Four days of training camp have passed for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the drills are really heating up. While Le’Veon Bell continues to nurse a hamstring “strain” on the sidelines, the focus has been more on the receiving core on the offense and the speed and hard hitting from the younger revamped defense.
It was a quiet three days for Steelers rookie Martavis Bryant since the beginning of camp. The fourth round draft pick out of Clemson has done little in turning eyes in his direction – at least from a media and fan standpoint. That changed a bit on Thursday, when ESPN’s Scott Brown had quite a bit to say about the 6’4″ pass catcher during his daily camp notes.
The fourth-round pick caught a deep ball early in practice after beating cornerback Lewis Toler in one-on-one drills between the wide receivers and defensive backs. Bryant caught several passes Wednesday and nearly made a spectacular sideline grab of a ball that was slightly under thrown and was ultimately broken up because cornerback Antwon Blake had done a good job of establishing inside position. Bryant did have a bad drop near the end of practice.
This is all very promising observations, except for maybe the bad drop. Bryant is catching deep balls, working himself into his routes, and making adjustments to passes.
What I would love to hear next is that he does this all while taking snaps on the first team. Beating the former Rutger, who is severely outsized (Toler is 5’10″) and not as fast (Toler runs a 4.6 40 to Bryant’s 4.4), doesn’t seem like a difficult thing to do. What I’m excited to hear about (perhaps over the weekend?) is how Bryant handles lining up against Cortez Allen or Ike Taylor. I like Bryant and think he is a very good collegiate receiver who has the potential to be an even better NFL receiver.
For the most part, he has steady hands, has the agility to go after the more difficult catches, and has the size to go up and the get ball.
Wouldn’t it be something to see the Steelers inside the 10 yard line and have Antonio Brown, Lance Moore, Markus Wheaton, and Martavis Bryant line up in a four wide set with Dri Archer lined up in the backfield on 2nd and goal? Tell me that wouldn’t wreak a ton of havoc for any defense to match up against and defend in the end zone.
I hope that the coaches continue working with Bryant as long as he works hard and continues to show consistency with his hands and route running instead of standing on the sidelines under utilized like Wheaton was last season. Big plays should follow this guy around for the next several years, and it would be nice to see the coaches take advantage if given the opportunities.