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Steelers may find Heath Miller replacement in the draft


Heath Miller has been a steady receiver and blocker for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last decade, but with every football player, there comes a time in which the scouts and coaches begin to look for a replacement. In the 2015 NFL Draft, there is plenty of talent to invest in at the tight end position.  This would be an excellent opportunity to groom a young player and allow Miller to mentor him.

Maxx Williams (University of Minnesota) is considered the best tight end in the draft by many scouts and analysts. Williams has shown above average run-after-the-catch ability for a tight end and also has the athleticism to split out wide and create matchup problems for linebackers, short safeties and cornerbacks. At 6’5″ 250 pounds, Williams is an instant threat in short-yardage plays and in goal situations even if he has trouble picking up the offense right away. Williams’ above average route running ability should make him evolve into a reliable third-down option. One area of his game in which Williams needs to work is his ability to block blitzers one-on-one. Miller should help him in that area starting in off-season training activities.

Another player to keep an eye on is Tyler Kroft, a 6’5″, 240 pound tight end out of Rutgers.  Kroft has the body frame that would allow him to add ten more pounds of muscle.  Kroft has shown the ability to be a good in-line blocker and can outrun linebackers. Kroft plays with a nonstop motor and can also block out of the backfield.  In college, Kroft showed quickness out of his three point stance and quickly ate up the cushion given in a zone defense. One weaknesses of Kroft’s is that he will not outrun most NFL defensive backs, so his vertical game will likely be limited to down the seams.

Whichever tight end that is selected by the Steelers will not have to deal with the pressure of being a week one starter.   Miller will be a great mentor on and off the field.  Miller clearly has a lot left in the tank so don’t expect a major deduction in his playing time.  Any tight end selected could also be a potential replacement for Matt Spaeth.





  1. DrGeorge

    March 31, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Sports writers must speculate about something during this hiatus between the Super Bowl and the 2015 draft, but here are two sharp facts to prick this bubble: a) the Steelers’ have multiple and immediate needs on defense and aren’t going to use a #1 pick on a TE this year; and b) we already have a TE from Minnesota on the roster, Spaeth, who was rated the best TE in his class, is bigger than Williams, and already knows the play book.

    The Steelers #1 pick will be the best defensive player on the board. Anything else would smack of lunacy.

  2. Zach

    March 31, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I think the Steelers will look at drafting a TE in later rounds. Nearly every pro day they have attended has included a TE prospect. Jesse James (Pitt) was visited with by team. Cameron Clear (Texas A&M) is scheduled for a visit pre draft. C.J. Uzomah was looked at during Auburn pro day. I think counting on Spaeth past 2015 is unlikely since Steelers gave him one year contract. No way they go TE first round.

  3. Zach

    March 31, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    DrGeorge, didn’t see the writer say first round.

  4. Pete in PGH

    March 31, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Steelers will look at tight end. Not in 1st. Prick your bubble all you want, but when Steelers pick a TE you gonna be deflated George. Spaeth is a blocking TE. Miller can’t last forever. Blanchflower ehhh not really an option. I don’t find this speculating. I have followed all the pro days and the Steelers are definitely watching tight end workouts and even O line (shocker)

  5. Blkandgold4Life

    April 1, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Max will be gone..

  6. Blkandgold4Life

    April 1, 2015 at 12:22 am

    That’s what happens when u don’t use free agency.. You’re DEPENDENT on the draft EVERY YEAR!

  7. DrGeorge

    April 1, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Most draft analysts project Maxx Williams as a “potential first round pick,” probably going to the Patriots with Pick #32. That is not a consensus view because Williams is coming out early. He has splendid hands and runs well, but he is raw, smallish, and may not block as well as Spaeth. Williams has never been described as the next Heath Miller, and he is the top rated TE only because this is a very weak class for that position. And as Blkandgold4life correctly notes, he will be gone in Rd # 1 or soon thereafter. The Steelers have major holes to fill on defense; they would be negligent to take a flyer on any TE until those holes are filled.

    But if it is any consolation, Pete, I’ve been wrong before — as when the Steelers wasted a 3rd round pick last year on Dri Archer, or a 5th round pick on Landry Jones in 2013, or the 2nd, 4th, and 5th round picks in 2012 on Mike Adams, Alameda Ta’amu, and Chris Rainey respectively. Look what that got us — a defense on life-support.

    No, the Steelers can’t afford to waste a high pick on a project TE like Maxx Williams this year. But if in a febrile moment they do, the team will be the worse for it.

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