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Breaking down the Steelers crowded wide receiver group

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have 8 wide receivers with NFL experience and a second round draft choice at the position currently on the squad.   The team expected to keep 6, or possibly 7 receivers on the final 53 man roster.  That means a talented player or two will be looking for work after the final cut down day.  Here's a look at where they stand one day before the Steelers first pre-season game.

LOCKS:  Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, JuJu Smith Schuster

Not much to say about this group, their spots are set barring injury.  Martavis Bryant has yet to be reinstated by the NFL, but it is expected as soon as today.  Once he is cleared, there's no way Bryant isn't a starter opposite Antonio Brown in week one.  Schuster is a second round pick which in itself almost assures his spot.  He has looked good in camp so far, which further cements his place on the roster.  AB……. enough said he's in.

TIER 2:  Eli Rogers, Justin Hunter, Darius Heyward-Bey

Eli Rogers is in a real battle with Schuster for the slot receiver position.  When he is focused, Rogers is the prototypical slot receiver who is quick and difficult to cover.  It seems very unlikely that he would be left off the roster.  With all the injuries and Bryant unable to practice thus far, Justin Hunter has gotten an opportunity to show what he can do.  He has taken that chance, and become one of the most impressive players in camp so far.  If Hunter can continue to impress during pre-season action, he will win himself a job on this team.  I have written in previous posts that Darius Heyward-Bey's roster spot was in jeopardy this season.  Sammie Coates provided a younger, cheaper version of Bey.   Well, Coates has been injured most of camp while Bey continues to do what he does.  He's got a big lead now on a roster spot.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN:  Sammie Coates, Demarcus Ayers

Sammie Coates needs to get healthy fast.  His absence has put his place on the team in real jeopardy.  I still feel what he showed  on special teams last year will give him the nod over Heyward-Bey.  Until he can get on the field though, he can not be considered an option to make the final roster.  Demarcus Ayers one path to making this team is winning the punt returner job.  Even that may not be enough with so much talent ahead of him.  Ayers showed some flashes last season, and should end up on the practice squad.

PRACTICE SQUAD AT BEST:  Cobi Hamilton, Marcus Tucker, Canaan Severin

The biggest name here of course is Cobi Hamilton.  Hamilton was a significant part of the team when the position fell apart last season.  Reports have said he is having an awful camp so far.  He was a long shot to begin with, now it's almost certain he won't be a Steeler in 2017.

 

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