Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
I tend to agree with people who say that “variety is the spice of life.”
Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s not much “variety” when it comes to what comprises their depth chart at wide receiver. Four of the five wide receivers on their depth chart are 6’1″ and below, and three of those four aforementioned pass-catchers are under 6′ and 200 lbs..
While having thinner-framed speedsters like Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Markus Wheaton in addition to a savvy veteran like Jerricho Cotchery comprising a receiving corps is not a negative thing, “size does matter” sometimes when it comes to the wide receiver position.
Thankfully for the Steelers, they have the large-framed (6’5″ 210 lbs.) Derek Moye chomping at the bit for more playing time and extra chances to help them in the passing game.
I for one was impressed by Moye’s performance during preseason play, and the wide receiver out of Penn State emerged as Pittsburgh’s most productive pass-catcher during those four games. Overall, the former Penn State Nittany Lion snatched 10 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown, and his collective performance earned him a spot on the team’s 53-man roster.
Moye made his mark for the Steelers during regular season play last week when he snared a one yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger at Paul Brown Stadium. The “alley-oop” over Leon Hall was a play which most of us have not seen executed that well since Plaxico Burress was on the roster from 2000-2004.
Although Moye has not seen the field very much during his first two games with the Steelers, it has not deterred him from staying hungry and being ready to contribute whenever the team calls upon him. According to a recent article by Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Moye had this to say about how a receiver of his build can compliment his team’s offense:
"I just think a bigger receiver can help out the quarterback sometimes, … If the corner or defensive back has good coverage on the receiver, he can just throw it up and you go up and get it. That’s what I like to think I bring to the offense, and I can do that if need be."
It makes me extremely happy to see a young player like Moye who knows that he has a set of skills and attributes that can help his team, particularly in the red zone. Moye’s emergence plus the return of “security blanket” Heath Miller (6’5″ 256 lbs.) gives the Steelers and Roethlisberger two large targets to find near the goal line, and two difficult targets to match-up with for opposing defenses.
It will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh’s tallest wide receiver is utilized throughout the rest of this season, and it definitely appears like Moye will able to take advantage of every opportunity he receives to shine.
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