Steelers Film Room: Fourth-round pick Martavis Bryant a project but one with excellent upside

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Steelers take the talented receiver from Clemson in the 4th round. Steelers fans are, rightfully, excited by the promise, but also cautioned by that same promise.

Let's put this simply: Steelers fourth round draft pick, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, has a lot of talent.

He is fast, and he has an extremely easy gait.  He is very fluid in his movements, which allows him to move smoothly in and out of his breaks. He  has tremendous body control.   Also, and maybe most importantly, Bryant has the ability to track the ball.  On film, I saw him make catches over his shoulder, and anyone who has watched his highlights an see him high-point the ball.

Moreover, Bryant showed himself to be a willing blocker.  Great blocker? By no means, but he is willing.  I did not watch every Clemson game over the past two years, so I didn't see many of the drops that seemed to have made him a 4th round pick.  With Bryant's ability to track the football, I don't see his hands as being a problem.  Problems with his route running, blocking, and/or consistently catching the football all seem to come down to concentration.  The Steelers obviously feel confident that they can coach those mental lapses out of him.  You can coach (demand) concentration and effort.  You can't coach height, speed, and body control.

I picked this first clip for two reasons.  First, tall receivers sometimes have a hard time picking the ball off the ground.  Second, this is a play that most colleges run and Haley began incorporating last year.

The QB actually reads the curl-flat defender.  If the defender attacks the box and leaves a void in the zone, you throw the ball.  If the defender hangs backs, you give it to the running back because the defense is outnumbered in the box.

Many defenses have started to play more man coverage to adjust to plays like this.  The danger, of course, with playing man is getting beat over the top.  As we have discussed, Bryant's ability to go up and get the ball makes this an even greater risk.

Notice something else about this play; specifically, Bryant's split.  he gives himself a lot of room to break toward the pylon.  If you are going to run the fade, you need to tighten your split. Sounds simple, and it is, but receivers mess up this simple point all of the time.  I wrote about Emmanuel Sanders making this mistake against Baltimore last year.

Finally, you will see no better example of body control than this play.

What else is really there to say? It is all there, it is simply a matter of getting it out of Bryant consistently.  The Steelers already have an All-Pro receiver in Antonio Brown.  Heath Miller is going to catch a lot of balls this year.  So is Le'Veon Bell.  So, no one is expecting Bryant to come in and catch 75 balls this year.  Bryant can be, and should be, a one trick pony.  If that trick, however, is making big plays, then no one is going to complain.

2014 Steelers Draft Picks

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