This is what I see for depth currently, before training camp starts (Rostered players in bold):
LWR (X) Brown, Antonio, – Hamilton, Cobi – Heyward-Bey, Darrius – Ayers, Demarcus – Tucker, Marcus
SWR (Y) Rogers, Eli – Smith-Schuster, JuJu – Ayers, Demarcus – Tucker, Marcus
RWR (Z) Bryant, Martavis – Hunter, Justin – Coates, Sammie – Heyward-Bey, Darrius
Out/Cut: Canaan Severin was released on Tuesday.
I’ve placed the receivers with size on the Right (Z), and the quicker smaller receivers on the Left (X). Our slot guys are set (Y). I think the Steelers keep 6 WRs this year with a proposed emphasis on 4WR sets.
For the x receiver position, Antonio Brown is a lock, being arguably the top receiver in the league. Behind him, Cobi Hamilton just made a play to make the team. His consistent work in practice translated to the 2 best plays in this past week’s preseason game. The deep ball catch Cobi made, was the play of the game. Fully outstretched, using all of his size to pull in that pass. He still body catches a bit much for my taste, as evidenced by his TD catch, but he is effective and healthy. Right now he has the nod
The slot is starting to solidify. Eli Rogers shows he can still run routes and get open. JuJu also showed that he’s willing to do what he can to help this team. Whether it’s running routes, blocking, playing special teams, or making tackles on interceptions, he is a football player who was well worth the pick. He’s not making the team because he’s a second round pick. He’s making the team because he’s a special athlete, who will give his all, whenever he is on the field. Ayres being injured has knocked him way down in the pecking order. He needs to get back to show he is worth a roster spot. Tucker is not separating himself and will get lost in the shuffle if he doesn’t.
On the other side of the field, Bryant just returned to practice. I’m looking forward to his first game action this week. We all know what he is capable of, though it will be interesting to see how much rust he gained from his year off. Good thing is, he has 3 preseason games to work back into game shape. Justin Hunter has been making plays all over camp. With Coates hurt and Bryant out, he shows he can carry the load. He may be a more consistent receiver than Coates, though he lacks Sammie’s top end speed and explosiveness. One last receiver Canaan Severin, who was initially the last backup at this spot, was already cut and is now out of the picture