Steelers Draft Needs: Wide Receiver and Tight End, Two Positions with the Opposite Problem

It’s a Tale of Two Cities for the Steelers tight end and wide receiver needs entering the 2013 NFL Draft. Both positions are areas of need, but for very different reasons.

  • Speaking strictly in the short term, the Steelers do not need wide receivers. 

They’ll start 2013, assuming no injuries, with Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, and Plaxico Burress with David Gilbreath as a worthy contender for the 5th receiver spot.

  • An NFL team could do worse with this front foursome at wide out.

Of course appearances can be deceiving and in this case they do. Burress and Cotchery are well into their 30’s, and recent restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders is in the final year of his contract.

On top of that, none of the players on the Steelers roster at wide out is known for his speed, an obvious deficiency.  The Steelers must think to the future, and begin to reload their wide receiving corps, and they’d be wise to begin doing it early in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Troubles at Tight End

At tight end the Steelers have the opposite problem. Assuming Heath Miller makes a full recovery from his ACL tear, at age 31 he’s got a number of years of quality football left in him.

Behind him the Steelers have David Paulson, a 7th round draft pick who “overachieved” and looked quite good in 2012. Matt Spaeth is back and so is David Johnson, both of whom should be growing into their best football years.

Now, neither man is every going to be the second coming of Mark Bruener let alone David Casper, but getting just a little extra value out of the number 40 through number 45 men on your game day roster can take you a long way in the NFL

  • The problem is that Heath Miller will likely not be available until late in the season.

That means that the Steelers need to find some way to make up for his 71 catches either through the tight ends, wide receivers, or through an improved running game or a combination of all three.

  • Paulson, Johnson, and Spaeth are not going to combined for 71 catches next year…

…but the other two scenarios are plausible, but depend on a lot of “ifs.”

The Steelers can’t base their offense, not to mention Ben Roethlisberger’s health, on a series of “ifs.”

They need to upgrade at tight end, and they need to bring in someone who can help them relatively quickly or else suddenly get really strong at running back or much more dynamic at wide receiver.

  • And therein lies the danger. 

Many mock drafts have the Steelers picking Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert at 17th in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Yet many other draft nicks say that Eifert isn’t good enough to go that high. Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Steel Curtain Rising is not fit to say whether Eifert is a worthy pick at 17, a reach, or someone so terribly overrated he’ll be a bust in the NFL.

  • But one thing is clear.

The Steelers have a need to fill at tight end, but they must resist all temptations to reach to fill it. The last time the franchise attempted to do that, Troy Edwards happened.

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