Is Golden Tate now an option in Pittsburgh?

Now that Santonio Holmes has been shipped off to New York — as Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum continues to upgrade his roster — do the Steelers have to target a wide receiver in the draft?

Looking at the Steelers and how they run their offensive system, I like the idea of Notre Dame’s Golden Tate in Pittsburgh—a player who has already been in town for a visit. I don’t see him as a first-round talent, but this is the type of receiver who fits the route combinations in the Steel City and is a player who can be very productive after the catch. And, he could be a nice pickup once that first round ends next Thursday.

When you look at the Steelers receiving corps minus Holmes, we can point to Mike Wallace as a vertical threat who is still developing as a route runner and Hines Ward — a player who still does so much for this offense — as the top two WRs. Arnaz Battle and Antwaan Randle El can provide something to Ben Roethlisberger inside of the numbers when they draw good matchups. Limas Sweed? He hasn’t done anything to make us think that this year he will produce.

The main reason I bring up Tate is because of his athletic ability once he catches the football. Think of the underneath route combinations in the Pittsburgh scheme or the pre-snap movement, the bunch formations and the amount of times that Roethlisberger can keep plays alive in the pocket. How many times do we see Ward sitting down in a zone or find him running away from the defenders’ leverage, catching the ball between the numbers and getting up field.

Tate was a running back in high school and has that mentality once he gets the football in his hands. There is always a chance that a team reaches for Tate and takes him in the later half of the first round, or that Pittsburgh goes with a player like Arrelious Benn or even Dez Bryant at No. 18 next Thursday night.

But, when we talk about the receivers that could come off of the board to Pittsburgh, think of the scheme and the way this offense operates. Tate fits that mold.

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