The Steelers32 writing team takes aim at another 20 prospect in 20 days. If the glove does not fit, you have to acquit. But what if the glove does fit; you have to take the pick. This writer, under oath, believes Texas A&M Josh Reynolds would indeed be a great fit for the black and gold.
The Steelers paid Antonio Brown superhero wide out money this offseason and have been looking for his sidekick for a while now. With the pending suspension of Martavis Bryant, do not be surprised if the backdrop of Gotham City spends a mid-round pick on a receiver with similar traits to the troubled Bryant.
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Steelers’ 20 prospects in 20 days: Pitt tight end, Scott Orndoff/Jackson State DE or LB, Javancy Jones /Villanova DE, Tanoh Kpassagnon/Colorado S, Tedric Thompson/Syracuse WR, Amba Etta-Tawo/Tennessee QB, Joshua Dobbs/California QB, Davis Webb/UConn S, Obi Melifonwu
Reynolds visited the Steelers as one of their top 30 visits on April 3rd. This was a busy day for Mike Tomlin and crew as they also hosted quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes from Texas Tech and Joshua Dobbs from Tennessee. The Steelers also hosted wide receiver, Kenny Golladay from Northern Illinois that busy day.
Reynolds could be a replacement for Bryant, if needed, but is not an exact clone. Reynolds lacks the burst of Bryant but does have excellent long speed. Standing at 6-foot-3-inches tall, Reynolds has the height, athleticism and tracks the ball naturally. With a 37-inch vertical at the combine, he showed he can be a big down-the-field guy that Big Ben tends to like.
Reynolds is a lot like a glass of fine wine. He has become better with age — at Texas A&M — and the team that selects him off the shelf may be pleased with what they have in their hands. A three-year starter at A&M, Reynolds leaves College Station top-three all-time in school history with 2,788 receiving yards and 30 total touchdowns. He led all SEC wide outs in those categories over those three years. Without a touchdown slump in 2015 (five total), the numbers would have been even more impressive.
A high school hurdler and long jumper, Reynolds has long strides and can close gaps quickly. Reynolds excels at the go-route and is not afraid to go after the ball, even over the middle. Reynolds needs to get more physical with corners as he struggles with aggressive defensive backs.
After his impressive Senior Bowl, with six receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, Reynolds has been moving up draft boards. Five of the speedster’s six catches came in the first half on five targets. Overshadowed at the A&M Pro Day by potential number-one-overall pick Myles Garrett, Reynolds did not disappoint. Running a 4.52 and 4.55 40-yard dash is fast enough to go along with his smooth route running and explosive leaping abilities.
What does the film say?
Reynolds is tall, productive and fearless. He can make the big plays and is an excellent down-the-field route runner. However, with 95 targets and only 61 catches last year, Reynolds needs to haul in a higher percentage of throws his way. Most of his negatives derive from looking to run before he has the ball. Although Reynolds could sharpen hit cuts, his routes look smooth and he can high-point any ball thrown his way.
Only weighing 194 pounds, Reynolds will need to add onto his lanky frame if he wants to take his game to the next level. Reynolds can get bumped off his routes and struggles with press coverage. He did improve off the line in his senior year but would need to spend some extra time with Richard Mann. Despite his small frame he does show a willingness to block downfield and play through injuries.
One major benefit that Reynolds has over other mid-round picks is his special teams play. Reynolds is a standout on punt coverage; using his long strides to getting downfield quickly and making plays. In his senior year, Reynolds downed three punts inside the other team’s 10-yard line.
All signs are pointing in the right direction with Reynolds. Cbssports.com projects Reynolds as a fifth-round selection; he could easily slide into the late 4th round where the Steelers select.
This writer likes the fit that Reynolds can bring to the Steelers’ wide receiving crew. His skill set fits what this offense needs in a wide out. With superstar Brown demanding double teams, a player like Reynolds could come in and be a great complementary wide out. He can bring height to a rather short wide receiving corps. Improving every year at College Station; and, if the Senior Bowl is any indication, Reynolds can continue the ascension into the NFL.
Even if he fails to secure a position as a top-three wide out on the depth chart after camp, he can be a day-one contributor on special teams. The Steelers’ best gunner, Shamarko Thomas was placed on injured reserve last year and has yet to resign.
Reynolds could easily find a way to come in and suit up every Sunday. Plus, Roethlisberger will be happy with another deep threat and red zone option.
If the Steelers do not grab a wide out earlier in the draft, Josh Reynolds would be a good fit for this team. With Brown and Eli Rogers at 5-foot-10-inches tall, Darrius Heyward-Bey at 6-foot-2-inches tall, it would be good to add a young wide receiver with some height and leaping ability. The Steelers did sign journeyman wide out Justin Hunter who is 6-foot-4-inches tall. However, this writer would like to take a flyer on a wide out who has shown improvement every year and is not afraid to do whatever it takes to be on field.
Football is won by improving all three facets of the game. This writer looks for the Steelers to add a player like Reynolds in the fourth-round to improve in two phases of the game. Reynolds can come in and compete for playing time at wide out and improve the special teams from day one.
Scott Menk writes about the Steelers for cover32 and is excited for the opportunity to cover the only NFL team with six Lombardi Trophies.