A lot of people will say I am crazy for even suggesting this. I understand that.
The reality is, come March 2013, the Pittsburgh Steelers could be facing an exodus at the receiver position like no team has ever encountered.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL in 2011: Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Jericho Cotchery, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
Ward retired after being released, Cotchery is likely not to return and Wallace will play through his restricted free-agency tender, IF no team signs him between now and April 20th. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will also be restricted free agents at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
Mike Wallace, who will likely be leaving the Steelers via free agency in 2013, will be removing one of the greatest deep threats in the NFL. Yes, the Steelers would be able to keep Wallace by applying the franchise tag on him, but Pittsburgh is not the type of team to tie $10 million of the salary cap up on one player, unless his name is Ben Roethlisberger.
Odds are both Brown and Sanders will both be back in 2013, as the NFL has shown us that teams simply don't want to give up a first-round pick, even for a player that can take the top off of any defense.
The only problem with that is it would leave the Steelers with only two receivers on the roster with any experience, and we know the Steelers aren't going to bring in any free agents.
The reality is, at this point next year, the Steelers could be without a single receiver on the roster.
Knowing that, there is a real possibility that they will take a receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Now, I know you all are saying that the Steelers don't need a receiver. However, that does not mean they won't take one. They drafted Rashard Mendenhall while Willie Parker was still fast. They drafted Ben Roethlisberger while Tommy Maddox could still throw.
And, if you look at the roster past this year, taking a player with the physical attributes of Stephen Hill could pay huge dividends for years to come.
For starters, you have to look at his size. At 6'5" he would become the big target that Ben Roethlisberger has been begging for since Plaxico Burress left to join the Giants. Hill also fits into the mold of players that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley covets.
Now, look at his speed. Hill ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds. That is .03 seconds slower than Mike Wallace, .12 seconds faster than Antonio Brown and .06 faster than Emmanuel Sanders.
Some people call Wallace a "one trick pony," saying he only has speed. What would people say about Wallace if he were six inches taller?
Next, people say that Hill did not have enough receptions in college because he played for a run-first team. I see that as a positive more than anything else. Two reasons.
1) It means he didn't take nearly as many hits as other receivers did.
2) Coming from a run first team, he must be able to block.
The Steelers lost the best blocking receiver in the game with Hines Ward. To draft a guy that already excels at it? Sounds good to me.
The only other knock on Hill is that he is going to take a couple years to develop into a true starting receiver. Understandably so, but if the Steelers are able to keep two of the three "Young Money Crew" along with Hill, the sky would be the limit for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense for years to come.
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