Steelers Tab Receiver In Round Three

NCAA FOOTBALL: Nov 8, 2008 SMU vs Memphis Tigers

Are the Pittsburgh Steelers being secretly run by Al Davis?

The Black and Gold tabbed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders out of Southern Methodist University with their third round draft pick. Sanders is your prototypical burner, running a blistering 4.41 seconds in the 40. At only 5’11 and 186 pounds, he better blow by coverage even though he’s said to be very elusive with excellent leaping ability. This guy (I’ve been watching way too much John Gruden) is reminiscent of last year’s flier on Mike Wallace who, like Sanders, was also a mid-round slot guy with added value as a kick and punt returner. Although the Steelers already have a slot receiver in Antwaan Randle-El, this gives them a vertical threat with blazing speed and the ability make athletic plays deep down the field.

The main knock on Sanders is his lack of physicality. I’m sure a little of Hines Ward‘s trademark toughness will rub off on the rookie. But as of now, he’s one of those guys that shies away from throwing blocks and is relatively easy to tackle. The other concern is that his college coach was June Jones, the mastermind of the run-and-shoot offense. Receivers in that offense usually have wildly overinflated numbers due to the fact it’s a pass heavy attack. Also of note is despite twice being named a team captain, he was suspended for multiple games in 2008 for missing study hall and team meetings. While those character issues aren’t the same red flags the idiot we just shipped off to the Jets had, they are worth noting.

All in all, I can’t really compain about this pick. I would’ve preferred the Steelers take one of the more accompished name WRs in the second round when pretty much everybody was still on the board but you can’t argue with success. Director of player personnel Kevin Colbert has a knack for finding quality targets in later rounds so hopefully this will be another name to add to the list. And, as I said after the previous pick, this team needs a playmaking wideout which Sanders certainly seems to be. Hopefully, he pans out.

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