Receiver could be draft option for Steelers

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 11:15 p.m.

So what's next?

With only wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery unsigned among their key personnel on offense, the Steelers likely will concentrate on retooling a declining defense during the offseason.

Still, Ben Roethlisberger probably can't help but wonder what this 20th-ranked offense, for all of its second-half improvement, might look like if he had another elite receiver to throw to besides Antonio Brown.

Clemson's Sammy Watkins could be such a receiver — the Steelers don't care that he's 6-foot and not 6-3 — and the only question might be whether he slides to No. 15, where they choose in the first round May 8.

If he doesn't, Marqise Lee, who had 20 touchdown catches in three seasons at Southern Cal, probably will be there. Again, the Steelers wouldn't care that he's 5-11 12, given their success with not-tall receivers.

With all of their starters back, the Steelers probably wouldn't go for an offensive lineman on the first round — unless another David DeCastro should somehow slide their way.

Any free agents the cap-challenged Steelers sign are likely to be low risks who don't make a ton of money but could prove versatile and valuable, like Fernando Velasco did while starting most of the season at center.

And by next season, look for coordinator Todd Haley to find even more ways to get running back Le'Veon Bell involved and for tight end Heath Miller to be a more integral part of the passing game from Week 1 on now that he's fully healthy.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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