Keep in mind that it's doubtful Pittsburgh will choose a wideout with its first-round pick. Most believe that the Steelers will look to an offensive lineman, while some others are thinking defensive end. This would probably be a very sound strategy, so it's likely that if they were to draft a receiver, it would be after the opening round.
Speaking of the first round, Malcolm Kelly, a 6-4, 220-pounder from Oklahoma, will certainly be gone by the time the Steelers choose at 23rd overall, leaving him out of the equation. So will another tall receiver, Limas Sweed from Texas (6-4, 215). That leaves the following players for consideration.
Adrian Arrington (Michigan): The 6-3, 203-pounder runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds. In sum, he can leap, has good hands, and is tough. Last season he pulled in 67 balls for 882 yards and eight touchdowns, but he has never been the featured receiver.
He needs to get stronger.
Of course, the good news is that Arrington has an upside and would likely be available in the late rounds if Pittsburgh were to decide to take a chance on him.
Adarius Bowman (Oklahoma State): Bowman is a 6-3, 223 pounder with 4.67 speed. So, he's not that fast or elusive. But what Bowman has proven over the years at Oklahoma State is that he's a terrific leaper and a big-play threat. Further, he's an outstanding blocker, which is something that Pittsburgh likes to hear, even if there have been some off-the-field issues.
In each of the last two seasons, he's caught over 60 balls. Bowman has also accumulated over 1,000 receiving yards in both of those seasons. Despite his character questions, Bowman is known as a hard worker.
The best part is that he will likely be available in the third or fourth round. Given the Steelers' other needs taking precedence in the early rounds, that makes Bowman a realistic possibility.
James Hardy (Indiana): At 6-6, 220, Hardy fits the mold of a big receiver. Last season as a junior, he managed 79 catches for 1,125 yards and 16 touchdowns, so he's been productive. He also runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, indicating speed.
The negatives right now would be that he is not a good blocker. But spending time with Hines Ward will likely change that.
Hardy will probably be around when the Steelers choose in the first round. He will likely not be there when the team picks in the second, making him an unlikely selection.
Marcus Monk (Arkansas): The 6-4, 222-pound Monk has average speed (4.59), but he's strong, tough, and is an excellent leaper who knows how to use his size in the endzone.
Unfortunately, Monk battled injuries for most of his collegiate career and was not very productive. Then again, playing in Arkansas over the last several seasons doesn't necessarily lend to catching a lot of passes.
Still, Monk isn't exactly a can't-miss-prospect. Thus, he'll be available in the late rounds. But if the Steelers are looking for a red zone threat with nice athleticism and an upside, they could choose to take a chance on him.
Jordy Nelson (Kansas State): The 6-3, 217-pound Nelson has reliable hands and is a hard worker. Though he's not fast (4.51 in the 40), he is quick. Beyond that, he hasn't played the position for very long, so untapped potential does exist.
Last season, Nelson racked up 122 catches for 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns. Not bad, eh?
The Steelers would have to like this guy's size. Further, he may be available somewhere between the third and fifth rounds.
Devin Thomas (Michigan State): Thomas is steadily rising up draft boards. He's a 6-2, 215-pounder who runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds. Further, he's proven to have outstanding hands and has impressed in that regard during workouts.
Finally, he set school records with 79 receptions and 2,590 all-purpose yards in 2007. Further, Thomas is also a very good kickoff returner. He'll probably be around when the Steelers draft in the first round, but not the second.
Assuming the Steelers avoid the receiver position in Round 1, only a few guys listed above fit the tall receiver bill. Bowman would be a highly interesting selection, and so would Nelson or Arrington. Monk would be a big-time gamble who could prove fruitful in time.
Either way, expect Roethlisberger to get the tall target he covets come April