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Justin Brown goes through his second stint in rookie minicamp

It's a completely different perspective for the second-year receiver from Oklahoma. As a rookie in 2013, he had just hours of exposure to the playbook and a new coach. Now, it should be old hat.


The Steelers selected wide receiver Justin Brown in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was immediately shipped out to Pittsburgh and run through the gauntlet of head shots, helmet fittings and lugging around a play book that may as well have been the phone book.

New information, all of which may make sense on its own but collectively, presents something resembling hand weights.

It's a lot to take in for every rookie there, from Brown to first round pick Jarvis Jones down to the dozens of undrafted free agents brought in to audition for another audition in the team's full minicamp.

Brown made it all the way to the very end, training camp in late July. He was cut at the end of it, but quickly signed to the team's practice squad. He spent his 2013 year there, working and learning.

He's back in the same spot now.

Brown, and other Steelers' 2013 rookies who spent the year on the practice squad, are a part of the team's rookie minicamp and orientation Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh. He's in a better spot in a few ways. The playbook may feel a little lighter. There was more time to digest it all, instead of the manic binge-session the rookies typically experience with such a short turnaround time.

It's worse on the 2014 rookies. A late draft limits the time they'll have to learn everything they'll need come training camp. Mark that to Brown's advantage as well.

It won't all be in his favor, though. Last year, he didn't have competition coming from a 6-foot-4 player drafted higher than him. The Steelers selected Clemson's Martavis Bryant in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, standing at least as tall as Brown with a more explosive roll of film to go with him.

Bryant, Brown, Derrick Moye and free agent signee Darrius Heyward-Bey will likely compete for the team's two wide receiver positions behind Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore. Barring a Sweed-level collapse from Bryant during the remainder of the offseason program, it's difficult to see the Steelers releasing him. That really leaves it between Brown, Moye and Heyward-Bey.

Brown is getting something of a head start, even if it's the second time around the rookie minicamp.