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The Steelers could be without their most consistent offensive weapon for much of the 2013 season.
Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert told the media at the combine that he does not expect Miller to be completely healthy at all next season (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
“In my mind, when you have an ACL late in the year, I still don’t believe a player is 100 percent until a year is up,” Colbert said. “They may play before that, but…if you get something 100 percent before a year, it’s a bonus. We’ll know more when we get to April. He’ll be back at some point, but if we look at a tight end, it will depend on the tight end more than Heath Miller’s status.”
Colbert’s final statement says a lot considering there are two excellent tight end prospects who could help the Steelers on offense.
Tyler Eifert has had a terrific combine and is a legitimate first-round prospect.
Eifert is 6’5”, 250-pound tight end who ran the 40 in 4.68 seconds. He also had an impressive 35.5 inch vertical.
While he would need to develop as a blocker, Eifert is an excellent receiver who would add a massive red zone presence for the Steelers and a legitimate second option at tight end.
The problem is the Steelers would need to invest a first-round pick on Eifert and they may not want to do that. That would leave Zach Ertz as a potential second-round selection.
Ertz is 6’5”, 249 pounds and played in a pro-style offense in college.
Though he is not as fast or explosive as Eifert, Ertz still ran the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds and had a 30.5 inch vertical.
Ertz is a polished route runner and goes out and gets the ball with his hands, making him a dangerous option in tight quarters. He is also a physical player who can block.
Either player would add a lot to the Steelers' offense whether Miller is ready to go or not.