2014 Draft

Steelers Would Probably Be Wise To Avoid Drafting A Wide Receiver In Round One

According to several of the major media draftniks, this year’s draft class is deep when it comes to the wide receiver position. With that being said, there still figures to be four or five drafted in the first round come next Thursday night. Will the Pittsburgh Steelers be one of those teams to draft a wide receiver in round one?

Recently, the Milwaukee Journal┬áSentinel polled 17 personnel men with national responsibilities to name their five top wide receivers and as Bob McGinn reports, a first-place vote was worth five points, a second was worth four and so forth. The results below probably aren’t that shocking.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wide Receiver Poll Results

Player Points
Sammy Watkins 83
Mike Evans 59
Odell Beckham 55
Brandin Cooks, 25
Marqise Lee 22
Jordan Matthews 3
Kelvin Benjamin 2
Cody Latimer 2
Paul Richardson 2
Davante Adams 1
Shaquelle Evans 1

Judging by those rankings, one would think that there will be at least four wide receivers drafted in round one with Marqise Lee possibly being the fifth. That means there’s likely going to be some decent wide receivers drop to not only the second round, but round three as well.

As you likely noticed, Donte Moncrief, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson and Martavis Bryant unsurprisingly failed to receive any top-five votes and I believe there’s a decent chance that at least of three of those four players stay on the board until round three.

Being as it’s supposedly such a deep class this year, I have a feeling the Steelers will wait to draft a wide receiver until round two or three unless Mike Evans falls. For starters, a rookie wide receiver in Pittsburgh isn’t likely to see much playing time in his first season and on top of that, history really hasn’t been overly kind to the position when comes to finding an All-Pro in round one.

As you can see in the sortable table below, there’s been 38 wide receivers drafted in the first round over the course of the last 10 years and only four of those players have achieved All-Pro status. In reality, that number is only three as Cordarrelle Patterson was honored as a kick returner and not a wide receiver.

Sure, there are a lot of talented former first-rounders listed below, but I think most of you would agree that most of these players never lived up to their expectations as it relates to where they were selected.

Of the 26 wide receivers on this list that were drafted prior to 2010, four never reached the 100 reception mark, while 12 more are still under the 300 reception mark.

Interesting enough, during the Kevin Colbert era, the Steelers have drafted a wide receiver in the first round only two times. In 2006, Santonio Holmes was selected with the 25th overall pick, but was the first wide receiver off the board. In 2000, Plaxico Burress was the 8th overall selection and the second wide receiver off the board. It should also be noted that neither of those two players saw a second contract with the Steelers as Holmes was traded prior to entering his final year of his rookie contract and Burress was allowed to walk off via free agency when his rookie deal expired.

Another interesting note about both Holmes and Burress is the fact that in the nine combined seasons that they played in Pittsburgh, neither cracked the 80 reception barrier in a single regular season and combined, they had a lowly 53% completion ratio.

The Steelers have tried to insulate themselves this offseason when it comes to wide receiver position by signing Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey and while neither player fixes long term issues when it comes to depth at the position, it does help when it comes to the 2014 season. When you factor that into all of the above, it makes sense for the Steelers to stay away from drafting a wide receiver in the first round next week.

2004-2013 First Round Wide Receivers

Year Rnd Pick Tm Player AP1 PB G Rec Yds TD School HGT WGT
2004 1 3 ARI Larry Fitzgerald 1 8 156 846 11367 87 Pittsburgh 6027 225
2004 1 7 DET Roy Williams 0 1 115 393 5715 44 Texas 6024 211
2004 1 13 BUF Lee Evans 0 0 117 381 6008 43 Wisconsin 5107 197
2004 1 29 ATL Michael Jenkins 0 0 130 354 4427 25 Ohio St. 6044 217
2004 1 15 TAM Michael Clayton 0 0 95 223 2955 10 LSU 6026 209
2004 1 9 JAX Reggie Williams 0 0 79 189 2322 18 Washington 6036 225
2004 1 31 SFO Rashaun Woods 0 0 14 7 160 1 Oklahoma St. 6021 202
2005 1 27 ATL Roddy White 1 4 141 685 9436 55 Ala-Birmingham 6012 207
2005 1 3 CLE Braylon Edwards 0 1 112 359 5522 40 Michigan 6027 210
2005 1 22 BAL Mark Clayton 0 0 83 260 3448 14 Oklahoma 5103 193
2005 1 21 JAX Matt Jones 0 0 54 166 2153 15 Arkansas 6060 242
2005 1 10 DET Mike Williams 0 0 56 127 1526 5 USC 6045 229
2005 1 7 MIN Troy Williamson 0 0 49 87 1131 4 South Carolina 6013 203
2006 1 25 PIT Santonio Holmes 0 0 103 381 5963 36 Ohio St. 5105 188
2007 1 2 DET Calvin Johnson 3 4 106 572 9328 66 Georgia Tech 6050 239
2007 1 23 KAN Dwayne Bowe 0 1 103 472 6401 44 LSU 6022 221
2007 1 9 MIA Ted Ginn 0 0 104 197 2604 11 Ohio St. 5112 178
2007 1 27 NOR Robert Meachem 0 0 92 171 2800 27 Tennessee 6020 214
2007 1 32 IND Anthony Gonzalez 0 0 40 99 1307 7 Ohio St. 6000 193
2007 1 30 SDG Craig Davis 0 0 26 51 558 2 LSU 6011 200
2009 1 29 NYG Hakeem Nicks 0 0 70 311 4622 27 North Carolina 6006 212
2009 1 22 MIN Percy Harvin 0 1 55 281 3319 20 Florida 5111 192
2009 1 10 SFO Michael Crabtree 0 0 63 279 3629 22 Texas Tech 6013 215
2009 1 19 PHI Jeremy Maclin 0 0 59 258 3453 26 Missouri 6001 198
2009 1 7 OAK Darrius Heyward-Bey 0 0 72 169 2380 12 Maryland 6015 210
2009 1 30 TEN Kenny Britt 0 0 57 157 2450 19 Rutgers 6027 218
2010 1 24 DAL Dez Bryant 0 1 59 293 4104 40 Oklahoma St. 6020 224
2010 1 22 DEN Demaryius Thomas 0 2 53 240 3698 30 Georgia Tech 6032 224
2011 1 4 CIN A.J. Green 0 3 47 260 3833 29 Georgia 6035 211
2011 1 6 ATL Julio Jones 0 1 34 174 2737 20 Alabama 6026 220
2011 1 26 KAN Jonathan Baldwin 0 0 33 44 607 2 Pittsburgh 6043 228
2012 1 20 TEN Kendall Wright 0 0 31 158 1705 6 Baylor 5102 196
2012 1 13 ARI Michael Floyd 0 0 32 110 1603 7 Notre Dame 6025 220
2012 1 5 JAX Justin Blackmon 0 0 20 93 1280 6 Oklahoma St. 6007 207
2012 1 30 SFO A.J. Jenkins 0 0 19 8 130 0 Illinois 6002 190
2013 1 27 HOU DeAndre Hopkins 0 0 16 52 802 2 Clemson 6010 214
2013 1 29 MIN Cordarrelle Patterson 1 1 16 45 469 4 Tennessee 6017 216
2013 1 8 STL Tavon Austin 0 0 13 40 418 4 West Virginia 5084 174
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