Possible Emmanuel Sanders departure will force Steelers to need Plaxico Burress to step up 2013

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

If the Steelers decide to basically trade a receiver for a third round selection in the upcoming NFL draft, they will need the remaining veterans on the roster to pick up the slack - especially the eldest of them all.

Is your favorite NFL team's roster which was once excessively deep at the receiver position, now losing key elements of said depth to free-agency; especially in the same year you expect to be missing your man's-man TE Heath Miller?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have an app for that. They call it - Plaxico Burress.

The 35 year old receiver has spent his career with in two different cities, as two different players. He began his career looking like a premier talent with premier size, in Pittsburgh. He carried his assets to the New York Giants, who had become a championship contender in their own right by the time of his arrival. Burress only increased their chances, until he almost blew them all with his gun-related incident.

Burress was able to break back into the league across town with the New York Jets, where he once again looked like the same big target he's always been. However, before long, the Jets were ready to move on to a younger roster. Burress was cast out into the cold once again, seemingly for good.

In 2012, when the Steelers found themselves in serious need of receiving help after injuries decimated their depth chart, Burress was given another chance. He came in mid-season, and struggled to get on the field with the offense. He did make a few important catches, including a TD; but he was far from an integral part of the team's offensive success.

Expect him to make an actual impact this season.

Why would a guy who is in the twilight of his career be able to do what much younger and more gifted players could not in 2012? Because, like him or not, he is exactly what this team will need in 2013.

Pittsburgh has already been bracing themselves for a new season which will possibly be missing Heath Miller for a significant portion, and they've already lost two of their top three pass catchers from last season in Mike Wallace, and evidently Emmanuel Sanders.

Burress, with his size and ability, will become the duct tape to the Steelers offensive woes. He has the experience to work outside, starting opposite of Antonio Brown. He also has the size to battle for tough catches in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Whether you like him or not, Burress will become an important piece of the puzzle in 2013.

Despite his potential for this season, Burress is not a long term solution and was never expected to be one. Many felt his signing of a one-year deal earlier in free-agency, was to ensure depth. Now with Wallace and possibly Sanders out, it becomes a bit clearer why the team would bring Burress back to Pittsburgh for the third time.

The team will almost definitely address the position in the draft. Burress provides them the peace of mind to prevent them from reaching for a guy who won't fit, by being someone who can fit, for once.

If he can maintain his focus and use his elder wisdom to avoid the pitfalls which nearly crippled his career, he may just show enough flashes of the old Plaxico to give Steeler fans enough time to mourn the loss of other players.

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