NFL Draft 2014: More in common than just quarterbacks on two Kevin Colbert-attended games

Brett Carlsen

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert got a great peek at a receiver-rich team in the Clemson Tigers this week. Forget the hype about the quarterbacks he's seen, he's looking at some very talented receivers as well, including one off the radar right now, Martavis Bryant.

(Published Nov. 16, 2013)

The travels of general managers during the season always make for good speculation.

One of the destinations of an alleged scouting trip from Steelers GM Kevin Colbert, was Louisville, for a game between the hometown Cardinals and Rutgers.

A flash-guess on who Colbert would be watching is highly touted quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Fast-forward to this week, where Colbert watched Clemson pummel Georgia Tech 55-31. Same kind of connection can be made, Colbert would have been blind to not have seen Tajh Boyd go off for 340 yards on 20-for-26 passing (four touchdowns, one interception).

But both Louisville and Clemson have big-play and big-bodied wide receivers who happened to put up pretty decent performances in those games as well.

Despite any and all trade allegations surrounding Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the more immediate need for this team come the 2014 NFL Draft in May is a receiving threat. It's likely Emmanuel Sanders will depart in free agency, and veteran Jerricho Cotchery, the team's leading touchdown receiver with six, is also unsigned next year.

Clemson's Sammy Watkins is strong, competitive receiver with good high-end speed. His strength will make him capable of running inside routes as well.

Louisville's Devante Parker is also going to receive attention the closer we get to the draft. He's got big-play ability as well, with good acceleration and top-end speed. Both have been highly productive in their careers, results that can be downplayed by some as the product of having high-level quarterbacks (Bridgewater is much more of a prospect than Boyd, although Boyd will still likely be taken in the top 40).

Even more intriguing in Clemson is WR Martavis Bryant. He was suspended for the team's bowl game last season, and four drops against Georgia in their season-opener have likely dropped his stock. A throat-slashing gesture after a touchdown against N.C. State earlier this year won't help either, but there's little doubt the 6-foot-5 Bryant has legitimate physical skills. He's averaging a ridiculous 23 yards a catch through his three-year career, and at this point, has nowhere to go but up.

Finding dependable scouting on Watkins won't be hard, but seeing Boyd in person to get a feel for the consistency-challenged Bryant might be worth it, should he remain off college football's radar for a while.

It may be harder to do now. Bryant only had five catches for 176 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown and a 46-yard grab over his head with a defender draped on him on 3rd-and-18.

His touchdown came off Bryant releasing and separating against double-coverage. The pass was underthrown a bit, and Bryant outran three Tech defenders for the score.

Clemson appears to be stacked with receivers, and if Colbert came for Watkins, he left talking about Bryant. Never mind the quarterbacks.

2014 Steelers Draft Picks

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