The Steelers should consider using TE Saunders as a receiving threat to create mismatches with opposing defenses. Yes, I know that he is a rookie, and I am not sure how well he knows the offense. However, the Patriots used their 2 rookie TE's, Gronkowski and Hernandez, quite effectively last year. That Pats offensive attack continued this past Monday night when the Pats' TE's carved up Miami's defense.
Linebackers are generally not fast enough to cover athletic tight ends, and defensive backs are generally not strong enough to out-muscle those tight ends to gain position or win jump balls. Using athletic tight ends more in the passing game is a trend in the NFL. This can also be seen with players like Antonio Gates, Jermichael Finley, Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham.
I do not know a heck of alot about Saunders except what I have read in online articles, blogs and scouting reports. I understand that he has a good combination of size, strength, speed and athleticism (although some question whether he has the speed to be a deep threat over the middle). I also understand that the Steelers have alot of receiving threats, including a good and deep WR corps, and one of the best all-around TE's in the league in Heath Miller. As such, it may be difficult to get Saunders alot of playing time or targets. But they should give Saunders a chance.
I am NOT suggesting that the Steelers should bench Miller in favor of Saunders. I am simply wondering if there is a way to incorporate both of them in some formations and plays, particularly in passing situations. Please let me know what you think.