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fordfixer
06-12-2010, 01:24 AM
Steelers believe it's better to receive
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, June 12, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 85676.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_685676.html)

By adding two wide receivers at this year's NFL Draft, the Steelers remained true to a philosophy they have followed in the past few years.

Emmanuel Sanders, selected in the third round out of SMU, and Antonio Brown, a sixth-round pick from Central Michigan, were the seventh and eighth receivers the team has drafted since 2005.

During the past six drafts, the Steelers invested a first-round pick (Santonio Holmes), a second-round choice (Limas Sweed) and three third-round selections (Willie Reid, Mike Wallace and Sanders) in wide receivers. The Steelers also added veteran free agents Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle to complement this year's picks.

"As we are about the development of those young (receivers), they're young guys. That's why it was important to acquire guys like Arnaz Battle and Antwaan Randle El -- veterans that are starter-capable," coach Mike Tomlin said.

Draft picks, particularly high ones, are the foundation of NFL teams. The Steelers have invested more high picks in receivers than any other position in the past six years.

"Every year, more wide receivers get drafted than any other position because there's that many receivers that's worthwhile," said former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt, who contributes to NFL.com and is a regular on Sirius NFL Radio. "But you've got to be sure you get right one. ... Every one that you hit on, you probably miss on four or five."

Finding success at the position has been hit or miss for the Steelers, who have selected at least one receiver each of the past six drafts. Wallace, who had a successful rookie campaign last season, is in line to be a starter. He replaces Holmes, the Super Bowl XLIII MVP who was traded to the New York Jets before the draft. Sweed, following two unproductive seasons, won't play this year because of injury.

Both 2006 picks -- Holmes and Reid -- are no longer with the Steelers. Four drafts later, the Steelers repeated the process.

"We drafted two wide receivers that have had good offseasons, but they did it in shorts," Tomlin said Thursday. "We'll know more about those guys as we get into training camp."

Sanders and Brown, taken three rounds and 113 players apart, are similar in size and style.

"Sanders is not only a good wide receiver, he's an excellent return man. You saw last year how bad (the Steelers') return game was," Brandt said. "Brown is fast, and he's also a very good kick returner. I guess the philosophy might be when you draft two players that look pretty much alike, you should hit on one of them and hopefully hit on both of them."

Brandt recalled when Dallas selected two quarterbacks in the 1977 draft: Glenn Carano in the second round and Steve DeBerg in the 10th.

"We knew that both quarterbacks weren't going to make the team, but you get into trouble when you don't take the best player at the time you draft," Brandt said. "We had Carano rated higher, but we had DeBerg rated a lot higher than where we drafted him. Unfortunately, we probably kept the wrong guy."

Carano had 304 passing yards and three touchdown passes in his six-year NFL career. DeBerg, who played for several teams, amassed 34,241 career passing yards and 196 touchdown passes.

The Steelers' new targets put up impressive numbers in college. Sanders had 98 receptions, 1,339 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions in his final season. Brown ranks second all-time in the Mid-American Conference with 305 career receptions.

"All you have to do is look at the Steelers' record," Brandt said. "Historically, they've drafted very, very well."

RuthlessBurgher
06-12-2010, 10:17 AM
"You saw last year how bad (the Steelers') return game was," Brandt said.

C'mon, Gil...do a little homework, man. I realize the man has a mind like a steel trap, especially for a guy his age (being able to remember the hometowns of random guys he scouted back in the early 70's), but it is pretty obvious that our major issue with special teams was in coverage, not returns. Logan had an excellent year returning kicks and punts.

BradshawsHairdresser
06-12-2010, 10:37 AM
"You saw last year how bad (the Steelers') return game was," Brandt said.

C'mon, Gil...do a little homework, man. I realize the man has a mind like a steel trap, especially for a guy his age (being able to remember the hometowns of random guys he scouted back in the early 70's), but it is pretty obvious that our major issue with special teams was in coverage, not returns. Logan had an excellent year returning kicks and punts.

$$$
Logan was especially productive on kickoff returns. I'd like to see the Steelers find a way to utilize him more on offense...seems like he could get in on 5-6 third-down plays per game.

SteelerNation1
06-12-2010, 08:20 PM
"You saw last year how bad (the Steelers') return game was," Brandt said.

C'mon, Gil...do a little homework, man. I realize the man has a mind like a steel trap, especially for a guy his age (being able to remember the hometowns of random guys he scouted back in the early 70's), but it is pretty obvious that our major issue with special teams was in coverage, not returns. Logan had an excellent year returning kicks and punts.
Single season KO return leader isn't too bad. Just never had the game changer he had twice during the preseason.

Chucktownsteeler
06-13-2010, 07:32 AM
I wonder if Tyler Grisham has a good chance to make the squad at WR. I think he played in a few games toward the end of the season last year and had a couple catches. I don't recall if he played on the special teams or not.


C-town

Oviedo
06-13-2010, 10:00 AM
IMO Stefan Logan loses out if either Sanders or Brown show they can return kicks and/or punts. Don't forget that we also still have Joe Burnett who came out as one of the best punt returners in college football.

Just don't see how Logan can make this team as a specialist.

I also think Grisham is unfortunately the odd man out and gets a ticket to the PS again this season.

I do like the young wide receivers that Steelers seem to be getting. Interesting though is that they seem to be more along the lines of possession recivers rather than game breakers. More along the lines of Hines Ward clones rather than Lynn Swann.

With ARE and Battle and Hines all over 30, I expect both Sanders and Brown make the Final 53.

RuthlessBurgher
06-13-2010, 11:12 AM
I wonder if Tyler Grisham has a good chance to make the squad at WR. I think he played in a few games toward the end of the season last year and had a couple catches. I don't recall if he played on the special teams or not.


C-town

If they keep 6 WR's, I think it will be Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antwaan Randle El, Emmanuel Sanders, Arnaz Battle, and Antonio Brown. Grisham might be considered to spend some more time on the practice squad.