2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers take Clemson WR Bryant in 4th round

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2014-05-10 15:37

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can finally look one of his receivers in the eye.

Well, almost.

The Steelers took 6-foot-4 Martavis Bryant of Clemson in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday, giving the 6-5 Roethlisberger the big red zone target the team has long coveted.

''We needed a guy different from what we have,'' wide receivers coach Richard Mann said.

Bryant caught 42 passes for 828 yards and seven touchdowns for the Tigers last fall while playing alongside star Sammy Watkins. While he creates matchup problems near the end zone, Bryant isn't exactly a red zone specialist. He averaged nearly 20 yards per catch last season. Given Roethlisberger's penchant for extending plays and testing the limits of his arm, Bryant doesn't see why he can't come in and make an immediate impact.

''I know that Big Ben knows how to get the ball down the field and they've had some great wide receivers over the years,'' Bryant said. ''He loves throwing the ball deep and I just want to come and help.''

The Steelers need help at receiver after Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery - the closest thing they had to a red zone target - left via free agency. Pittsburgh signed former New Orleans slot receiver Lance Moore and former Oakland first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey to offset the losses but neither are considered long-term solutions.

Mann believes Bryant could be a starter in the NFL, perhaps sooner rather than later. The team hasn't had a true ''big'' receiver since Plaxico Burress left for the New York Giants in 2005. Antonio Brown made the Pro Bowl last season and set a team record for yards receiving in a season with 1,499 but at 5-10 isn't the type to go up and get it. That won't be a problem for Bryant.

''With the reach that he has, the arms, and the wingspan, I feel like we can get some cheap touchdowns down there,'' Mann said. ''He's not afraid.''

Pittsburgh grabbed Bryant one round after taking undersized running back/wide receiver/kick returner Dri Archer. Mann sees the 5-8 Archer spending time at wide out in certain packages.

''I can visualize us `jerry-rigging' stuff for him, the things he can do well and not just put him in every down,'' Mann said.

The Steelers entered the draft with a glaring need at wide receiver and defensive back but waited until the final day to bolster either position. Pittsburgh selected former Arizona defensive back Shaquille Richardson with their first pick in the fifth round then took Vanderbilt offensive lineman Wesley Johnson with a compensatory selection.

Richardson collected 10 interceptions during his collegiate career, one that began at UCLA. He was actually recruited by current Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake, who was a coach with the Bruins at the time. Richardson never played a down for UCLA, getting kicked off the team after being charged with stealing a purse before school started. The charges were dropped and he ended up in Arizona, where he used his 6-foot frame to challenge opposing receivers.

''He has some height, he has some size to him and he has some coverage ability,'' Lake said.

Like Richardson, Johnson is expected to provide depth. He started more than 50 games in Southeastern Conference play for the Commodores, with the starts spread out between all three line positions. The Steelers coveted Johnson's versatility. Pittsburgh's offensive line has spent most of the last few seasons dealing with injuries that have forced them to get creative with their combinations.

That's fine by Johnson, who says he's most comfortable at tackle but is only too happy to go in whatever direction helps the team.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

A.J. GreenSep 21 11:52a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) is active against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 21.

Anthony SpencerSep 21 11:52a

The Dallas Cowboys have declared DL Anthony Spencer, DL Davon Coleman, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, LB Justin Durant, LB Rolando McClain, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 3.

Bryce BrownSep 21 11:52a

The Buffalo Bills have declared RB Bryce Brown, TE Chris Gragg, OG Cyril Richardson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, LB Keith Rivers, LB Randell Johnson, CB Ross Cockrell inactive for Week 3.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins is active for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21. WR Aaron Dobson is a healthy scratch for the game.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

The New England Patriots have declared WR Aaron Dobson, CB Don Jones, RB James White, OL Josh Kline, DL Michael Buchanan, C Ryan Wendell, DE Zach Moore inactive for Week 3.

Akeem JordanSep 21 11:42a

The Washington Redskins have declared LB Akeem Jordan, TE Jordan Reed, DL Kedric Golston, OT Morgan Moses, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Santana Moss, CB Tracy Porter inactive for Week 3.

Brandon WattsSep 21 11:42a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared LB Brandon Watts, WR Charles X. Johnson, QB Christian Ponder, OG David Yankey, WR Rodney Smith, DL Scott Crichton, CB Shaun Prater inactive for Week 3.

Arthur JonesSep 21 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared DL Arthur Jones, LB Chris Carter, WR Da'Rick Rogers, LB Jerrell Freeman, OL Joe Reitz, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis inactive for Week 3.

Brandon ThompsonSep 21 11:42a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared DL Brandon Thompson, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, OG Kevin Zeitler, WR Marvin Jones, RB Rex Burkhead, LB Sean Porter, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 3.

Ben TateSep 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared RB Ben Tate, DL Eric Martin, TE Gerell Robinson, DL Ish Kitchen, WR LaRon Byrd, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson inactive for Week 3.

David HawthorneSep 21 11:42a

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB David Hawthorne, FB Erik Lorig, DL John Jenkins, SS Marcus Ball, RB Mark Ingram, WR Nick Toon, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 3.

Justin ForsettSep 21 11:39a

Forsett will start the Week 3 game for the Ravens. Bernard Pierce is out.

Bernard PierceSep 21 11:39a

Baltimore Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) is inactive Sunday, Sept. 21, for the Week 3 game. RB Justin Forsett will start.

Akeem AyersSep 21 11:32a

The Tennessee Titans have declared LB Akeem Ayers, OL Byron Stingily, DT DaQuan Jones, WR Kris Durham, DL Mike Martin, WR T.J. Graham, QB Zach Mettenberger inactive for Week 3.

Charles BrownSep 21 11:32a

The New York Giants have declared OT Charles Brown, DL Devon Kennard, OT James Brewer, DL Jay Bromley, LB Jon Beason, DT Kerry Wynn, WR Odell Beckham Jr. inactive for Week 3.

Arian FosterSep 21 11:32a

The Houston Texans have declared RB Arian Foster, WR DeVier Posey, LB Jadeveon Clowney, OT Jeff Adams, DL Louis Nix, SS Shiloh Keo, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 3.

Jordan CameronSep 21 11:32a

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) is active for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21.

Arian FosterSep 21 11:32a

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (hamstring) is inactive for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21. RB Alfred Blue is expected to start.

Arthur BrownSep 21 11:32a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, RB Bernard Pierce, OT Jah Reid, OG John Urschel, WR Michael Campanaro, FS Terrence Brooks, DL Timmy Jernigan inactive for Week 3.

Earl WolffSep 21 11:32a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared SS Earl Wolff, WR Josh Huff, OT Kevin Graf, OG Matt Tobin, QB Matt Barkley, LB Mychal Kendricks, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 3.

Dontrelle InmanSep 21 11:32a

The San Diego Chargers have declared CB Chris Davis, WR Dontrelle Inman, DL Ricardo Mathews, RB Ryan Mathews, DT Ryan Carrethers, CB Steve Williams inactive for Week 3.

Zach ErtzSep 21 11:22a

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz has seven receptions on the season, and six of them have gone for 20 or more yards. He's second in the league in that category.

Shaun HillSep 21 11:22a

St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis is likely to start Sunday, Sept. 21, against the Dallas Cowboys. QB Shaun Hill (thigh) is likely out.

DeSean JacksonSep 21 11:22a

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) will play Sunday, Sept. 21, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Alshon JefferySep 21 11:12a

Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (ankle) is expected to play Monday, Sept. 22.

Brandon MarshallSep 21 11:12a

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) is expected to play Monday, Sept. 22.

Shane VereenSep 21 11:02a

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) is likely to play Sunday, Sept. 21.

Justin ForsettSep 21 10:32a

Updating an earlier report, Baltimore Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) has a 5 percent chance to play Sunday, Sept. 21, according to a team source. RB Justin Forsett is likely to start.

Jordan CameronSep 21 10:22a

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) is expected to play Sunday, Sept. 21.

Vernon DavisSep 21 10:22a

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle) is doubtful to play Sunday, Sept. 21, and was on crutches until Thursday, Sept. 18. TE Derek Carrier would start in his place.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 10:15a

Updating an earlier report, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) is not expecting to play Sunday, Sept. 21, but he will test his ankle on in pre-game warm-ups. [ More ]

Bernard PierceSep 21 10:15a

Baltimore Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) is in serious doubt to play Sunday, Sept. 21, in Week 3. He'll be a game-time decision. RB Justin Forsett would start.

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