Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin Not the Right Picks for Pittsburgh Steelers


Oct 26, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Kyle Field. Texas A&M won 56-24. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers need help at wide receiver and two big-bodied, big play prospects might be available when the Steelers pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. They shouldn’t take them.

Since the departure of Plaxico Burress, there has been a supposed need for a tall, big play wide receiver to give the Steelers’ offense a shot in the arm. Fast forward to 2014 and several analysts and sites have the Steelers positioned to select one of a few big name receivers from the 2013 college season.  Both Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans possess the build and physicality coveted by NFL coordinators. To most cornerbacks in the league these two pass catchers are giants, but is size alone what the Steelers really need?

When Steelers GM, Kevin Colbert, said that this was the deepest draft he could remember, that declaration came with a warning: it could also be one of most immature drafts. Many of the players in the draft have only started for a year or two at their programs.

Benjamin and Evans are not exceptions. Going from college to professional at any position is difficult, but receiver has proven to be an especially demanding switch–ask Limas Sweed. These two are underclassman and don’t have a lot of production aside from the 2013 season. Size is no doubt an important asset, but the Steelers have other needs and the front office prefers more experienced players.

Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard (31) prepares for the snap of the ball during the 2nd half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Nabbing Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, a four-year contributor at defensive back, in the first round and waiting until day two of the draft to claim a new toy for Ben Roethlisberger is the best way to go. Jordan Matthews should be that guy. At 6’3″ Matthews has the size. He is a good route runner with good hands and he hauled in 262 passes at Vanderbilt.

The Steelers have shown success in drafting receivers after the first round of the draft and they should attempt to sustain that success in 2014. A core of Brown, Wheaton, and Matthews could be a dynamic group for a long time. Dennard opposite Cortez Allen can bring the defense back to where it needs to be to get back in the playoff hunt.

Waiting on receiver would give the Steelers a weapon with good size and production while focusing on the bigger need of filling some gaps in a defense that struggled on the back end. Both Dennard and Matthews could be 2014 contributors. While Matthews might not have the ceiling of Evans or Benjamin, the fact that the Steelers could get him AND a day one starter at corner makes it an easy call.