Even though he’s only played in 11 total games so far during his career, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is already considered by Bucky Brooks of NFL.com as being one of the top five deep threats in the league.
Bryant, who caught 26 passes for 549 yards and 8 touchdowns last season as a rookie, is ranked as Brooks’ No. 4 overall deep threat wide receiver heading into 2015.
Bryant hasn’t cracked the Steelers’ starting lineup, but he has already impressed coaches around the NFL. Despite suiting up in only 10 games as a rookie, Bryant scored eight touchdowns and posted five catches of 40-plus yards. The 6-foot-4, 211-pounder routinely blew past defenders on vertical routes, exhibiting a combination of size, speed and leaping ability that makes him an extremely tough cover on the perimeter. Although he remains a work in progress as a route runner, Bryant’s ability to impact the game as a downfield playmaker creates issues for defensive coordinators intent on slowing down the Steelers’ triplets (Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown) with aggressive schemes. Considering the lack of depth and talent in most defensive backfields, the prospect of getting the ultra-explosive Bryant a one-on-one matchup with a CB3 or CB4 should make coordinator Todd Haley giddy as a play caller.
Ahead of Bryant on Brooks’ list is DeSean Jackson, Jordy Nelson and T.Y. Hilton, respectively, and as of right now, you’re unlikely to find many people that will take issue with that.
Last year, Bryant was targeted more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage a total of 23 times during the regular season and he caught nine of those passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns. You’d like to see his 39.1 deep pass completion percentage improve some during his second season and odds are that it will.
Bryant has added some muscle mass this offseason in addition to working on improving his hand fighting by incorporating some MMA training out in California. The Clemson product is expected to have a very productive 2015 season for the Steelers and at this same time next year, he very well could be considered by many as being the top deep threat in the league.