High ranking officials and agents around the league down play the importance of pre-draft visits but the Steelers have created a buzz this afternoon as the team announced that wide receivers Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State and Golden Tate of Notre Dame are in for visits today.
With the Steelers looking for a long-term replacement for Hines Ward and the team mulling Santonio Holmes future with the team, going wide receiver early in the draft has not been ruled out.
The Steelers interest in Bryant, (6-2, 225 lbs) who is regarded as the top wide receiver on the board is unknown. Bryant has tremendous physical skills, excellent size with long arms and is an outstanding athlete.
Bryant was ineligible for much of the 2009 season after being linked to Deion Sanders who claimed to be giving Bryant advice. Character issues off the field have also concerned scouts about Bryant.
Meanwhile, the Steelers have significant interest in Golden Tate (5-11, 199lbs). The Steelers met with Tate at the combine and have targeted Tate as a potential long-term replacement for the veteran Hines Ward.
Tate’s stock has been on the rise after running a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine.
The Steelers are also bringing in Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn for a visit later this week. Benn is regarded as a late 1st round – 2nd round prospect.
The Steelers brought in a total of five prospects today. Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount, and linebacker prospects Adrian Tracy of William & Mary and Koa Misi of Utah were the other three prospects to visit the team today.
Blount is the first running back to visit the Steelers.
The Steelers have now conducted 19 official visits and are permitted to conduct 30 official visits.
The 19 pre-draft visits include, Purdue defensive lineman Michael Neal, Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman, Marshall linebacker Albert McClellan, South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood, William & Mary linebacker Adrian Tracy, Utah’s Koa Misi,
Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee, Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson, Maryland cornerback Nolan Carroll, Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate, Alabama-Birmingham wide receiver Joe Webb, Tennessee offensive guard Jacques McClendon, Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold, and Wake Forest offensive guard Chris DeGeare.