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Experience crucial for wide receivers Steelers signed in free agency

The Pittsburgh Steelers added more than just capable receivers via free agency, they gained experience.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

When Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders left Pittsburgh for greener pastures, it left the Steelers needing to fill a hole.

A hole not just in roster depth, but in overall experience.

When Sanders and Cotchery left, the only wide receiver still on the roster with significant playing experience was Antonio Brown. The organization had to act, and they did so by bringing in Lance Moore from the New Orleans Saints and Dariyus Heyward Bey from the Indianapolis Colts.

Moore and Heyward Bey were brought in with two completely different expectations tagged on them. Moore is expected to fill Cotchery's role in the slot, while Heyward Bey is looking to battle with Justin Brown and Derek Moye for the 5th wide receiving spot.

In terms of Heyward Bey's battle, as he tells Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he knows his experience could be the difference maker, "A coach would like to play a guy who knows what he is doing first over the guy who has all the ability," "That's something that works in my favor."

On top of experience that Moore and Heyward Bey bring to the table for the Steelers is the simple fact that they will be able to push the younger receivers. In some cases it might be fore a roster spot, and others it may be for them to simply be better in how they prepare. For Heyward Bey, he will do whatever it takes to make the football team, "If that is what they need me to do — to be the deep threat — that's what I will do. If they need me blocking, then sure. If they need me on special teams … I am a team-first guy."

Moore's job in filling Cotchery's role might be even more of a challenge, as Cotchery had a team high 10 TDs last season and was a favorite target for Ben Roethlisberger. Moore is certainly capable of duplicating that success in Pittsburgh as 26 of his career 38 touchdown receptions have come inside the red zone.

Experience is a great teacher, and doing whatever it takes to help the team is something both Moore and Heyward Bey know will lead to success. "I've prided myself in my career being one of those guys that kind of just does whatever the team needs him to do," Moore said. "I played a lot of football and have been successful in a number of roles, catching the ball and in a bunch of different situations as well. I feel like I have made a lot of plays and will continue to do that."