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Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Rundown

The Steelers have a knack for acquiring and developing phenomenal wide receivers. Who is in contention to make the final 53?

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have become a wide receiver factory, producing some of the best talent in the NFL. Pair players' athleticism with the accuracy and acumen of QB Ben Roethlisberger and the skill of WR coach Richard Mann, and you have recipe for success.  Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Martavis Bryant are a trio of phenomenally talented, skillful wide receivers any team would envy. Beyond these star players, however, the Steelers have a seemingly endless supply of young players vying to compete for spots on the final roster.

Sammie Coates

Coates was the Steelers third-round pick in this year's draft, heralded as a ridiculously athletic playmaker who also had occasional difficulties hanging on to the ball and following through on plays. With two preseason games under his belt, Sammie Coates has not disappointed showing flashes of strength, agility, and speed. In the Hall of Fame game, Coathes had one completion for 12 yards. Pass interference from Viking's rookie cornerback Trae Waynes robbed him of a sure-touchdown.

On Friday against Jacksonville he had a respectable five catches for fifty two yards including an incredible this-guy-belongs-in-the-NFL completion right along the sideline.

Coates was also one of the bright spots on special teams against the Jaguars, teaming up with Shayon Green for a forced fumble and recovery.

Dri Archer

Also a third-round pick, the Steelers drafted Archer in 2014 out of Kent State. (Both Jack Lambert and James Harrison attended Kent State.) At the NFL Scouting Combine, the 5'8" 173-lb WR/RB ran his 40-yard-dash in 4.26 seconds, the second fastest combine time ever. Incredible speed isn't Archer's only asset. He has preternatural agility, vision, quickness, and elusiveness.

Archer did not have a particularly impressive rookie year, but has shown signs of promise so far this preseason. In the Hall of Fame game against the Vikings, Archer leveraged his agility and ninjaness to rush for 24 yards and catch passes for 33 yards. Versatile, Archer can also be a reliable contributor to the Steelers struggling special teams.

C.J. Goodwin

Steelers legend Mel Blount helped C.J. Goodwin get a tryout with the Steelers, and it is clear Goodwin plans to make the most of the unusual opportunity. The connection between Blount and Goodwin? Goodwin cut the grass at the Mel Blount Youth Home. "I just kind of took him under my wing and started mentoring him," Blount told the Post-Gazette. "I saw something in him that would make anyone want to help a young person who is trying to achieve like he is."

Surprisingly, Goodwin didn't start playing football until his junior year in college. Prior to that, he was primarily a basketball player. He was a long-shot in the draft since he had only played for Fairmont State and California University of Pennsylvania, both NCAA Division II schools.

Goodwin initially signed with the Steelers in June 2014. This year, however, the WR who started playing football only a few short years ago, could be a contender for the 53-man roster. Though he struggled some in the HoF game against the Vikings, he bounced back against the Jaguars with several impressive completions, holding on to the ball despite some hard hits.

Shakim Phillips

Phillips is a rookie out of Boston College signed by the Steelers as a UDFA. He had perhaps one of the most impressive plays of the game against the Vikings when caught a 35-yard pass that set up a Shaun Suisham field goal. Against the Jaguars, however, Phillips struggled. Much of the enthusiasm he sparked from his first NFL performance was dampened has he failed to hold on to passes that should have been easy completions.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Not as young as the other WRs, Heyward-Bey was the Raiders seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft after playing for the University of Maryland. He played with the Raiders through 2012 and then spent a year at the Colts before signing with the Steelers in 2014. With Brown. Bryant, and Wheaton, it is unlikely Heyward-Bey will see much playing time at WR, but he does bring much-needed experience to the Steelers special teams unit.

Kenzel Doe

Kenzel Doe is a Dri-Archer-sized rookie WR out of Wisconsin. So far, he has not set himself apart as either a breakout or a bust. Doe is one of the most recent additions to the Steelers team, signing with the team on August 5. Like Heyward-Bey, Doe could set himself apart by performing well on special teams. In college he totaled 1,388 kick return yards and 481 punt return yards.

Tyler Murphy

The hybrid WR/QB who went undrafted out of Boston College impressed Mike Tomlin so much in camp that Tomlin said to the media, "He's starting to show some wideout traits. Write that down." We haven't seen Murphy at QB yet, and with Bruce Gradkowski off of PUP, he is probably a long shot at that position. Nonetheless, Tomlin has taken note of Murphy's talents at WR, so he could be a candidate for practice squad, or more if he demonstrates his competence and reliability at practice and in preseason games.