Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Pittsburgh Steelers draft Emmanuel Sanders in 3rd round

April 23, 2010 By: Admin Category: Draft/Free Agency

With their third round pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Emmanuel Sanders, a wide receiver from Southern Methodist University (SMU).

I hate to be a critic.  I really do.  But just like the Steelers’ 2nd round pick, I think they reached on this pick.  Most scouts had Sanders ranked between the 15th - 25th best wide receiver in this years’ draft.  So why did the Steelers make him the 7th wide receiver drafted?  I haven’t seen Sanders’ name mentioned in any scouting reports prior to the 5th round.  Yet the Steelers took him in the 3rd round.  Hmmmmmm.

Having said that, let’s take a look at Sanders.

Emmanuel Sanders was a 3-year starter at SMU.  He is an exceptional athlete who lettered in 3 sports (baseball, basketball, and track) in high school.

He is more quick than fast.  He doesn’t have the pure speed to leave his defenders in the dust, but he has the quickness to change directions on a dime and get separation at will.  He is great at finding the gaps in a zone and will find a way to get open.  His skill set projects well to being a good slot receiver.

In addition to his shiftiness, Sanders also has very good leaping ability.  He has a 40 inch vertical, and can go up and get the ball.  He is deadly in the red zone, despite not being 6’5″.

He had an excellent showing at the East-West Shrine Game that brought him to the attention of many teams that had probably not even considered him prior to that outing.

WR Emmanuel Sanders

The problem with Sanders is that he’s small.  Very small.  He’s slightly under 5’11″, which isn’t so bad.  The problem is that he only weighs 180 lbs.  He is very thin, and almost looks frail.  I am concerned about his durability at the next level.  Also, his small frame made his blocking ability almost non-existent.  This guy is no Hines Ward.

To be fair, he is fearless going across the middle of the field, and he is willing to attempt to block.  But his size may make either of those activities very dangerous.

Sanders did put up very impressive receiving numbers, particularly in his senior year.  He had 98 catches for 1,339 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns in his final year.  However, many believe that his statistics are inflated because he played in June Jones’ pass-happy offense (Imagine Bruce Arians, only with half as many running plays) .

Sanders is good as a return man.  However, with Stefan Logan, Mike Wallace, Joe Burnett, and Antwaan Randle El, I’m not sure we will need to utilize that aspect of his game.

Off-field problems are on most Steelers fans’ minds these days, so it should also be noted that Sanders was suspended for the final 2 games of his junior year for violating the team’s “3-strikes” rule (he missed or was late to practice 3 times).

Overall, Sanders is a shifty receiver who will need to get bigger and stronger at the next level.  This pick was probably a reach, but the Steelers must have seen something in him that I didn’t.

To read about the Steelers’ other picks, click the name below:

Maurkice Pouncey - C, Florida

Jason Worilds - DE, VA Tech

Emmanuel Sanders - WR, SMU

Thaddeus Gibson - DE, Ohio State

Chris Scott - OT, Tennessee

Crezdon Butler - CB, Clemson

Stevenson Sylvester - LB, Utah

Jonathan Dwyer - RB, Georgia Tech

Antonio Brown - WR, Central Michigan

Doug Worthington - DT, Ohio State


(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the doohickies at the bottom of the right column of this page.  Thanks.)

Subscribe in a reader

Top           NFL Fan Sites


Be Sociable, Share!

7 Comments to “Pittsburgh Steelers draft Emmanuel Sanders in 3rd round”

  1. I just don’t what they are thinking here. He projects to be a replacement for Randel El in a few years. They needed to spend a 3rd round pick on a slot receiver 1-2 years from now?????

    Heck they could have gotten WR’s with a similar skill set and more upside in the 5th. If they were set on taking a WR in the 3rd - why not Decker? He has great hands, great size, and would be a good replacement for Ward.

    I don’t see Sanders ever being more than a #3 WR operating out of the slot. So….what are they smoking in the Steeler War Room? Maybe they found one of Holmes’s old stashes?

  2. I don’t know, John. I’m a bit baffled. But lets just hope the Steelers know what they’re doing. Because today’s picks certainly look suspect.

  3. I think the only thing that can save them is luck. Such as Owusu Ansah falling to them in the 4th and Lane, Geathers, or Jones in the 5th.

    Heck, if he falls far enough, why not take a flyer on Campbell - he has top talent but, perhaps, poor motivation. For a 4th-5th round pick, however, the risk seems worth it. He can’t be worse than Hill.

    I’m pretty disappointed. I really wished they would have traded down in order to upgrade their 5th round picks into 4th rounders. There is still a lot of good talent in this draft but I don’t think it will be available when they pick in the mid-late 5th.

  4. I forgot to add….maybe they just don’t think CB is an issue. This seems hard to believe considering last year (and the fact that Ike is in the last year of his contract) but ignoring it in the 3rd round to reach for a WR just stuns me.

    So, perhaps, they don’t plan to draft a CB? Maybe they are really really high on Lewis?

    All I can say is that, barring an injury, Logan (and perhaps Sweed) are dead men walking.

    The Steelers usually only keep 5 WR’s. Last year they had 6 because Logan was listed as one. It appears Sanders also returns punts…so I don’t see how Logan keeps a roster spot. And, do they keep 6 WR’s this year just to keep Sweed on the roster?


    What a relief! The Steelers wasted their first two picks ignoring our biggest need before finally addressing the position that is going to make or break us next season, backup slot receiver.
    How many of those close losses last year would we have won if only we’d had a speedy 180 pound slot receiver to rotate in? We probably would’ve gone to the Superbowl.
    With the addition of the fleet-footed featherweight Sanders, the Steelers won’t have to worry about poor depth at every defensive position, sub-par play at OT, or the power RB to complement Mendenhall. Sanders quickness out of the slot and ability to rotate in and keep Randle El fresh should mask these issues. Fortunately for us Sanders wasn’t already snapped up by another team looking for a dynamic back up slot-receiver, great pick!

  6. Matt,
    I guess you love the fact that they later drafted a backup to this backup. ;-)

  7. Emmy Sanders is proving to be an absolute stud… nice calls on that pick guys!


Leave a Reply