.


    You would hope that he is after spending time with Ben during the offseason…but…if it comes down to Bryant, Brown, Moye…I think Bryant has more upside.

    DHB…is probably not going to make the 53 so there’s a chance 2 of the 3 young taller WRs make it.

  • Pitfan0513

    Let’s just hope there’s no TALL money talk! Lol

  • SteelersDepot

    Wrote about him this morning. You miss that?

  • Matt Manzo

    Maybe they’re just saying Moye hasn’t looked as “hungry” as those two?

  • falconsaftey43

    You aren’t going to find anyone right now. Anyone even half way decent is on a roster. You’re not getting an upgrade this season at tackle. Whimper/W.Jonson/M.Adams are your backups. What would you suggest they do to find someone else better right now?

  • Matt Manzo

    I agree! Best thing I’ve read too, you don’t hear that too often! And it erases any thought of him being soft or immature!

  • Matt Manzo

    I think they were hoping Adams would step up and at least provide quality depth for the tackles? But the way he’s showing up so far, I bet they do look for another tackle soon!

  • Jeff

    Justin Brown was excluded from the list last year. Was that not fair? I think it’s less about fairness and more about the reality of how the two are progressing. The coaches know more than we do, and the writers write about the guys who are getting the most attention from their coaches. That’s not unfair, that’s just Justin Brown being recognized for the work he’s put in on and off the field. In my opinion, this article isn’t slighting Derek Moye at all.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Make a trade if no one good is cut loose before the season starts.

    What makes you think it would be impossible to get a functional left tackle? Do you consider Beacham to be that great or do you think there are only 30 good left tackles in the world?

    We can argue how good Beacham is but I assume we agree he isn’t a pro bowl level LT. Getting someone as good or better to compete for the spot with the loser being a competent back up is possible and a good idea.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I had very high hopes for Adams but I haven’t seen anything this summer that makes me think he is a viable option.

  • Guest

    No, I saw the two sentences.

  • Big White

    No I saw the two sentences. Not knocking the article, just that about every Steelers WR story is Brown, Bryant, and Archer. Amazing how the guy just goes about his business and doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.

  • Weiss Chad

    I thought poodle sh and wing were co starters right now?

  • Weiss Chad

    I think beachum can be in the top ten lt in the league

  • steeltown

    On the first “official” depth chart, Podlesh is listed as #1 and Wing as #2 in position ranking

  • mokhkw

    He has to be on the gameday roster this season. No way can they “hide” him on PS. I think if he had stayed in college for this year he would likely be a 1st Rounder in next years draft. Some Scouts think he has more natural ability than ex-team mate Sammy Watkins.

    While I don’t expect a lot from him in ’14 I think he will enter ’15 ready to start. Long term I think the Steelers got a bargain in the 4th.

  • Weiss Chad

    I just went and read the article says”wing and poodle sh co starters ,then looked at depth chart it says wing or podlesh.I know I’m not seeing things.

  • Weiss Chad

    I think moye is probably seventh on depth chart right now behind dhb

  • steeltown

    I looked on the Team website,.. they’ve been wrong before though haha

  • steeltown

    No doubt, they need to keep him on the 53man

  • SteveM2

    You might want to take a gander at the chart, revealed yesterday.

  • Weiss Chad

    I was looking at the one posted here on steelers depot

  • Weiss Chad

    Imo which means nothing it would be in order brown,Wheaton ,Moore ,Brown,Bryant,archer emergency 6 ,DhB and moye co 7 th.Not saying I’m right by any means, but that’s how I would personally play my cards .

  • Matthew Marczi

    This comment, however, is ridiculous. “Biased reporting”? Have you seen anybody write anything about Moye recently? It’s because there’s nothing to say about him. He is young, tall, and presumably hungry, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to make the team. And I’d hope that you learn what actual “biased reporting” is the next time you throw the accusation around. I wouldn’t be being fair if I acted as though Moye is on even footing with Justin Brown right now.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Ha, thank you, Eric.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I would take that as a good sign. It means that he’s having no issues and is blending in seamlessly. But you’re right, that topic alone could justify an article. If you’d like, I can tackle that topic within the next couple days.

  • Steve

    Your barking up the wrong tree. Beach is one of the smartest and hardest workers on the OL.

  • Big White

    I’d love to see it. Ike said yesterday he(Wheaton) doesn’t even realize yet how great he could be. Ike Taylor has seen the goods, knows the goods, and just told us he has seen the goods. I’ll take him on his word. Also, veeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy interested in how a player could break two fingers in separate incidents same year?

  • Big White

    Interesting too that the Steelers this season get the 2013′(Wheaton) & 2012(Spence) 3rd round picks back from injury. Those picks aren’t cheap to the cap, even in the third.

  • steeltown

    Yep and that one is accurate, steelersdepot is usually the most up to date, hands down

  • walter mason

    the tall money crew?

  • RealSportsKings

    He wouldn’t clear waivers on the practice squad. So with that in mind, he’s already a lock to make the roster.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He gave Moye passing mention three times that in no way suggested he was doing well or had any chance of making the team. He merely acknowledged that he existed at one point in time. The only present-tense mention of him was that he was tall and there.

  • SteveM2

    Not “existed”; exists would be more the more appropriate word. Bouchette’s article respects Derek Moye; yours, by omission, doesn’t.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The article wasn’t about Moye. Just because he’s young and tall doesn’t mean he needs to be mentioned.