Overview: The Steelers could have one of the top wide receiver troikas in the NFL next season. Antonio Brown is arguably the best wideout in the game -- and will continue to be if the fifth-year veteran comes close to matching his production last season when Brown led the NFL in catches (129) and receiving yards (1,698). Martavis Bryant caught eight touchdown passes as a rookie and his skill set and work ethic bode well for the 6-foot-4, 211-pounder only getting better. Third-year man Markus Wheaton is also on the rise after he caught 53 passes for 644 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. The Steelers, however, are top heavy at wide receiver.
Draft priority: Medium to high. Darrius Heyward-Bey would be the Steelers’ No. 4 wide receiver if the season started tomorrow and he managed just three catches in 2014. The Steelers should be able to add depth at wide receiver since it is another bountiful draft at the position. An added bonus for the Steelers: the wide receiver they draft will join a group with a strong collective work ethic that should only push that player.
Last player drafted at position: Bryant. The Steelers got lucky when they drafted running back Dri Archer at the end of the third round instead of Bryant. They were able to take Bryant in the fourth round, No. 128 overall, and he looks like a steal.
Dream pick: Jaelen Strong, Arizona State. It’s hard to imagine the Steelers taking a wide receiver in the first round unless a talent such as Louisville’s DeVante Parker falls to them at No. 22. Strong is a potential first-round pick, but with the draft as deep as it is at wide receiver he could fall into the second round. If the 6-2, 217-pounder who makes contested catches in traffic and has a ton of upside is still available in the second round when the Steelers pick, they may have a hard time passing on Strong.
Practical pick: Justin Hardy, East Carolina. Given the needs the Steelers have on defense and the depth at wide receiver in the draft, they should be able to find a quality player at the position in the middle rounds. Hardy was ridiculously productive at East Carolina -- he had three seasons with at least 1,100 receiving yards -- and the 5-10, 192-pounder has an appetite for blocking. Hardy would make a real nice pick in the fifth round if he lasts that long.
He said it: “This year’s group is deep. There are big ones and small ones. But it’s not quite as dynamic as last year’s [class]” – Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert on wide receivers in the draft.