Hall of Famer
Timing right for Steelers to draft tall WR
PITTSBURGH -- On the same day Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Steelers have told Ben Roethlisberger they plan to draft a tall wide receiver early, general manager Kevin Colbert offered this nugget in regard to the franchise quarterback.
“What we have to do is surround [Roethlisberger] with the best talent,” Colbert said on Wednesday, “and he has to play to that level that he’s capable of playing if we do get that talent around him.”
Colbert’s response was parsed and part of a larger answer to his acknowledgement that Big Ben isn’t getting any younger. But it signaled that the Steelers plan to go all-in with Roethlisberger, who turns 32 next month, and give him every chance of getting the organization back to the Super Bowl.
That, taken with what Dulac reported during an online chat, points to the Steelers providing Roethlisberger with the tall wide receiver he has long coveted – and hasn’t had since his rookie season in 2004.
Think about it.
The offense, unlike a defense in transition, is already largely in place for 2014.
Pro Bowler Antonio Brown returns after authoring the greatest season by a Steelers wide receiver. Le’Veon Bell has established himself as a feature back with plenty of upside after a robust rookie season. Tight end Heath Miller, solid in 2013, will be even better next season when he isn’t coming back from reconstructive knee surgery.
Colbert could have been referring to the offensive line when talking about the need to surround Roethlisberger with top talent. But the line returns intact after making significant improvement in the second half of last season, and it will get better under the watchful eye of new offensive line coach Mike Munchak.
Kelvin Beachum may not be a prototypical left tackle but he proved to be more than capable there after supplanting Mike Adams following the fourth game of the season. And the second-year man provided enough of a sample size for the Steelers to think he can hold his own protecting Roethlisberger’s blind side while also continuing to get better.
The obvious missing piece on offense is a rangy wide receiver, and the Steelers may not get a better chance to provide Roethlisberger with one while he is still in his prime.
The draft that Colbert said is as deep as any he has seen in 30 years is particularly flush with wide receivers. There are tall ones such as Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin -- each is listed as at least 6-foot-5 -- and there also appears to be a handful in the 6-2, 6-3 range who could be early-round selections.
Whether that means the Steelers draft a tall wide receiver in the first or second round remains to be seen. Colbert insists that the Steelers stick to their draft board and that talent always trumps need when they are making their picks.
The Steelers can’t know how things will shake out during the pre-draft evaluations that shift into another gear next week at the NFL combine.
Or how the actual draft in May plays out.
But if the Steelers are intent on taking advantage of every snap that Roethlisberger has left at wide receiver at No. 15 overall is very much in play despite the more pressing needs they have on defense.
This could be a year where need and the board match up nicely. Ben has long wanted a big target, and it would be nice to have a big body in the red zone. I would love to see a big WR in the first or the second, with the rest of the early picks focused on revamping the defense.
I hope it's NT, LB or DB in the first and big WR in the 2nd.
Originally Posted by phillyesq
How big is Wheaton?
Well Mike Evans would be that target. But, I just don't see the Steelers passing on CJ Mosley to draft Evans.
Wheaton is like 5-10/5-11
Originally Posted by feltdizz
I like mike evans, im not in love with him as a top 15 prospect though. Wouldnt be crazy thrilled with a MLB at 15 either even though I like mosely as well.
Originally Posted by Shawn
If they are looking for a big target is is almost certainly Evans/Benjamin/Ebron....or dare i say a trade up for the stud that is sammy watkins, who is decently big and shames every WR in the draft by a mile
Allen Robinson, Moncrief, and Jordan matthews would be much less exciting in the second round, I do love moncrief though
Wheaton is 5'11 and under 200 lbs.
Originally Posted by feltdizz
I generally agree that I'd prefer a defensive player in the first and a WR in the second. However, if the Steelers feel that one of the WRs will be in the mold of an AJ Green, D. Thomas, Julio Jones, etc., then I'd like to see them pull the trigger on that guy and load up on D for the rest of the draft.
I could... and I don't want a WR in the first but if we did I damn sure would want it to be Evans. That guy made a lot of bad passes look good last year.
Originally Posted by Shawn
How about "the time is right" if he is the highest rated player when we pick in the 1st or 2nd. I see that big body being at WR because Miller & Spaeth will be here for 2-3 more years. If a TE really grades out higher than anyone there...I don't see them straying from their board because of Miller & Spaeth. I Just don't see a high rated Steeler type of TE until 2nd (Seferian-Jenkins or Niklas).
Both Ebron and Amaro are tall pass catching TEs who are, at least, willing blockers...
If you line up one of those guys opposite Miller, you have two TEs who can block and catch...
With Wheaton and Brown, you have two guys who can run every route on the tree and are both fast enough to take the top off of a defense...
And you have Bell in the backfield, who runs with patience and can also catch passes...
Spaeth is only signed for one more season...