The short answer to this question is Antonio Brown. There's little doubt who this team's top pass-catcher is. Brown is among the elite at the position in the NFL and is the player who really makes this offense hum.
Nevertheless, there will be plenty of opportunities for the player or players who line up opposite him. In 2013, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery caught 113 balls for 1,342 yards and 16 touchdowns in those No. 2 and No. 3 roles. The reality is they interchanged week to week as to which player quarterback Ben Roethlisberger targeted more.
Obviously, 2014 could see more of the same. But it would be better if one of the wide receivers on the roster could emerge and give this offense much greater consistency.
- Markus Wheaton
- Lance Moore
- Martavis Bryant
The starting spot opposite Brown is really up for grabs between three players. Wheaton is a second-year player who could never get any traction in 2013. However, his profile of speed and quickness falls right in line with what the Steelers like to do.
The same can be said for the veteran Moore. How quickly he gets up to speed will dictate just how good his shot is to get onto the field in a prominent role. Moore has the best resume of the three candidates but has never lived up to it on the field.
Finally, we have the rookie Bryant. Pittsburgh drafted him in part because of his size. Bryant casts a long shadow at 6'4" and would give Roethlisberger a combination of speed and size he hasn't had since Plaxico Burress was in his prime.
Who wins? My money is on Moore. He is very much the wily veteran Cotchery was last year who just keep eking out the younger player with more athleticism. If he does, Wheaton and Bryant will have an excellent battle between them to see how gets the remaining reps.