Awhile back, I began a list of the Top 5 Dissapointments and Top 5 Surprises of last year. I penciled Troy Polamalu into the #5 slot . Inclduing him in this list mainly shows how much I admire Troy and his abilities. He certainly did not have a bad season by most standards. It's just he didn't assert himself as the most dominant player on the field nearly as often as he had done the year before.
We resume our countdown of the Top 5 Biggest Dissapointments of 2006 at #4: Cedrick Wilson.
Wilson improved upon his 2005 totals last year in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, but he was still a major disappointment in my mind. When Atwaan Randle-El left via free agency, the Steelers were left with an amazing #1 receiver in Hines Ward, and a bunch of question marks after that. We hoped that Nate Washington would breakthrough in 2006 and carry over his amazing performances in practice into live games. We were excited about Santonio Holmes (and even Willie Reid to a lesser extent)--but we realized he was a rookie and would need some time to improve his raw route-running skills. And we assumed that TE Miller would assume a much larger role in our passing game, thereby alleviating some of the pressure of Wilson and Holmes. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
That left us needing Cedrick Wilson to step up and have a career year as the #2 target for Ben Roethlisberger. We didn't need him to be Reggie Wayne, but we needed him to maintain or even improve upon his impressive 17.3 YPC in 2005. Maybe someone else can provide the actual number, but I know that Wilson dropped a bunch of passes in 2006, some of them in critical situations.
Beyond that, Wilson didn't scare opposing defenses like Randle-El did. You basically knew what Wilson would do: run 12-20 yard out patterns to the sideline. When he did go over the middle, he was largely uneffective. That's probably a product of his diminuitive size.
Luckily, Santonio Holmes emerged as the season progressed, and I believe we all feel he's ready to assume the role of our #2 WR next year. Holmes has an extra gear and dimension that Wilson simply doesn't have, and I think his game-breaking threat will help both our passing and running game next year.