The Pittsburgh Steelers have some of the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL. Let’s break down their top five at the position and evaluate why they deserve more credit.
You have to start with Antonio Brown — he is by far the Steelers best receiver. He’s one of the most quickest receivers in the NFL right now off the line of scrimmage. Brown uses his straight-line speed to beat a lot of cornerbacks down the field on go routes, but is still able to excel on a five yard slant pass. Also, his great hands usually allow him to catch every ball that is thrown to him by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Brown is now the Steelers No. 1 receiving threat after losing Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins in free agency. The Steelers must learn to rely on him in big situations.
The next receiver is Plaxico Burress. Although Burress is getting old, he can still be a threat to any defense in the NFL due to his abilities in the red zone. I’ve been watching Plaxico ever since he started out as a Steeler — he really hasn’t changed much. I really hope Burress can provide a lot of catches and touchdowns this year for the Steelers. Look for him to be a big threat to defenses as well.
Emmanuel Sanders is another receiver who is severely underrated in the NFL. He also is quick off the ball and another deep threat for the Steelers down the field. He does need to improve his ball security at times, however. Especially since he is entering a contract year. If he can control this issue, the Steelers should re-sign him over the offseason. I think Sanders will be better than he was last year for the Steelers and put up bigger numbers.
Jerricho Cotchery is another veteran wide receiver that demands a spot on the roster. He still has the ability to run well enough to get open and rely on his solid hands, but he’s not as fast as he used to be. He will probably be used as a fifth receiver for the Steelers this year. He had a off year in 2012 because he was hurt most of the year — which is a shame due to a solid 2011 campaign just one year before.
The last receiver is rookie Markus Wheaton. He was drafted in the third round out of Syracuse and is just the type of receiver that the Steelers were looking for in the draft. He has great size and great hands as well. In my mind, he was one of the best receivers available in the draft. The Steelers did the right thing by grabbing Wheaton. This maybe could become Ben’s new toy in the years to come. These receivers should do better than they did last year as they serve a second season under Todd Haley’s new offense.