The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the best young group of receivers in the league going into last season with Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
Now Wallace is gone, and Sanders could be gone if he signs an offer sheet from another team this offseason.
If a team does lure Sanders away, that would leave the Steelers with Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress, David Gilreath, Kashif Moore, Derek Moye and Bert Reed as the only receivers on the roster.
Even if Sanders does indeed stay with the Steelers in 2013, the team is going to take a receiver at some point in the draft and here are players they can target in Rounds 2 and 3.
Heights and weights from espn.com.
6’1’’, 214 pounds
Steelers’ fans every year want the team to go after a taller receiver and more times than not, they end up with a smaller, quicker guy.
This could be the year they buck that trend with all of the talented receivers out there in the draft and DeAndre Hopkins would be a great pickup in Round 2.
Hopkins needs to develop a bit in his route running and has some concentration lapses at times; however, he has the potential to become a playmaker for the Steelers down the road.
6’2’’, 217 pounds
Da’Rick Rogers could become one of the biggest steals in the draft with the amount of talent that the guy brings to the table.
The problem is that the reason he could be a steal is that even though he has first-round talent, he will drop because of off-field issues.
Those issues could prevent the Steelers from looking at Rogers, but if they could get him in the second round and get him to grow up, they would be getting a potentially great player.
5’10’’, 193 pounds
Stedman Bailey is one of my favorite players in this draft and I think he would be a huge steal if the Steelers got him in the third round of the draft.
Bailey is a guy who isn’t the biggest or the fastest receiver in this draft; however, he does everything else well.
With all the drops the Steelers had last season, Bailey would be a welcome fit for the team as a blocker with great hands and route-running ability.
6’2’’, 210 pounds
Aaron Dobson has been a sleeper guy for me since the offseason started and I believe he’ll go anywhere from the late second to early third round at this point.
I think Dobson has more speed than most think and that he could become a good downfield threat for the Steelers.
I’m not going to say he has the speed of Mike Wallace, but he could definitely replace Wallace as the deep guy in the offense.
6’0’’, 204 pounds
Quinton Patton is a guy I can see becoming a very good number two receiver in the NFL. He would be the number three guy for the Steelers in 2013 if Emmanuel Sanders leaves.
He is another guy that isn’t great in any one area but is solid in all of them and I believe he’ll go somewhere in the second round.
Patton would be a great fit in Todd Haley’s offense with his ability to set up in zones and his after-the-catch abilities.
6’2’’, 208 pounds
Terrance Williams was once considered a first-round talent early on in the process and now I think he’ll go more towards the third round.
Of any of the receivers—although I mentioned Aaron Dobson in this same light—Terrance Williams reminds me of a Mike Wallace-type of player.
Williams would be a speedy vertical threat. However, he doesn’t have the greatest hands and doesn’t give consistent effort on every single play.
6’0’’, 201 pounds
Robert Woods is another guy who was once considered a first-round pick and now will most likely go somewhere in the second round.
The only real knock against Woods is some injury concerns and the fact that he took a bit of a backseat to his former teammate at USC, Marqise Lee.
Woods has a lot of talent and is one of the more all-around receivers that I’ve seen in the draft.
6’1’’, 212 pounds
Now we get to a few guys at the end here that I see being firmly in the third round and most likely later than that.
If the Steelers lose Emmanuel Sanders they could decide to select two receivers in the draft.
Cobi Hamilton is one of a lot of Arkansas players who have gotten lost in the shuffle after an underwhelming season. Hamilton would be more of a number three guy with the potential to become a number two, and he would have to work on his concentration while catching.
6’0’’, 229 pounds
Chris Harper is an athlete I am really high on and he will probably still be there for the Steelers in the fourth or fifth round.
Harper has good hands and is a stout receiver who reminds me of a younger, now-49ers Anquan Boldin.
Although most fans would like the team to go for a taller receiver in the draft, they may go for someone like Harper, who can be a possession-type player in Todd Haley’s offense.
6’4’’, 225 pounds
Rodney Smith is another player I’m engaged with and I think he would be worth a shot for the Steelers somewhere around the fifth or sixth round.
Smith would give the Steelers a taller guy to develop and as long as the Steelers keep Emmanuel Sanders, he should be given the chance to learn for a season.
Although I’m a big fan of the Steelers actually letting their young guys see the field at times, it just isn’t likely for a sixth-round pick to make a huge contribution in his first season.