It goes without saying that the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely take a tall wide receiver with one of their first two picks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
While they have reported interest in Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, there is a better than average chance that both will be off the board when the Steelers select at No. 15, they do have other options as this is projected to be a very deep draft.
While they have no chance at Watkins, they could have a pretty good shot at nabbing his college teammate Martavis Bryant.
ESPN draft analysts Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl wrote that Bryant was among the wide receivers who helped themselves at the NFL combine, and indeed he posted impressive “measurables” across the board.
Bryant checked in at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, and he ran an official 40-yard dash time of 4.42 seconds, tied for fifth and a tick better than the more-celebrated Watkins.
Here is what Muench and Weidl wrote as part of a report:
Bryant dealt with a few focus drops throughout the season, and being more of straight-line receiver, he wasn’t an ideal fit within the Clemson offense. However, he has an intriguing skill set that translates well and could bring strong return in the fringe Day 2 range for teams like the Ravens, Steelers, Lions and Panthers who are looking for a vertical threat to team up with a strong-armed quarterback.
While I do have Evans going to the Steelers in my latest mock draft, there is a good chance Pittsburgh will target a position on the defensive side of the ball and look to comeback with a receiver in the second round, a place where Bryant should be available to them.
Bryant has a ton of upside, and he set a Clemson record by averaging 22.2 yards per reception during his career. He only played sparingly his first two seasons at Clemson and didn’t start until last season when he caught 42 passes for 828 yards and seven touchdowns. Bryant spent most of his career being overshadowed by DeAndre Hopkins and Watkins, but could still be a good NFL playmaker.
He does have great speed off the ball and good hands, but I get a little nervous when teams start having interest in guys that perform well at the Combine.
His game film should be his best indicator and while Bryant looks like a good receiver, he could still be considered a reach in the second round.
Either way, he is now an option for the Steelers should they elect to eschew a wide receiver in the first round.