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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: Possible Draft Prospects To Replace WR Mike Wallace

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Possible Draft Prospects Who Can Replace Mike Wallace

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I looked into which draft prospects could possibly replace linebacker James Harrison for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. The hole, left by Harrison’s absence, will more than likely be the first thing the Steelers will tend to in the 2013 NFL Draft with their 17th overall pick.

In the second and third rounds of the draft, Pittsburgh holds the 48th and the 79th overall picks respectively. Assuming that grabbing a pass rusher will already be taken care of, the Steelers should definitely turn their attention to filling another void that’s been left this offseason.

Pittsburgh loss speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency and now are lacking weapons in the passing game for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. I predict that the Steelers will use their 48th overall pick in the second round of the draft to add to some much-needed depth and youth at wide receiver. If by chance that doesn’t happen, expecting the organization to use that 79th overall pick on a receiver should be a no-brainer.

I most certainly don’t think that Pittsburgh will find anyone who can replace the speed that Wallace had as a big-play receiver. However, I do feel that there are some highly talented pass catchers in this year’s draft who can contribute to the Steelers’ offense immediately.

After going over the prospective wide receivers that should be available once Pittsburgh is on the clock in the second round, I narrowed it down to five receivers that could possibly be wearing black and gold in the Steel City at the start of the 2013 season. Let’s take a look.

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Terrence Williams-Baylor (6’2”, 208 lbs.)

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Baylor University wide receiver Terrance Williams has proved that he could hold his own in 2012. Williams had a very productive junior season in 2011 for the Bears by tallying 957 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on just 59 receptions. Many might have thought that he benefited from playing with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Kendall Wright. Both Griffin and Wright are now playing for the Washington Redskins and the Tennessee Titans respectively.

Even after the departure of his teammates, Williams made many forget about his 2011 campaign by leading the nation in receiving yards in 2012 with 1,832 and hauled in 12 touchdowns. Williams may not be as fast as Wallace, but has the potential to be a big-play receiver down the field and could present mismatches in the red zone with his big frame.

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Markus Wheaton-Oregon State (5’11”, 189 lbs.)

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Wide receiver Markus Wheaton is a versatile receiver who can play either on the outside or in the slot. Wheaton earned First-Team All-Pac 12 honors in 2012 with 91 receptions, 1,244 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Wheaton is another versatile pass catcher who can be used as a big-play threat down the field, or can be relied upon to go across the middle as a possession receiver.

In 2012, Wheaton became his school’s all-time leader in receptions. He definitely has the skills to take some of the pressure off Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

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Justin Hunter-Tennessee (6’4”, 196 lbs.)

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Just like Wheaton, University of Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter can be split out wide or play in the slot. However, unlike Wheaton, Hunter is a much bigger specimen. In the slot, Hunter can be a headache for smaller nickel backs. Hunter’s big size could be used as a temporary substitute for the potential loss of tight end Heath Miller for the beginning of the season.

Hunter did tear his ACL in 2011. However, he came back with a vengeance in 2012 with 1,083 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, proving that there is no need to worry about his durability.

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Quinton Patton-Louisiana Tech (6’0”, 204 lbs.)

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Not only can wide receiver Quinton Patton contribute in the passing game, he can also be what the Steelers are looking for on special teams. In addition to being a second-team All-American wide receiver in 2012, Patton has skills as a punt returner as well.

Patton’s elusiveness helped him evade gunners on returns, and defenders after making receptions. Patton was a huge part of Louisiana Tech’s explosive offense in 2012. His 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns helped his team lead the nation in scoring with an average of 51.5 points per game.

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Da’Rick Rogers-Tennessee Tech (6’3”, 217 lbs.)

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Da’Rick Rogers started his collegiate career at the University of Tennessee, and had a promising future in Knoxville. Rogers earned second-team All-SEC honors with 1,040 receiving yards and nine touchdowns his sophomore season. Unfortunately, off-the-field issues and violating team rules was too much for Tennessee’s program to handle, and Rogers was dismissed prior to the 2012 season.

Rogers then transferred to Tennessee Tech, a FCS school, so that he could play in the 2012 season. Rogers continued to dominate on the field with 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hopefully, Rogers has matured enough to convince Pittsburgh to at least consider selecting him if he is available when the Steelers are on the clock in the second round.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google