Over the course of the last several years, Clemson University has produced some very talented wide receivers that figure to be a force in the NFL for several years to come. With that said, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney believes the wide receiver position isn’t coached particularly well above the college level.
“I think it’s the worst-coached position in the NFL. I think sometimes people just throw a guy out there and say ‘Go coach these guys,’ and it’s a very detailed, technical position,” Swinney told The Rich Eisen Show this past Thursday.
After Swinney made those remarks last week, one of his former players, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant, took issue with them and called his college coach “misguided” when it comes to NFL coaching.
“My coach in college (Jeff Scott) was a great receivers coach, but in the NFL, I learned how to become a better receiver — how to pay more attention to the details,” Bryant told NFL Media. “They have more wisdom, because they’ve been in the game a long time, and they’re playing grown-man football.”
Bryant went on to praise Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann, who has been around the league a long time coaching that very position.
“My coach, Richard Mann, is doing a great job with me working on my technique,” said Bryant. “Being a student of the deep balls and just studying film and just correcting my mistakes and what I do in practice.”
Bryant, however, did admit that become a better route runner at the NFL level was the hardest thing for him.
“Everybody definitely knows it if you mess up and you’re not in the right place, where you’re supposed to be, said Bryant, who has 48 receptions for 989 yards and 13 touchdowns in 15 career regular-season games. “You’re always on an island, so when the ball’s in the air, everybody in the stadium is looking at you.”
While Bryant certainly looked like a promising player when he left Clemson a year early, he was clearly rough around the edges and it was obvious that while he had length and speed, his route running needed a lot of work. The Steelers chose not dress Bryant for the first half of his rookie season and it certainly paid off as he contributed immediately and hasn’t looked back since when it comes to his play on the field. A lot of credit needs to go to Mann for developing Bryant and it’s good to see him get it from his player, who is far from a finished product, but a much better player than he was when he came out of Clemson.