Steelers Primed to add Another Pass-Catcher

By Charlie Portelli

The departure of Antonio Brown has been well documented. Going into detail about the drama that went into said departure does not interest anyone at this point. Another departure from the offense that has not garnered nearly the attention was Tight End Jesse James who has played an important role for the last 4 years. Between the two pass catchers, there are 134 receptions from last year that will need to be replaced.

General Manager Kevin Colbert made a very shrewd move in bringing in veteran WR Donte MoncreifDespite the feeling that Moncrief has been in the league for a decade and could be slowing down, the reality is he is heading into just his 6th season at age 26. When Moncrief played with a competent QB (Andrew Luck), his production was respectable. Playing with QB Ben Roethlisberger could make for a resurgent season for Moncrief.

Perhaps the most notable spot the Steelers are hoping to see a spike in contribution in the passing game is second year WR James WashingtonIn his inaugural season as a pro last year, he struggled mightily at times but showed significant progress in two of the Steelers final 3 games, posting 3 catches for 65 yards in the critical week 15 win over the Patriots followed by 3 catches for 64 yards in the week 17 matchup with the Bengals with Antonio Brown electing to sit and watch his team play from the sidelines. Slot WR Ryan Switzer certainly should not be overlooked either as he showed the ability to get open in the Steelers offensive scheme led by OC Randy FichtnerBoth young players should benefit from another offseason learning the playbook and be primed to continue their ascension in one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses.

While there are viable pass-catching options in house, it is widely expected that GM Kevin Colbert will be adding to the group in the draft. The Steelers have gathered 10 selections in this years draft and the WR and TE group have great depth throughout. When exactly in the draft the Steelers decide to draft these pass-catchers may tell you how the management team feels about the group as it stands today.

We will wrap it up with a prediction. Pick number 62 which happens to be the third rounder acquired in the Antonio Brown will be used on TE Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M. Sternberger is a fleet footed tight end who can line up all over the field and has the kind of playmaking ability of a Wide Receiver. He is expected to be drafted in the second to third round this weekend and the Steelers would be pleased to see him sneak into the beginning of the third round where they could put the draft pick received from the Oakland Raiders to good use on another weapon for Big Ben.


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