With Santonio Holmes Gone, will the Steelers Go Wide Receiver in Round One?

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IApril 13, 2010

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 20: Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers smiles after catching a pass in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the game on December 20, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

On Sunday the Steelers traded troubled wide receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth round pick.

This move leads many people to believe that the Steelers could possibly go wide receiver in the first round in this year’s draft. I have heard scenarios from them trading up to get Dez Bryant to them trading down to grab Golden Tate.

Of the two, I would not be sad if the Steelers drafted Tate, however not in the first round. Even though I would prefer to get the best available corner, defensive lineman, or offensive lineman, Tate is the one receiver that I really like in the draft. He seems like a younger Hines Ward being tough with good hands and quickness.

However unless Tate falls all the way to the Steelers in the second round I am not in favor of them taking him.

Bryant to me is just a problem waiting to happen and the Steelers just got rid of their problem wide receiver so they won’t touch him.

Golden Tate aside I cannot see the Steelers drafting a wide receiver any earlier than the third round. There is good depth in this draft at wide receiver and the Steelers have many other pressing needs to address with their first two picks.

Without Holmes the Steelers wide receiver depth chart pretty much pans out like this...

Hines Ward

Mike Wallace

Antwaan Randel El

Unknown Rookie

Arnaz Battle

Tyler Grisham

Limas Sweed

The top three spots are virtually locks at this point unless there is an injury.

Hines is Hines and is still reliable even if his skills are starting to diminish a bit. He still has great hands, is a great blocker, and has always had a nose for the endzone or first down marker.

Mike Wallace showed his potential last season with almost 800 yards and six touchdowns. He has the speed to take the top off defenses and open up things for Hines underneath.

Randel El might not have the speed or be the receiver he was when he was with the Steelers the first time around however he is going to be a solid slot receiver with good hands and good quickness.

Whichever receiver the Steelers select in this year’s draft is going to be groomed to replace Hines Ward in a few years. He isn’t going to just be given this spot he is going to actually have to earn it for there are other capable sub receivers on the roster.

Arnaz Battle was signed pretty much just for special teams however if no other receiver steps up I can see him taking that fourth spot.

Tyler Grisham is a Wes Welker type of player that earned a spot on the roster late last season in important games. The Steelers organization seems to be really high on him and if the rookie doesn’t earn his spot I could see Grisham taking that fourth spot ahead of Battle.

Then we come to Limas Sweed. I was one of Sweed’s biggest supporters when the Steelers drafted him a few years ago however his failure to hold onto the ball has made this his last chance with the Steelers. The sad thing is that Sweed has shown the ability to get open however he can’t be on the team if he can’t catch the ball.

Overall I believe the wide receiver situation in Pittsburgh isn’t as good without Santonio Holmes in the mix, however it’s not like we have nothing without him. There is no need to all of a sudden draft a receiver with a high pick.

Mike Wallace is going to take control of that starting spot next to Hines Ward and the rest of the depth chart is going to fall into place.


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