If Heath Miller is unable to play when the Pittsburgh Steelers open the 2013 NFL regular season, many will look to Plaxico Burress to pick up the slack in tight situations which could benefit from size.
Burress isn't the only tall receiver who could be utilized in red zone situations.
Derek Moye went undrafted in 2012 after graduating from Penn State, but signed with the Miami Dolphins for training camp. He was waived in June, but was claimed by the New Orleans Saints - who later also cut him loose. The Steelers added him to their practice squad in early November, and he's been around the team ever since.
Because he has yet to appear in a regular season game, Moye is still technically a rookie. His lack of participation in any games allowed him to participate in the team's rookie orientation weekend. He took full advantage of ut as he attempts to break through a crowded receiver group in training camp. Steelers.com's Teresa Varley spoke to Moye about his attendance following rookie camp.
"It was definitely nice to be here for it. I was here for some time last year, but being able to get experience and get the offense under my belt more is going to help me going into the OTAs and veteran minicamp and then training camp."
"Every time you get a chance to brush up on the offense it’s always a good thing. For a guy like me it’s a lot of help getting some one-on-one time with the coaches. It gives me a chance to show what I can do a little more. It helps me get the offense down to a T."
Moye will need all the help he can get to supplant the veterans, although he does possess one trait many of his peers do not - size. Standing 6-5, and weighing in at a listed 220 pounds; Moye is a big target, who possesses decent speed (4.4 40-time at last year's combine) and agility. Penn State had this to say about Moye in his bio:
Moye brings outstanding size, skills and speed to the offense. The crisp route runner and prolific leaper is a big-play threat on every snap.
Like many of the Steelers young prospects, Moye is a work in progress. Moye was glad to get some of the work out of the way at rookie camp, so he can simply focus on execution in camp competition. He feels attending orientation weekend again will pay big dividends.
"Last year going into rookie camp your head is spinning. First you don’t know where to line up, then you don’t know what route to run, if you are supposed to block. Everything is going 100 miles an hour. Once you know things, it starts to slow down for you, but then, it all moved so fast."
After having the opportunity to log time with the team on the practice squad last year and attending rookie camp a second time, Moye should find things a bit less chaotic, allowing him to just play and not over-think his responsibilities.
If Moye can put it all together this off-season, he could establish himself for a more prominent role in the future. Even if he cannot make the final 53-man roster, he can still reserve himself a spot on the practice squad; and begin preparing for next season.
The Steelers will not overlook his size advantage when deciding who makes the team, although Moye's best chance is to stand out above the rest on his own merit.