It's a possibility. At least so says Micah Rucker. Or maybe that's just Rucker's wishful thinking, knowing that if only five receivers are kept, then he's probably relegated to the practice squad.
“They may keep anywhere from six to seven (receivers),” Rucker said. “I believe I’m in that six or seven. They may look at me as a developmental (squad) guy. That’s all right with me as long as I can keep working and learning.”
I agree with you Micah. You are in the top six or seven of our corps. What I'm a little less sure of is the assertion that the team might have six or seven wide receivers active during any given week. MAYBE six if Eddie Drummond just seems so absoultely invaluable as a return man that the team has to keep him on board. But that's not overly likely either, no?
Anyway, I mentioned in my latest 53-man roster prognosis that I thought Rucker probably missed his chance to secure the inside track over Dallas Baker for a roster spot. Two missed opportunities in the clutch to make plays. Tough tough plays, but plays that guys on the fringe need to make.
Not necessarily though. Despite missing a few chances and regressing a touch since the middle of the offseason, Rucker leaves no doubt in anyone's mind that he's at least willing to work hard and compete. There's no doubt he at least has the fighter's spirit and panache you want to see out of players. He seems in the moment on the field, he will mouth off a bit when lost in the heat of the battle (as evidenced by his questioning of the sideline ref's call that he bobbled the ball during a crucial play in the Steelers final drive with less than two minutes), and perhaps most importantly, he has the physical attributes that make scouts and general managers wet their pants. Ok fine, maybe they don't wet their pants, but it at least sends them into a fantasy land where 60 inch flat panel TVs are on a conitnuous loop of impressive displays of measurables sans football pads.
Granted, Rucker's measurables aren't elite across the board. He's definitely not the fastest cat out there. Not by a longshot. His 40 times prior to the draft were fairly unimpressive. But from what I can surmise based on the limited action I've seen from him, he has little trouble creating necessary space from his man. What he may lack in sheer speed, it seems he makes up in long, long strides and surprisingly decent routes for a rookie out of Eastern Illinois.
As I mentioned in my most recent 53-man roster prognostication, I thought Rucker lost any shot he had at getting an upper hand over Dallas Baker for one of the coveted final roster spots that us fans can presume is still up for grabs. He didn't bomb or anything. In fact, he played fine and I was kind of impressed by him, despite his inability to make the clutch play down the stretch. Dixon was looking his way because he got open. Unfortunately for Rucker, both his bobble on the sideline, and his inability to snag the Hail Mary as time expired, were plays that could have been made. Yes, they were tough. But, they're the types of plays that unheralded prospects need to make if they're to stick with a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Anyway, this post was not meant to be an indictment of Micah Rucker. Instead, it was more geared towards the initial quote I included about the possibility of the Steelers carrying 6 of 7 WRs.
Is this wishful thinking on Rucker's part? Or is it not out of the realm of possibility that the team keeps more than 5 WRs active, knowing that Eddie Drummond is likely to contribute little in the pass receiving department? And what the hey, if you have any thoughts about Rucker, now may be the best time to air them. I, for one, am hoping he might make it. But the odds aren't looking good at the moment, and frankly, time may be running out for him and other guys on the outside looking in.