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hawaiiansteel
04-06-2011, 03:18 AM
what if Sanders doesn't make a full recovery?


Pittburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders Has Second Surgery

Posted by Tom Jenkins April 5, 2011


For the second time this off-season, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has had surgery on a broken foot, suffered in Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers.

Per Sanders’ Twitter account, his plan for the rest of the week is to kick back, elevate his foot and play video games. His recovery time is looking to be at the very least a month, but during the off-season that doesn’t seem to bad, especially with a 2011-2012 season seeming less and less likely as the weeks roll by.

Sanders caught 28 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie year, including seven catches for 91 yards in the playoffs, where he averaged 13 yards per catch.

The best thing about Sanders’ situation is the fact that he is constantly optimistic, going so far as to joke when asked about his status, he asked why Antwaan Randle El got an invitation to watch Hines Ward on Dancing With The Stars, whereas he was stuck at home doing the same.

Sanders looks to factor into the Steelers offense in a big way next season (pending, of course) and there are whispers that he may step into a starting role, with Mike Wallace taking over Ward’s position, and Sanders stepping into the spot that Wallace left available. Ward would of course still see plenty of playing time, as the Steelers would more than likely run quite a few more three wide receiver packages.

http://www.steelerschronicle.com/2011/0 ... nt=Twitter (http://www.steelerschronicle.com/2011/04/pittburgh-steelers-wide-receiver-emmauel-sanders-has-second-surgeryya.html/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SteelersChronicle+%28Steelers +Chronicle%29&utm_content=Twitter)

jj28west
04-06-2011, 08:20 PM
I just hope he heals 100%. His game is so much all about quickness. Thanks for the update HS.

hawaiiansteel
04-07-2011, 04:04 AM
Steelers Almost Yearly Drafting Of Wide Receivers Is Not Rocket Science


It is April and perhaps time for the Steelers to draft yet another wide receiver in the upcoming NFL draft. A quick look at the 2011 pre draft visit list combined with the draft history of the Steelers almost yearly drafting of wide receivers under Kevin Colbert and it does not take a rocket scientist to add two and two together to get to this conclusion, although it took me a little while to accept it. Since Colbert took over as the Director of Football Operations in 2000, the Steelers have drafted 13 receivers and have drafted at least one in all but two drafts dating back to 2000. Just last April the Steelers drafted Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown and both contributed during the run to the Super Bowl last season and Sanders had even overtaken veteran Antwaan Randle El as the #3 receiver by seasons end. The Steelers chose to trade away Santonio Holmes last April, so it was no surprise that Sanders was drafted and according to Colbert, Brown fell in their lap when he was still on the board in the 6th round.

The Steelers are currently stocked well at wide receiver for 2011 as Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Sanders and Brown all will return. Past that is where the Steelers might be concerned. Ward is signed through 2013, but he likely will only play two more seasons at the most. Wallace came into his own with a Pro Bowl like 2010 season, but he enters the final season of his rookie contract this upcoming season. The Steelers almost certainly will try to get him extended, but stranger things have happened. Sanders had a great rookie campaign and recently underwent his second surgery on his left foot that he broke in the Super Bowl. While the surgeries appear to be minor in nature, you never like to hear about a young receiver having a foot injury. Brown also contributed in his rookie season, but looks to need a bit more polishing as far as in-game recognition and route running goes. His talent certainly can not be denied though.

Outside of those four guys is where the question marks are. El was brought back on a three year deal last offseason and at the moment looks to be safe in 2011, but that is not a lock. Arnaz Battle was also signed last offseason to a three year deal, but is mostly regarded as a special teams player and there is no guarantee he will make the 53 man roster next season. 2008, 2nd round draft pick Limas Sweed is still under contract for 2011, but was lost last offseason to an Achilles injury. Sweed also seems to struggle with the mental aspect of the game as we have seen in his inability to catch. He needs a huge rebound to remotely have a chance at making out of Latrobe. The Steelers also have Tyler Grisham and Wes Lyons signed to the offseason roster, but the chances of either making it out of training camp are very slim.

While I expect Wallace to be extended, you have to wonder if the Steelers brass are concerned about the Sanders foot injury at all and while Brown certainly did contribute in 2010, he certainly has plenty room for improvement. Ward still is productive as a possession type receiver and dancer, but his retirement is not to far off in the distant future. The vertical passing game is a key component to the Steelers success and much like the linebacker position on defense; they constantly are looking to re-load it. While I do not think they will draft a receiver in the first two rounds of the upcoming draft, it is becoming quite obvious that at least one will be drafted from round three on. Based on all the facts I have mentioned, I think I just got my rocket scientist badge. Much like the drafting of linebackers, drafting of receivers seems to be a yearly tradition for the Black and Gold. The real question is: Will they draft more than one this year? To answer that, I will need to work on my clairvoyant badge.

POSTED BY DAVE BRYAN ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 2011 AT 1:11 PM

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/04/st ... t-science/ (http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/04/steelers-almost-yearly-drafting-of-wide-receivers-is-not-rocket-science/)

Oviedo
04-07-2011, 08:18 AM
Jon Baldwin at #31 would qualify!!!!!

Everyone needs to realize that our WR group has some serious question marks:

Hines is a year older and year closer to retirement...ditto for Randle El
Sanders is coming off two surgeries to his foot...not good for a WR
Sweed is coming off a major ligament injury and may never make it back
Brown is still young
Wallace is still learning and we aren't really sure what he is

That is not a real strong situation if a few things work against us. That is why I would have no problem with them grabbing Baldwin if he is available at #31. IMO he would likely be the BPA left on the board. IMO it would be alot like Mendanhall falling into their laps and that turned out pretty good.

RuthlessBurgher
04-07-2011, 10:17 AM
Jon Baldwin at #31 would qualify!!!!!

Everyone needs to realize that our WR group has some serious question marks:

Hines is a year older and year closer to retirement...ditto for Randle El
Sanders is coming off two surgeries to his foot...not good for a WR
Sweed is coming off a major ligament injury and may never make it back
Brown is still young
Wallace is still learning and we aren't really sure what he is

That is not a real strong situation if a few things work against us. That is why I would have no problem with them grabbing Baldwin if he is available at #31. IMO he would likely be the BPA left on the board. IMO it would be alot like Mendanhall falling into their laps and that turned out pretty good.

Everyone was projecting Mendenhall to go in the top half of the first round, so when he slid down to 23, it was a value pick. No one is predicting that Baldwin is a top half of the first round talent (the only WR's who qualify as such in this draft are A.J. Green and Julio Jones). Baldwin is not even the consensus "next-best" after the top tier guys. Many prefer Torrey Smith. Some put Leonard Hankerson over Baldwin as well. In fact, NFLDraftScout lists Baldwin as the 7th best WR prospect being Green, Jones, Smith, Hankerson, Randall Cobb, and Jerrel Jernigan. Baldwin's value is as a 2nd round pick. He is not a guy who would be "falling into their laps" at 31.


Lewis a star, Baldwin a bust at Pitt pro day
PUBLISHED Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm EDT
Russ Lande
Sporting News

The shortest player at Pitt's pro day Tuesday made the biggest impression. Running back Dion Lewis was explosive, quick and fast during the timing and drills.

Lewis (5-6 5/8, 192) showed extraordinary change-of-direction skills to start and stop in a blink. Although he ran pass routes a bit upright, he did a great job catching the ball away from his body. He also fielded punts and kickoffs, struggling a bit tracking punts but showing the right skills as a kickoff returner. He must add special teams value since backs his size can't handle a big load.

Pitt receiver Jonathan Baldwin traps way too many balls against his body instead of reaching out and snatching them. (AP Photo)Jabaal Sheard went through defensive end and linebacker drills, showing the athletic ability to be highly productive at either position. He showed good explosiveness in his movements throughout the long workout. He has some growth potential to add some bulk to play end, too. He has been an under-the-radar prospect all fall but might surprise the masses with how high he is drafted April 28. He could be a late riser like Tyson Alualu, the No. 10-overall pick of the Jaguars in the '11 draft.

Offensive tackle Jason Pinkston is light on his feet. He has a shorter frame with a thick, powerful core. Although he is not an elite-level athlete, he moves well enough to play right tackle or shift inside to guard. He shows good lower-body flexibility, footwork in tight spaces and features a strong, short hand punch.

Wide receiver Jon Baldwin has been called a first-round prospect by some in the media, but that's just crazy talk. He is a big receiver with a tight upper body and almost zero quickness or acceleration off the line or out of breaks. He lacks zero elusiveness running after the catch, too. Although he didn't drop a pass in Tuesday's workout, he still traps way too many balls against his body instead of reaching out and snatching them. Plus, he trashed former coach Dave Wannstedt in the media after he was fired, turning off many NFL people who would have considered him as a backup receiver. Coaches make exceptions for me-first receivers with rare talent--that's not Baldwin.

Dom DeCicco, a college strong safety, worked out Tuesday with the linebackers. His only chance to play on defense in the NFL is as a weakside linebacker for a 4-3 scheme. For 3-4 teams, his upside is as a nickel linebacker and core special teams player. He is the definition of a slow-twitch, pedestrian athlete who overcompensates for his lack of athletic skills with great instincts and competitiveness. He could struggle to just make an NFL roster.

Defensive end Greg Romeus and fullback Henry Hynoski were unable to participate in Tuesday's workout because of injuries. Romeus is still recovering for a knee injury sustained in the middle of last season, and Hynoski is hampered by a pulled hamstring sustained at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Read more: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2 ... z1IqZHH6K5 (http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2011-03-15/lewis-a-star-baldwin-a-bust-at-pitt-pro-day#ixzz1IqZHH6K5)

Steelers>NFL
04-07-2011, 01:49 PM
Jon Baldwin at #31 would qualify!!!!!

Everyone needs to realize that our WR group has some serious question marks:

Hines is a year older and year closer to retirement...ditto for Randle El
Sanders is coming off two surgeries to his foot...not good for a WR
Sweed is coming off a major ligament injury and may never make it backBrown is still young
Wallace is still learning and we aren't really sure what he is

That is not a real strong situation if a few things work against us. That is why I would have no problem with them grabbing Baldwin if he is available at #31. IMO he would likely be the BPA left on the board. IMO it would be alot like Mendanhall falling into their laps and that turned out pretty good.

Never make it back? He never made it to begin with... :wink:

Jigawatts
04-07-2011, 02:05 PM
Jon Baldwin at #31 would qualify!!!!!

Everyone needs to realize that our WR group has some serious question marks:

Hines is a year older and year closer to retirement...ditto for Randle El
Sanders is coming off two surgeries to his foot...not good for a WR
Sweed is coming off a major ligament injury and may never make it backBrown is still young
Wallace is still learning and we aren't really sure what he is

That is not a real strong situation if a few things work against us. That is why I would have no problem with them grabbing Baldwin if he is available at #31. IMO he would likely be the BPA left on the board. IMO it would be alot like Mendanhall falling into their laps and that turned out pretty good.

Never make it back? He never made it to begin with... :wink:

Limas in 2011-2012 :tt2

Oviedo
04-07-2011, 02:14 PM
Jon Baldwin at #31 would qualify!!!!!

Everyone needs to realize that our WR group has some serious question marks:

Hines is a year older and year closer to retirement...ditto for Randle El
Sanders is coming off two surgeries to his foot...not good for a WR
Sweed is coming off a major ligament injury and may never make it backBrown is still young
Wallace is still learning and we aren't really sure what he is

That is not a real strong situation if a few things work against us. That is why I would have no problem with them grabbing Baldwin if he is available at #31. IMO he would likely be the BPA left on the board. IMO it would be alot like Mendanhall falling into their laps and that turned out pretty good.

Never make it back? He never made it to begin with... :wink:

Limas in 2011-2012 :tt2

I'm pulling for the kid. if he can finally play to his potential that would be HUGE!!!!!!

Jigawatts
04-07-2011, 02:23 PM
Jon Baldwin at #31 would qualify!!!!!

Everyone needs to realize that our WR group has some serious question marks:

Hines is a year older and year closer to retirement...ditto for Randle El
Sanders is coming off two surgeries to his foot...not good for a WR
Sweed is coming off a major ligament injury and may never make it backBrown is still young
Wallace is still learning and we aren't really sure what he is

That is not a real strong situation if a few things work against us. That is why I would have no problem with them grabbing Baldwin if he is available at #31. IMO he would likely be the BPA left on the board. IMO it would be alot like Mendanhall falling into their laps and that turned out pretty good.

Never make it back? He never made it to begin with... :wink:

Limas in 2011-2012 :tt2

I'm pulling for the kid. if he can finally play to his potential that would be HUGE!!!!!!

If Limas could get it together I'd be the biggest Limas Sweed fan out there.

hawaiiansteel
04-07-2011, 02:45 PM
Jon Baldwin at #31 would qualify!!!!!

Everyone needs to realize that our WR group has some serious question marks:

Hines is a year older and year closer to retirement...ditto for Randle El
Sanders is coming off two surgeries to his foot...not good for a WR
Sweed is coming off a major ligament injury and may never make it backBrown is still young
Wallace is still learning and we aren't really sure what he is

That is not a real strong situation if a few things work against us. That is why I would have no problem with them grabbing Baldwin if he is available at #31. IMO he would likely be the BPA left on the board. IMO it would be alot like Mendanhall falling into their laps and that turned out pretty good.

Never make it back? He never made it to begin with... :wink:

Limas in 2011-2012 :tt2

I'm pulling for the kid. if he can finally play to his potential that would be HUGE!!!!!!

If Limas could get it together I'd be the biggest Limas Sweed fan out there.

me too, but this year is definitely his last chance with the Steelers...

http://www.bbsradio.com/miracleshappen/graphics/bannerMiracles.jpg

Eich
04-08-2011, 01:00 PM
I'll be SHOCKED if Limas comes back to do anything of signficance. Mental/insecurity issues and achilles issues? That would be some major hurdles for a WR to overcome. I'd be happy for him for sure if he does it but I'll be shocked.

Dee Dub
04-08-2011, 01:53 PM
I say take a flyer in the late rounds on Va_Tech QB Tyrod Taylor and force his hand. WR or nothing. He could be very special if he dedicated himself to WR. Good size, good speed, and a tremendous athlete.

hawaiiansteel
04-15-2011, 09:38 PM
2011 NFL Draft: Are Pittsburgh Steelers Eying Hometown Kid Jonathan Baldwin?

By Nick Sero (Contributor) on April 13, 2011

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/001/179/885/94021923_crop_650x440.jpg?1302701349

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been moving away from their old ground-attack offense toward a more spread offense. Ben Roethlisberger has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and the Steelers think that just having Roethlisberger can steal them a few a games each season.

So why wouldn't the Steelers want to build around Roethlisberger and keep him progressing?

The Steelers have taken Roethlisberger into consideration before in the draft. Roethlisberger saw what it was like having a tall receiver in his rookie year, Plaxico Burress' last season as a Pittsburgh Steeler. Since then, he has publicly stated his request for a taller receiver, even getting under Hines Ward's skin with the request.

The Steelers went out and got Ben that tall receiver that year, and with almost zero success.

That receiver was Limas Sweed, who spent the entire 2010 season on IR and saw two rookie receivers contributing on a regular basis. Sweed only made the field at the end of his rookie season, dropping easy touchdown passes in both appearances.

Sweed then fell victim to just bad luck. He's suffered multiple injuries over his tumultuous career, which is now up in the air.

So will the Steelers try to find their next tall receiver again in this year's draft?

There are two men Baldwin has to convince first...

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/article/media_slots/photos/000/152/760/107689548_crop_340x234.jpg?1302701382

Karl Walter/Getty Images

Despite their poor history of drafting said receiver, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Steelers go after a receiver as early as the second round.

Jonathan Baldwin has a history at Heinz Field. He played all his home collegiate football games there while a University of Pittsburgh Panther and even played his high school football playoffs there. Baldwin even trained in the same facility as the Steelers, so the idea that the Steelers could have Baldwin in their sights is reasonable.

Baldwin is listed at 6'4" and about 225 pounds, but comes with added issues.

Baldwin isn't exactly the Steeler or Mike Tomlin type. Tomlin drafts the type of players that fit the team mentality of the Steelers, something Baldwin could raise some red flags over. His transgressions as a young college student, including an assault charge, were dismissed, but the Steelers would have to be sure there is no real fire with that smoke.

Baldwin actually had a lengthy sitdown with both Tomlin and Steelers GM Kevin Colbert, according to CBS Pittsburgh. The Steelers don't need any more off-field distractions and certainly won't be going after a receiver with a troubled past any time soon (Santonio Holmes has ruined it for divas in Pittsburgh).

There is the chance that Baldwin proved himself to the Steelers brass in that meeting. If that's the case and the Steelers feel the potential is there, I wouldn't be surprised if Baldwin plays all three levels of football in his hometown.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/6638 ... metown-kid (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/663896-2011-nfl-draft-rumor-mill-are-steelers-considering-hometown-kid)

Shawn
04-16-2011, 01:26 PM
I would rather have Pettis myself.

steelblood
04-16-2011, 02:14 PM
There are some interesting receivers in this draft.

I like...

Hankerson in the second
Denarius Moore in the fourth or fifth
Raymond Webber in the seventh

hawaiiansteel
04-16-2011, 04:06 PM
Limas Sweed May Finally Make An Impact With The Pittsburgh Steelers

Posted by Tom Jenkins April 16, 2011

http://smartasssports.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Limas-Sweed.jpg


Limas Sweed was once considered a draft day steal for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but after two disappointing seasons Steelers fans regarded him as wasted space and a busted pick. But, then reports came from mini camp last year that Sweed was turning his fortune around, complete with a brand new number on his jersey, hoping to rejuvenate a career where all hope was thought lost.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was reportedly very impressed with Sweed during last year’s mini camp and Steelers fans around the country were genuinely excited, anticipating that Sweed just may have that breakout season that was thought capable of him when he was drafted.

That would never happen, however, as Sweed was injured on May 11th, 2010, it was his left Achilles and it effectively ended his season, as he was placed on injured reserve.
All that hope could and should be focused into the next NFL season, which will hopefully be this year. Sweed still has the ability to turn things around, his physical tools are outstanding, he’s a big, fast, deep threat that would compliment the Steelers current receiving corps VERY well.

Potentially Sweed could be the red zone target that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been hoping for since he was drafted, a commodity that the Steelers have not had since Plaxico Burress departed for the New York Giants.

Sweed is nearly six inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than most of the Steelers receivers that were on the roster last year. To really compare the numbers:

Hines Ward 6’0” 205 lbs.
Mike Wallace 6’0” 180 lbs.
Emmanuel Sanders 5’11” 186 lbs.
Antonio Brown 5’10” 186 lbs.
Limas Sweed 6’5” 220 lbs.

You’ll notice that Antwaan Randle El is not present on the above list, and that’s simply because there are thoughts around Steelers Nation that ‘El’ won’t be with the team next season, but that all really boils down to Sweed’s performance during training camp and the direction the Steelers decide to go in the draft.

Likely if a wide receiver is selected by the Steelers in the 2011 NFL Draft, Randle El will be gone, and Sweed will get a chance to battle the newcomer for a roster spot. Should they elect to not draft a receiver, then it will more than likely be a Sweed/Randle El battle in camp for the fifth receiver spot on the depth chart.

Sweed has fully embraced the philosophy of the Steelers offense, showing a willingness to block, as demonstrated on Baltimore Ravens defensive back Corey Ivy.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Y-DbBvf7R5Y/SXUWqGW8rQI/AAAAAAAAU34/FdTBLQ8FtJY/s400/corey-ivy-limas-sweed.jpg

At the very least, Sweed will be happy to know that the vast majority of Steeler Nation is pulling for him to live up to expectations in the potential 2011-2012 season.

http://www.steelerschronicle.com/2011/0 ... lers.html/ (http://www.steelerschronicle.com/2011/04/limas-sweed-may-finally-make-an-impact-with-the-pittsburgh-steelers.html/)

Shawn
04-16-2011, 04:20 PM
Sweed has all the physical tools. I watched him make some circus catches in college. But, big WRs usually take more time than the smaller guys. Couple that with some insecurity and injury issues and you have what we have now. If Sweed can heal, it wouldn't shock me in the slightest if he makes this squad.

MaxAMillion
04-17-2011, 01:35 AM
I think we should be looking to upgrade the WR position. Once Sanders got hurt in the Super Bowl, the passing game struggled (granted Ben played mediocre most of the game). Ward is basically an H back at this point. Brown doesn't look like a true number 3 WR to me. I would like the Baldwin pick if not for the off field issues. Baldwin seems like another Plaxico to me. A talented head case who will blow up eventually.

Shawn
04-17-2011, 01:52 AM
I think we should be looking to upgrade the WR position. Once Sanders got hurt in the Super Bowl, the passing game struggled (granted Ben played mediocre most of the game). Ward is basically an H back at this point. Brown doesn't look like a true number 3 WR to me. I would like the Baldwin pick if not for the off field issues. Baldwin seems like another Plaxico to me. A talented head case who will blow up eventually.

Brown had some huge catches in his rookie season. What makes you think he won't be a terrific slot?

papillon
04-17-2011, 07:42 AM
Can you really have too many receivers in camp with the way offense is being played in the NFL? I'm sure a WR will be selected by the Steelers in this draft and probably every draft in the future. if you're running 2, 3 and 4 WR sets you're going to need a lot of WRs because of injury, IMO.

Pappy

Chadman
04-17-2011, 08:54 AM
Of course, the Steelers COULD just add a Lance Kendricks or DJ Williams & leave the WR group as is...still get yourself another pair of good pass catching hands while actually upgrading a position at the same time...

hawaiiansteel
04-27-2011, 10:34 PM
Picking a Wideout Would Be Nice, But Not Necessary

Posted on April 27, 2011 by JJ


It happens every year and the weeks and months leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft is no different; there has been a lot of discussion about where the Steelers’ needs are the greatest. It may be cornerback (especially with Ike Taylor slated to be a free agent) or you could argue offensive tackle (especially considering the situation for 2012).

I haven’t seen anyone claim that wide receiver is the Steelers’ biggest need, but I have seen several writers state that it is one of Pittsburgh’s main secondary needs. Most recently, Michael Bean, the editor of Behind The Steel Curtain, made that point in a post Tuesday morning.

What about ’12 and beyond? Hines Ward is the man, my favorite player, a guy who might still catch 60-70 balls when he’s 36-38 years old. But he might also hit a wall here in ’11 or ’12 and be approaching the twilight of his career. Then what? That leaves us with three guys all under 6? — Wallace, Sanders, and Brown . . . The Steelers are going to have to invest heavily in a blue chip talent at WR at some point in the near future. They’ve got great weapons as is, but will all the parts compliment each other if Hines Ward isn’t in the equation?

I in no way mean it as a personal criticism of Bean, who I think does excellent work. But in this case, I can’t agree.

Could the Steelers use another mid-round wide receiver, with the hope of landing a sleeper? Absolutely. But I’d argue that the Steelers are in as good a shape at wide receiver as they have been in years.

In Hines Ward, Pittsburgh has the most productive receiver in team history. But if we’re talking about 2012 and beyond, lets not even include him in this discussion. There’s always a chance that Ward could retire after the 2011 season (hopefully after hoisting his third Lombardi Trophy).

But that would still leave Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown (as well as the ever-present hope of a Limas Sweed turnaround). Yes, none of them are taller than 6-0, as Bean notes. But this includes Hines Ward, so it’s not like losing Ward will make the Steelers’ shorter. Santonio Holmes is 5-foot-10, but that didn’t make the Cardinals’ job any easier in Super Bowl XLIII.

Pittsburgh has had two successful receivers taller than 6-foot in the past decade: Plaxico Burress and Nate Washington. The Steelers have succeeded with a slew of smaller receivers (Ward, Randle El, Bobby Shaw, Cedrick Wilson, Sanders, and Holmes, f0r example).

As much as we may all love big receivers, we’ve covered here at the Lounge before how it really is a false expectation. Yes, if you can land Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson or a Larry Fitzgerald in the draft, you snag them. But there’s a common thread for big, tall and fast receivers — you often have to draft them early in the first round.

As you fall further down the draft list, you often get big and tall but slow (think Walter Young) or big and tall but with hands of stone (think Limas Sweed). And as Ryan Wilson’s study showed, there was no significant correlation between size and success among wide receivers in 2010.

So the second question really revolves around whether you believe Emmanuel Sanders or Antonio Brown can develop into a solid No. 2 receiver.

No one can fully predict how Sanders and Brown’s careers will turn out, but I will argue that everything we’ve seen up to now would appear to indicate that Sanders will eventually be a successful starter for the Steelers.

A year ago, the same questions were being asked about Mike Wallace, coming off of an outstanding rookie season as the Steelers’ No. 3 receiver. Wallace was much easier to project as a starter — he was a devastating deep threat as a rookie — and despite his status as a No. 3 receiver, he had spent the entire season largely beating starting cornerbacks (even if that wasn’t always apparent to everyone).

I haven’t gone back and charted every pass thrown to Sanders (yet) like I did Wallace last year. But I have spot checked it. Sanders did face more nickel and dime backs than Wallace because he did line up in the slot at times. But like last year, a lot of Ward’s success came against slot corners as well – -if you work over the middle, you’re more likely to be beating linebackers and nickel backs than the receivers that work near the sidelines.

But whoever he faced, Sanders was productive. He didn’t really become a regular part of the offense until midseason (he played 41 snaps in the first eight games), but from the day he passed Randle El to be the team’s No. 3 receiver, Sanders became one of Ben Roethlisberger’s most reliable targets. Five times Roethlisberger looked for Sanders on third and 11 or more. On all five times Sanders converted for a first down. In the final eight regular season games (when he moved up to No. 3 receiver), Sanders had 24 catches for 300 yards.

Among Steelers rookie receivers since 1990, Sanders ranks seventh in catches (28) and yards (376). By comparison, Burress ranks eighth, Ward ninth. In fact, of the top nine Steelers rookie receivers (everyone with 200+ yards), Troy Edwards and Bobby Shaw were the only ones who did not develop into productive starters.

So statistically, Sanders passes the smell test. His performance as a rookie offers signs that he can get open against NFL defenses (five third-and-long conversions come against defenses geared to stop the pass). But what about physically, does he have the tools to become a starter?

Physically, the knock on Sanders coming out of college was that he may not be physical enough to handle cornerbacks who jam him at the line. The Steelers’ use of stack and bunch formations helps alleviate that concern, because it’s nearly impossible to play bump and run in those situations. But Sanders actually proved to also be more physical than expected, as well as a willing blocker (by my tape review, he was Pittsburgh’s second best blocking receiver behind Ward).

But does he have the speed? Sanders’ 13.4 yards per catch average wasn’t bad on a team that already had Wallace as the main deep threat. He projects more as an intermediate route runner (which makes sense since he’s Ward’s eventual replacement), but it’s also worth remembering that Sanders turned in the third fastest 40-yard dash time among wide receivers at the 2010 NFL combine.

Add it up and there is no reason to think Sanders won’t eventually supplant Ward. If he can handle that job then Pittsburgh is already in good shape. It also means that, down the line, Antonio Brown only has to step into the No. 3 receiver role. He showed signs of being capable of handling that role last year, but even if he falls flat, it’s easy to fill a need at No. 3 receiver. For one, the ranks of veteran receivers willing to step in on the cheap to that role (think Randle El, Wilson, Courtney Hawkins) is often long, especially if you are considered a playoff team. And No. 3 receivers are also much easier to find in the draft than starters — Nate Washington was an undrafted free agent, Bobby Shaw was a waiver pickup, Sanders was a third-round pick.

So while I would be happy to see Pittsburgh take a mid-round receiver this weekend, it’s because he could eventually be a solid contributor. The Steelers already have Hines Ward’s replacement on the roster.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/04/p ... mment-5478 (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/04/picking-wideout-nice/#comment-5478)

Chadman
04-27-2011, 10:57 PM
Starting to lean, more & more, towards not drafting WR this year. Given who the Steelers have looked at- who is hands-down better than Antonio Brown in the rookie class for mid-round WR's? For that matter- better than Limas Sweed?

Here's the thing- the Steelers will have Ward, Wallace, Sanders & Brown as certainties. Then you have Sweed vs Randle El for the 5th WR spot- 5TH!!

Future need at WR is certainly an issue- but given that Wallace, Sanders & Brown figure to be long-term (and perhaps Sweed), you could easily bring in a high round WR next draft & not force them into starting action while these guys handle the load & let said Rookie develop.

NJ-STEELER
04-28-2011, 01:19 AM
i consider it a bigger need then DL.

of course the pool isnt as deep as DL so we're not likely to take one in the 1st (which i happy about considering what we've done with our last couple of 1st round WRs)

but,we're much more unproven at wideout then the defensive line. ward old, sanders is coming off 2 surgeries on his foot. brown has flashed, and hopefully he continues to progress

insanesteelersfan
04-28-2011, 01:23 AM
i consider it a bigger need then DL.

of course the pool isnt as deep as DL so we're not likely to take one in the 1st (which i happy about considering what we've done with our last couple of 1st round WRs)

but,we're much more unproven at wideout then the defensive line. ward old, sanders is coming off 2 surgeries on his foot. brown has flashed, and hopefully he continues to progress



Huh ???

Ward is Old ?...okay, is he unproductive ? What surgeries are you talking about ? And Brown was the find of last years draft. Ward if he wants can play another 3 years easily. And have over 800-1,000 Yds . Yes we probably will take a WR. But you act like you wanna WASTE a pick on Jon Baldwin,,,who is a Nobody! Pettis late in the 4th, or Vincent Brown will be fine.

Chadman
04-28-2011, 01:35 AM
Well, Ward IS old...

But if you use the "Ward is Old" argument- Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith, Chris Hoke & Nick Eason are old & Steve McLendon isn't proven... :stirpot

Hard to agree that WR is a bigger need than DL. Short term? Perhaps- but you don't draft for instant gratification.

It is quite possible- believable even- that Hampton, Smith, Hoke & Keisel could ALL be gone within 2 years. Hampton in 2 years- 36. Smith in 2 years- 38. Hoke in 2 years- 38. Keisel in 2 years- 35.....Ward in 2 years- 36.

There's not a whole lot of 35+ guys playing in the NFL at a high level.

NJ-STEELER
04-28-2011, 02:12 AM
Iirc sanders had a 2nd surgery on his foot he injured in the SB. Wards on his last legs. Brown had a few flashes but I'm not ready to crown him as starter material. So there's plenty of questions about the group

Don't want Baldwin but wouldn't be surprised if we take a WR before a DL. I guess I would add a pass catching TE as part of that need.
if hankerson was there in the 2nd round, i'd take him. DE in out system can be developed with later round guys (smith and keisel being 2 perfect examples)

Which unit needs more help. The best front 7 in football or the passing offense that struggled all year?

Chadman
04-28-2011, 02:32 AM
Smith, from memory took 3 years before getting a start. Keisel 5 years. Hampton started in his first year- but then, he was a 1st round pick. Same with Ziggy Hood.

Late round guys don't start anywhere near right away because...well...they need time to develop.

Do the Steelers have 3-5 years out of Smith, Hampton, Hoke & Keisel? What happens to the Steelers front 7 if their replacements are not ready?

On the other hand- Sanders, Brown, Holmes, Wallace, Randle el, Burress, Troy Edwards etc contributed immediately. WR's it seems, are ready to play far quicker, and as a result- likely lesser a need.

Oviedo
04-28-2011, 09:36 AM
With all the flexibility work Ward is doing on Dancing with the Stars he will come back and have a great season. His footwork will be better than ever. :D

NJ-STEELER
04-28-2011, 10:04 AM
It took smith and diesel that long cause they had size issues. The DEs in most mocks (like mine below) are Already 300 lbs


We drafted what seemed like a good prospect On the DL last yeAr and lost him cause he couldn't crack the rotation cause the unit is still top notch

How long does it take to teach a DL to take up blockers so the LBs can run to the ball?
The ZBS make take some time. But that would effect 1st rounders too