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Martavis Bryant press conference: 'I told my mom I wanted to be a Steeler'

Happy Mother's Day, Martavis's mom, your son is going to catch deep passes in Pittsburgh.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH -- When Martavis Bryant arrived at Clemson, he had to play behind future first-round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins.

This past season, Bryant was overshadowed by slick Sammy Watkins, who was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the first round by the Buffalo Bills during the NFL Draft. He won't have that problem with his new team.

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have taken Bryant in fourth round Saturday afternoon, he'll be given every opportunity to earn a starting spot opposite No. 1 wideout Antonio Brown.

"Pittsburgh is the place I wanted to come to,'' Bryant said. "I told my mom the whole time that I wanted to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. It's just a great city, and when I took my visit there I really enjoyed it. I had a great conversation with the receivers coach and liked him. So, it's a good place for me.

"The Steelers have had some great receivers over the years, and I know that Big Ben likes to throw the ball deep. So, I want to get in there and help him out and help them win. I need to come in and work on everything. I'm not satisfied. I never want to be satisfied.''

Steelers receivers coach Richard Mann believed first and foremost that Bryant has a place on the club's roster, because at 6-foot-4, 211 pounds he has the size and speed (4.42 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) that no other wideout possesses other than Derek Moye.

However, Moye's roster spot is tenuous, at best, after free-agent signings Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey and draft picks Markus Wheaton last year and Bryant this year.

"(Bryant) is a big receiver that we were kind of hunting,'' Mann said. "We needed a guy different from what we have. ... He will be a great weapon in the red zone for us. One of the things he does very well is track the football. (And) we feel that we've got a guy we can put opposite of Antonio Brown. (So), we're delighted to get him, and I'm surprised that he lasted that long.''

Some had Bryant slotted in the second round, but some attitude issues and questions about his hands possibly were factors that dropped him to the fourth round and the Steelers.

"I think we work here,'' Mann said. "Coach Tomlin demands that. He's going to fall into line with the rest of them. We'll see to that. We've already talked about that. We talked about it when we had him in. We work as a group in that room, meaning the receivers. He'll be part of that, (so) he's going to have to work also. ... I think his hands are OK.

"They all drop balls. I've seen him drop a ball, but I've seen all of them drop a ball. What we try to do is make sure that we work on the tricks of our trade as far as catching the football. A lot of the times, it may be hand placement. Maybe he's trying to run with it before he catches it? So, we'll figure out what the problem is and hopefully, we can get it solved.''

While Mann noted that Bryant has "excellent speed for a big guy,'' he added that his blocking ability was "adequate.'' So, that's an area with need for improvement, but Mann didn't believe that would be a problem.

"It will get better,'' Mann said. "We have to push him and work on it and make it important. If you make it important and work on it, then they'll make it important, and they'll get better at it. Blocking is an attitude, and you have to give him the right attitude. If you have the right attitude, you'll block.''

Mann added that while Wheaton did not play much last season due to a broken and re-injured right pinky finger, he was impressed that the player worked through the pain late last season because the team needed him to play. And he looked forward to his continued development this year.

Mann compared what Jerricho Cotchery did for the club last season as a slot receiver to how Moore would be used this year and also believed that running back Dri Archer, drafted late in the third round Friday, also would have a role in the Steelers passing game.

"I had this little guy in Cleveland named Gerald McNeil,'' Mann said. "They called him 'Ice Cube,' and (Archer) reminds me of him. He was a very important receiver for me, so I think after talking to Coach Tomlin and Coach Saxon, he'll probably move from running back to receiver to return guy.

"I can visualize us jerry-rigging, that's the word I use, (devising) stuff for him where everybody knows he's going to get it, but they just can't do anything about it.''

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