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Mike Tomlin Hints WR Position Will Be Addressed by Steelers in Draft



Steelers Mike Tomlin

ORLANDO, Fla. — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hinted at the NFL owner’s meetings on Sunday that the wide receiver position most likely will be addressed in the draft. This year’s draft is loaded at receiver, and it’s a position that the Steelers typically do well at in the mid-to-late rounds. The last time the Steelers selected a wide receiver in the first round was Santonio Holmes out of Ohio State in 2006.

The Steelers’ first- or second-round pick likely will be a center, as they currently don’t have a viable option. There’s basically nothing of substance in free agency, too.

“You know, we’ve got a lot of options there,” Mike Tomlin said about the wide receiver position. “There’s still a lot of capable guys on the market. The draft is probably unusually deep at that position and has been for the last several years. I just think that receivers and those that cover them come probably a little bit more ready in today’s game than maybe in year’s past. I think it’s the evolution of seven-on-seven football for high school kids. I just think their development, the skills relative to their positions come with a higher floor. Much like AAU Basketball probably transformed basketball. I think seven-on-seven has had a significant impact on the passing game and those that participate in it. And I think that’s why there’s always a lot of wide outs that appear to be game ready, corners that appear to be game ready. They’re playing football and working on skills relative to football over the course of a 12-month calendar during significant developmental age groups now.”

Tyler Boyd, who appears to be in a stalemate with the Steelers, and Odell Beckham Jr. are the best receivers left in free agency. Michael Thomas and Hunter Renfrow are also still available.

So far, the Steelers have brought wide receivers Ricky Pearsall of Florida and Xavier Legette of South Carolina in for pre-draft visits. They also have a pre-draft visit scheduled with wide receiver Malachi Corley of Western Kentucky.

The Steelers are rather thin at the receiver position after trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, so the interest in receivers during the pre-draft process certainly makes sense. George Pickens and Calvin Austin III are the only returning receivers who received playing time last season.

Judging by Tomlin’s comments and the team’s pre-draft interest, it would not be surprising at all if the Steelers pick a receiver high in this year’s draft.

 Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Orlando.