Potentially a second round draft pick, Martavis Bryant, 6-foot-4 wide receiver out of Clemson, found himself falling down the draft boards all the way to the fourth round where a receiver-needing Pittsburgh Steelers’ team was more than happy to gobble him up.
Ben Roethlisberger’s been outspoken about having himself a tall receiver and he’s got that with 6-foot-4, Bryant. Not only does he have the height, but the speed as well. Having a big, tall, receiver like Bryant who can run well is something every team would crave.
The receiving corps is going to be interesting this season. Faces are changing and bigger roles are to be had.
Emmanuel Sanders is a Denver Bronco and Jerricho Cotchery is a Carolina Panther. Sanders never lived up to his full potential while in Pittsburgh and last season was a disappointment, but Cotchery exceeded expectations and blossomed above younger talent. The veteran’s play will surely be missed if new faces can’t make up for his absence.
Sanders’ replacement comes in the form of Markus Wheaton. The rookie of last season will now take on a bigger role and seems poised to to do. Cotchery’s void will be filled by Lance Moore, a veteran who came over from New Orelans. However, Wheaton’s never experienced a real starting role and Moore’s new to the team, there’s no guarantee these two will pay off.
The one constant is Antonio Brown, who should carry over his major success of last season and play the part of number one receiver just fine.
The Steelers need more help, with uncertainty in Wheaton and Moore, Bryant could be the help they need.
Of course there’s uncertainty in Bryant as well- he’s a rookie and has never played a down in the NFL. On paper though, he fits the scene just right in the Steel City.
The red zone was a an area the Steelers came up short last season. No real big guys to toss to and no real bruiser in the backfield. Bryant’s height can provide mismatches, similar to Plaxico Burress when he was with the team. Even if Bryant isn’t used regularly, he can be a threat in the red zone.
He’s fluent in his route running and has great sense of where to find the ball. He reeled in 42 catches for 828 yards and seven touchdowns last season at Clemson and that’s all while playing with Sammy Watkins. The Steelers didn’t reach to draft a receiver early-on and they should be applauded for landing Bryant in the fourth round.
Bryant isn’t going to be a superstar right off the bat. No, it’s clear he’s taken time to mature considering the off the field history he’s displayed at Clemson. A father of two before the age of 21 and academic issues prior to the Clemson’s Bowl game last season left Bryant watching his team win without him.
He’s changed. He’s matured but he hasn’t grown into an NFL player and that’s not going to happen over night. He, like many other of the Steelers’ draft picks, is a project. However, Bryant’s a real promising work in progress who may come to shine sooner than we think.