After losing Martavis Bryant to a year long suspension earlier in the offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers added depth in their receiving corps.
DeMarcus Ayers may not be the towering receiver that Bryant is, but he brings great athleticism from the University of Houston with him to the Steel City. Serving primarily as a slot receiver and kick returner, Ayers made a name for himself in the AAC conference.
2015 was a breakout year for Ayers, as he saw the most time on the field offensively than he did his freshman and sophomore campaigns. Ayers caught 97 passes for 1,221 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged more than 12.6 yards per reception as perhaps the Cougars most threatening player on offense.
As for his ability in the return game, Ayers returned 71 kickoffs for 1,613 yards (averaging 22.7 yards per return) and one touchdown as a freshman and sophomore. In 2015 he was strictly assigned to punts as a returner, fielding 28 punts for 295 yards (10.5 yards per return) and one touchdown. This gives the Steelers a potential threat in the return game that they tried to form with Dri Archer a few years ago that could never develop.
Although Antonio Brown is absolutely talented as a return man, the Steelers must find a serviceable replacement to keep him out of harms way as much as possible. Even if they elect to keep him as a returner, they will do well to find someone else skilled in the area, as Markus Wheaton’s attempt to field punts in the AFC Divisional matchup against the Denver Broncos was nothing short of disastrous.
The Steelers have gained a skilled slot receiver to add to their already great depth, and a potential star in the return game with their second offensive selection in the draft. The team holds one final selection in the seventh round before their draft weekend concludes.