Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant is a lock to make the 53 man roster after being selected in the fourth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Clemson, but as of right now, he still has a lot of developing left to do before he’ll be allowed to get any reps with the quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the first-team offense.
“He’s got to kind of earn his way onto the first group,” Roethlisberger said Monday, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s just the way it is. We have guys right now who are ahead of him on the depth chart that are playing at a high level. He’s going to have to really bust his butt to earn that spot with the first group. If he can prove that he earns it and deserves to be there, then we’ll give him all the reps he wants.”
Roethlisberger also suggested Monday that Bryant should watch how fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown practices. Even Brown is quoted by Fittipaldo as saying that the 6-foot-4, 211-pound rookie needs to learn to overcome his rawness by practicing better.
“He has to settle down in games and fine-tune his game and take practice to the game,” Brown told the media.
Bryant has played a total of 68 snaps so far in the Steelers first two preseason games and has caught three of the eight passes thrown his direction for 37 yards. He has, however, drawn three penalties during his limited playing time. In his preseason debut against the New York Giants, Bryant also lost a fumble on a potential game-winning drive on the Steelers final offensive possession and that certainly didn’t sit well with the coaching staff.
Currently, Bryant figures to be fifth on the Steelers wide receiver depth chart behind second-year wide receiver Justin Brown. If he winds up avoiding the inactive list to start the regular season, his snaps are likely to be few and far between with most of them likely coming inside the red zone.
Practice makes perfect and Bryant would be smart to heed the advice of his teammates moving forward into the regular season.