The Pittsburgh Steelers have recently concluded their offseason schedule, complete with nine OTA practices and the three-day minicamp, and are currently off for about five weeks before they re-emerge in Latrobe for the start of training camp.
Not much is expected to happen between now and then as far as new goes regarding the team. Ideally, the players will simply be focused on getting in the best possible shape heading for the long haul that begins with training camp and concludes, hopefully, with a deep postseason run.
That means that the roster heading into camp should just about be set, so now during the dead time it’s worth taking a dip back into the positional depth charts to see where we stand following the offseason reports, continuing with the wide receivers.
Antonio Brown: What can the All-Pro Brown possibly do for an encore after yet another spectacular season as he continues to re-write the franchise’s record books? I have a hard time believing that he will match his statistics from last year, if only because I believe the ball will be spread around more equitably, but he is clearly one of the premiere receivers in the league and the go-to guy.
Martavis Bryant: I have yet to read a report about the second-year Bryant this offseason that wasn’t glowing. The 6’4” speedster has spent time adding muscle and improving his hand speed and route running, and seems primed to follow up on a very good rookie year with a breakout campaign.
Markus Wheaton: Wheaton was vaulted into the starting lineup in his second season, but he appears headed for the slot in year three in a three-receiver set that seems is the best configuration to maximize this offense’s talent.
Sammie Coates: The rookie Coates has impressed some people and allayed some fears about his hands, but he does have work to do. He spent some time down injured this spring, and he can’t afford to spend much time on the sidelines in practice if he wants to get into the games.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: Heyward-Bey has established himself as a veteran presence among the wide receivers, with some of the young players speaking about him helping them out. He is the dirt work type of player that good teams know to keep around.
C.J. Goodwin: Goodwin is the player I’m most intrigued by this offseason that is under 6’9”. He apparently impresses his teammates and coaches, but nobody has really seen him yet in over a year with the team.
Eli Rogers: The slight Rogers has also been getting positive reports, but we’re getting into the longshot range of this list. The rookie has some return potential to add to his usefulness, but it is unknown to me if he has been given that opportunity.
Shakim Phillips: Yet another undrafted rookie signing, Phillips has solid height and speed as he looks to distinguish himself from the crowd.
Dri Archer: For completeness, slash players at the skill positions are being listed at both. Archer is entering his second year, and in truth, he spent more time lined up in the slot or out wide than in the backfield.
Devin Gardner: A college quarterback turned wide receiver then back to quarterback, Gardner is being looked at for both positions, though he has not impressed as a quarterback. He may have some potential as a wide receiver as a long-term project, though I question his long speed.
Tyler Murphy: Unlike Gardner, Murphy is a college quarterback who has not had any college experience at wide receiver attempting to make the transition. Interestingly, Phillips was one of his targets last season.