Three Free Agency Moves That Will Impact The Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Draft

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Oct 20, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (81) is unable to catch a pass while defended by Denver Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (45) during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Letting Cotchery Walk/Signing Heyward-Bey

The largest and most recent one on the radar is the combo of not re-signing Jerricho Cotchery and then later signing Darrius Heyward-Bey.  Jerricho Cotchery, for being a third string receiver, had two things really going for him.  1) He had 10 touchdown receptions out of the 45 where he and Ben Roethlisberger connected.  That’s almost a touchdown in every 1 out of 4 times Cotch touched the football.  He had an uncanny way of getting open in the end zone or would be wily enough to cut through would be tacklers in order to reach the end zone after a catch at the 5 or even 10 yard line.  That’s important to have around – especially when the offense struggles so much in the red zone as it is.  2) Team chemistry.  Cotch was a great locker room guy, and had a good rapport with his teammates.  That’s very difficult to replace, and bringing in an outsider and expecting them to click right away with the QB on the field is doubly difficult.

By brining in Darrius Heyward-Bey to help fill that gap, the Steelers have complicated the receiving core picture quite a bit.  I really don’t care nor want to hear about how cheap he was.  He’s cheap for a reason.  Try 29 catches, 9 drops, and a benching halfway through the 2013 season – that’s why he’s cheap.  I’m not a fan of sloppy seconds or even thirds.  I don’t want to hear camp battles with little risk either.  Unless they brought in someone else like a tall version of Lance Moore, who is going to contribute right away for this team, there’s no sense in having camp battles with younger players like Markus Wheaton who – according to Mike Tomlin – is going to have a great year with many more opportunities.

This muck up of losing Cotch and gaining DHB changes nothing in the draft about the Steelers and needing to acquire a tall and fast receiver.  DHB is not the answer – short term or long term.  And, if they think they can skip the first two rounds without selecting a good pass catcher, then I really have to question the decision making of Colbert & Co.  They will select a tall and fast receiver.  And, it will be in the first or second round.

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