DAY 3 BUZZ
The Pittsburgh Steelers finally took a receiver and cornerback, selecting Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant (6-4, 211) in the fourth round and cornerback Shaquille Richardson (6-0, 194) with the 157th overall selection in the fifth round. What the Steelers like about Richardson is the size and athletic ability.
Bryant and Richardson highlighted the Steelers Day 3 selections.
The Steelers added Vanderbilt OT Wesley Johnson (6-5, 297) with their second pick in Round 5 at 173rd overall. Johnson provides potential versatility as he has the ability to play tackle, guard and center. The Steelers always value versatility from backup linemen.
The Steelers also had two sixth round picks, selecting hard hitting UCLA outside linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (6-4, 235) at 192nd overall, along with massive nose tackle Daniel McCullers (6-7, 352) at 215th overall.
Zumwalt plays with a nastiness to his game and linebackers coach Keith Butler called Zumwalt a natural to fit into the Steelers system and feels Zumwalt could provide competition and see a role on special teams.
“He’s a long, tall kid, but I would see him as an inside guy too at this point,” Butler said. “He’s a kid that can provide some backup for us, and he should be able to play some special teams for us. Great competition at the inside linebacker position, we are going to have some.”
McCullers despite being a massive player at 6-7, 352, is regarded as carrying his 350-pound frame very well, flashing the ability to engulf blockers. “He’s a big guy,” d-line coach John Mitchell said. “The thing I like about him is that he is going to give us some flexibility. He’s a guy that can play outside or inside. I think I’m going to start him inside because the bigger you get those guys inside you make it tough to run inside. It’s going to help us quite a bit.”
The Steelers wrapped up their draft class with the selection of Massachusetts tight end Rob Blanchflower (6-4, 256) in the seventh round.
The Steelers feel Blanchflower is a two-phase tight end who can block and catch. “He has a high level of aggression,” tight ends coach James Daniel said. “He’s a two-phase guy, which is different than a lot of the guys you have coming at you right now. We look for guys that are either going to be run blockers or they’re going to be pass receivers. He’s adept at both of them so that is something that interests us in him. He’s playing in a multiple formation offense so that gave us a chance to look at him in a lot of things.”
The biggest upside of today’s selections is with wide receiver Martavis Bryant. He’s 6-4 and he can run, noted for having a Randy Moss type build. Bryant is regarded as having excellent ability to separate from defenders and has been clocked in the 4.4 range.
“Excellent speed for a big guy,” wide receivers coach Richard Mann said of Bryant. “I’ve been kind of campaigning for a big receiver this whole process.”
Bryant hauled in 42 passes for 828 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2013 at Clemson. In his career at Clemson, Bryant caught 61 passes for 1,354 yards (22.2 YPC) and 13 touchdowns.
Mann talked up Bryant’s ability as a red-zone threat. “He can catch over the top and a lot of times guys can’t do that,” Mann said.
“He is a big receiver that we were kind of hunting. We needed a guy different from what we have,” Mann said. “We think he has great length. He will be a great weapon in the red zone for us. One of the things he does very well is track the football. We feel like we got a guy to put opposite of Antonio Brown. I’m delighted to get him, and I’m surprised he lasted that long. He’s what I have been hunting.”
From a natural ability standpoint, Bryant was looked at as one of the most talented receivers in this draft.
NFL Analyst Mike Mayock who is one of the best in the business called Bryant a “first round talent” today.
However, there’s obvious red flags when you’re a receiver with so called “first round talent” that has great size and speed but end up being the 18th receiver selected in the draft.
Among the red flags is suspect hands and immaturity on a lot of levels. One college evaluator who scouts the SEC and ACC said this about Bryant.
“Huge upside as a vertical threat…….Did some idiotic stuff in college. Really needs coached up, have some guidance on what it takes to be a pro…. Chance to be a good one.”
A comparison for Bryant coming from those in the business is Chris Henry.
The Steelers depth at wide receiver right now looks like this:
1. Antonio Brown
2. Markus Wheaton
3. Lance Moore
4. Darrius Heyward-Bey
5. Martavis Bryant/Derek Moye
Brown, Wheaton, Moore and Bryant will all make the team while Heyward-Bey is a wildcard and pretty much on a tryout going into camp.