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Steelers Select Martavis Bryant in the Fourth Round

Posted May 10, 2014

Team selects WR from Clemson with the 118th overall pick.

MARTAVIS BRYANT
Wide Receiver
Clemson University Tigers
6-4, 211
Calhoun Falls, South Carolina
Hargrave Military Academy
T.L. Hanna High School
4th Round – 118th Overall

 

CAREER NOTES
Bryant started 13 games, appearing in a total of 37 contests during his Clemson career…Caught 61 passes for 1,354 yards (22.20 ypc) and 13 touchdowns, adding 338 yards on 17 kickoff returns (19.88 ypc) and 17 yards on a reverse…His receiving average of 22.20 yards topped the previous NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and Atlantic Coast Conference record of 21.96 yards by Herman Moore of Virginia (114 for 2,504 yards; 1988-90)…Also set the school career-record for yards gained per reception, joining tight end Joe Blalock (20.34 ypc; 38 for 773; 1939-41) and flanker Gary Cooper (20.145 ypc; 79 for 1,592; 1985-89) as the only Tigers to average at least 20 yards per catch…His 13 scoring grabs are tied for 10th on the school career-record list…Teamed with Sammy Watkins in 2013 to combine for 143 receptions for 2,292 yards (16.03 ypc) and 19 touchdowns...The only ACC tandem to register more receiving yards in the same season were North Carolina State’s Torry Holt (1,604) and Chris Coleman (876), who totaled 2,480 yards in 1998.


2013 SEASON

Bryant earned All-American super Sleeper Team honors (most underrated player at each position) by The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting information service also named him to their All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team, as the flanker also received honorable mention from the league’s media and coaches...Started 11 of the 13 games that he appeared in, finishing second on the team with a career-high 42 receptions for 828 yards (19.71 ypc) and seven touchdowns, adding 36 yards on a pair of kickoff returns...Also recovered an onside kick to seal the victory vs. Georgia...Had four receptions for a team-high 87 yards vs. South Carolina State, adding six grabs for 73 yards and two touchdowns at North Carolina State…Totaled 79 yards on three snatches that included a score at Syracuse…Hauled in four passes for 88 yards at Maryland and had five receptions for 72 yards at Virginia, followed by five receptions for a game-high 176 yards and a touchdown vs. Georgia Tech, earning ACC Receiver-of-the-Week honors…Totaled 84 yards on four catches, including a touchdown vs. The Citadel…Grabbed three passes for 28 yards and two touchdowns vs. Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.


2012 SEASON

Bryant appeared in 10 games as a reserve flanker…Finished with 305 yards, as his average of 30.5 yards was the highest in the nation for any receiver with at least 10 catches…Converted four of his 10 grabs into touchdowns, as eight of his catches went for distances of 20 yards or longer…Added 257 yards on 13 kickoff returns (19.77 avg) and gained 17 yards on a reverse…Had a 22-yard receiving touchdown, 17-yard carry, and 69 yards on three kickoff returns vs. Ball State for a team-high 108 all-purpose yards...Added a 39-yard touchdown catch vs. Furman and snared three balls for 82 yards and a 14-yard kickoff return at Wake Forest…Scored on a 41-yard catch, adding a 24-yard kickoff return at Duke…Had two receptions for 59 yards and two kickoff returns for 49 yards for a team-high 108 all-purpose yards vs. Maryland…Caught a pair of passes for 62 yards and a touchdown along with a 24-yard kickoff return vs. North Carolina State.


2011 SEASON

Bryant earned his first varsity letter, appearing in 14 games while earning a pair of starting assignments…Caught nine passes for 221 yards, an average of 24.56 yards per catch, as he converted two tosses into touchdowns…Also gained 45 yards on two kickoff returns…Had a 54-yard reception in his first career game vs. Troy and a 42-yard touchdown grab vs. Wofford…Added a 33-yarder vs. Florida State and made his first career start at Virginia Tech…Followed with a 16-yard reception at Maryland and made two catches for 54 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown, and a nine-yard kickoff return vs. North Carolina…Added a 36-yard kickoff return at South Carolina and snared two balls for 20 yards vs. West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.


2010 SEASON

Bryant attended Hargrave Military Academy, playing football for head coach Troy Davis…Was the top receiver for an offense that was quarterbacked by Doug Williams, Jr., the son of the former Super Bowl Champion. He had five catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns in his first game, including touchdown catches from Williams that were 60 and 74 yards.


HIGH SCHOOL

Attended T.L. Hanna (Calhoun Falls, S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Kenya Fouch…Rated the third-best player in the nation by 247Sports.com during his senior season…Member of the MaxPreps.com Top 100 List…Rated 43rd by ESPN on their national recruit chart and Rivals.com regarded him as the nation’s 10th-best wide receiver…Scout.com ranked him ninth among the state of South Carolina’s high school prospects…Moved into the starting lineup during his sophomore season, producing 47 catches for 803 yards, eight kickoff returns for 208 yards, and eight punt returns for 107 yards…In 2008, he recorded 44 receptions for 776 yards and six touchdowns, adding 13 kickoff returns for 348 yards and a touchdown…Rated ninth in the state by the Charlotte Observer…Played in the Shrine Bowl and U.S. Army All-American game after receiving first-team all-state honors from The State and the High School Sports Report as a senior in 2009…Had 70 receptions for 722 yards and 11 touchdowns during his final campaign.


PERSONAL

Bryant is majoring in Community Recreation, Sport, & Camp Management…Born 12/20/91…Resides in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina.



Wide Receivers Coach Richard Mann on 4th Round Pick Martavis Bryant

Richard Mann: Good afternoon. Let’s talk a little bit about the guy we just chose in the draft. He is a big receiver that we were kind of hunting. We needed a guy different from what we have. We are delighted to get him. We think he has great length. He will be a great weapon in the red zone for us. One of the things he does very well is track the football. We feel like we got a guy to put opposite of Antonio Brown. I’m delighted to get him, and I’m surprised he lasted that long. He’s what I have been hunting. He and I just talked, and he’s delighted to come here. We had him here for a visit and we bonded then. We didn’t know we were going to get him. We didn’t think we were going to get him, but we got him and I’m delighted.

Were you campaigning for him last round?
I have been kind of campaigning for a big receiver this whole process. We lost Jerricho Cotchery. Jerricho did the dirty work as I call it on the strong side, which is where most of the running game is done. We just don’t have a guy with the stature and the make-up to be that guy. Hopefully what we expect is that this guy can pick up some of that slack and we will go to work and teach him what he needs to learn. We’ll be fine.

Would you say he has good speed for a big guy?
He has excellent speed for a big guy. Excellent speed. He does a really good job of tracking the ball. He does a good job of what I call putting a hump in his back and catching it over the top. A lot of times guys can’t do it, and it is very hard to teach. I have seen him do it so I know he’s capable of doing it.

Was this a guy that you thought could go as early as the second round?
We felt like we never know when they are going to go. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. He lasted. We were delighted we were able to get him. Felt like a second, third round guy. Probably had he played more, stayed another year he would have been a first rounder for sure. He’s played basically one year. The other years he didn’t play that much. Again we are delighted to have him. I think all that he needs to learn we will teach it to him.

Re: Questioning his work ethic and hands.
I think we work here. Coach Tomlin demands that. He’s going to fall in line with the rest of them. We’ll see to that. We have already talked about that. We talked about it when we had him in. We work as a group in that room, meaning the receivers. He will be part of that; he’s going to have to work also.

What about his hands?
I think his hands are ok. They all drop balls. I’ve seen him drop a ball, but I’ve seen all of them drop a ball. What we try and do is make sure that we work on the tricks of our trade as far as catching the football. A lot of the times it may be hand placement, maybe he’s trying to run with it before he catches it. So we’ll figure out what the problem is and hopefully we can get it solved.

Why did you need a tall WR so bad?
A lot of times in my opinion, you get cheap touchdowns in the redzone. A lot of times people know where the ball is going to go and there is nothing they can do about it. If there is a mismatch and that’s what we think we have with the reach that he has, the arms, and the wingspan, I feel like we can get some cheap touchdowns down there. Also the fact is that a lot of times balls are caught when you have big receivers like that just because of their length, and they cover the DBs up. He’s not afraid, so we feel like we can get some blocking and lock up on the corners and dig the safeties out with this guy. He has the body type to do it.

Re: His response to work ethic questions.
You know they are going to give you the right answers. I told him when I was there I got a lot of gray hair on my head. Most of it is gray. That’s old school and we go to work. The room that he’ll be in, he will work with the rest of the guys.

How is Martavis’ blocking ability at this point in his young career?
It’s adequate. By that I mean it will get better. We have to push him and work on it and make it important. If you make it important and work on it, then they’ll make it important and they’ll get better at it. Blocking is an attitude and you have to give him the right attitude. If you have the right attitude, you’ll block.

Do you feel like you’re also adding Marcus Wheaton to the WR group since he played so sparingly last season?
What I found out about Marcus last year was that he has good toughness. We all know he hurt his finger and we played him towards the end of the season because we didn’t have anybody else due to injuries. He never complained about it and I know it was hurting, so I found out something about him. I think some of the things that I saw him do in the preseason, up until he hurt that finger against Minnesota over in London, he went downhill a little after that, but up until that point, he was doing very well.

Isn’t Lance Moore effective in the red zone despite only being 5’9”?
From what I know about Lance, having played in that division, he’s a very good inside guy. He’s a very good option runner and moving the chains, he’s very good at that. That’s a lot what Jerricho Cotchery did for us. We feel he can pick up some of that slack. He’s not real big, so we’ll put him in spots where we can utilize his talents as much as we can.

Will Dri Archer have a role as a receiver?
Oh yeah. When I saw him, not that I’m playing back memories, but I had a little guy in Cleveland named Gerald McNeil, they called him ‘Ice Cube,’ and he reminds me of him. He was a very important receiver for me, so I think after talking to Coach Tomlin and Coach Saxon, he’ll probably move from running back to receiver to return guy. I can visualize us ‘jerry-rigging,’ is the word I use, stuff for him, things he can do well and not just put him in every down but ‘jerry-rig’ stuff for him where everybody knows he’s going to get it, but they just can’t do anything about it.

Is Martavis Bryant starter capable?
I think we will bring him in here and throw him in the mix with everybody else. We took him in the draft because we liked him. What I can say to you is that potentially he could be a starter. I’m not going to say that he is going to start, but potentially he could.

Does Markus Wheaton have the inside track as the starter going into the season?
Guys that have been here, we give them opportunities. He’s been here. He knows the offense. He’s got an inside edge, but the job is up for grabs. Everybody goes to work and in the end the coaches will make decisions. We put the best people on the field that afford us the best opportunity to win.

When you say that he has the potential to start, do you mean as a rookie?
Will have to see what we’ve got. I don’t think that it’s fair to him to say that he will start. You have to come in and work because we have other guys in the room. Potentially he will be a starter, you just never know. You play the best, that’s how you win.

Can you put players in certain situations to keep them from getting hurt?
What we did with Gerald McNeil was make sure we had a plan for him and we stuck to it. I think when you have guys like that, in my opinion, when you give them too much sooner or later you lose them. Football is a big man’s game, there is a place for the small guy, but you have to utilize them correctly and he’ll be a tool and a weapon. That’s what we did with ‘Ice Cube’ and this guy reminds me of him so much when he has the ball in his hands. He’s going to be fun to look at.


WR Martavis Bryant Conference Call - TRANSCRIPT

Did you think you would be available in the fourth round?

I wasn’t even thinking about it. I’m just happy to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and be part of the organization. I’m just ready to get to work.

 

What are your thoughts on coming to Pittsburgh and is it a good fit for you?

It’s a great fit. It’s a city I really wanted to come to. I told my mom the whole time I wanted to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and I’m glad that they have faith in me and I won’t let them down.

 

Why did you want to come to Pittsburgh?

It’s just a great city. When I took my visit I really enjoyed the coaches. I had a great talk with the receivers coach. It just seemed like the perfect place for me.

 

What do you bring to the passing game, especially in the red zone?

I bring a big threat in the red zone. I’ll do anything they ask me to.

 

What do you know about the Steelers and the receivers they have had in the past?

I know that Big Ben knows how to get the ball down the field and they have had some great receivers over the years. He loves throwing the ball deep so I just want to come and help. Help him out and get wins.

 

Do you believe you have to work on your underneath routes?

I’m going to work on everything. I’m not satisfied. I’m never satisfied, so I’m just going to continue to work on everything and get better every day.

 

Were you overshadowed at Clemson by Sammy Watkins?

I just did my part at Clemson. Sammy, he’s a great player, he’s like my brother. I got a lot of love for him so I’ve never been the type to feel that. Everything that the coaches asked me to do I did for the team and if it was playing behind him then it was playing behind him. So I would never feel like that.

 

Re: Why he didn’t play much over his career at Clemson:

I didn’t play just because we had a first rounder that I used to play behind with DeAndre Hopkins so that’s why I didn’t play as much.

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