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

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) felt some progress in his sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Fitzgerald was pretty upset [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 26 01:23p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Geno SmithNov 26 12:23p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will return to the starting quarterback role in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, after QB Michael Vick saw only three starts. The [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 26 10:43a

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright has 23 catches on 26 targets this season. 'Every time we throw to him it's a touchdown - we'll try to find him [ More ]

R. Griffin IIINov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Colt McCoyNov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 11:43p

The Washington Redskins are planning on benching QB Robert Griffin III for the Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts in favor of QB Colt McCoy. However, Griffin still [ More ]

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 04:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was named the starter for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 24, by head coach Jay Gruden, but he left open [ More ]

Michael BushNov 25 04:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Brandon McManusNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos waived PK Brandon McManus Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Connor BarthNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 25 03:13p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) said he'll be ready to play Thursday, Nov. 27, after missing Week 12 with an ankle injury.

Latavius MurrayNov 25 02:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will undergo baseline testing for his concussion Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to a league source. He is feeling good, but he must go [ More ]

Brian HoyerNov 25 01:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according [ More ]

Blake BortlesNov 25 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group