7th-Rounder Toney Clemons Now Has Our Attention

On paper, the Steelers had one of their best drafts in recent memory. Still, with training camp a couple months off, they’re looking for depth at wide receiver. Mike Wallace is taking his sweet time signing his tender, but I expect him to eventually put pen to paper. Then there’s Antonio Brown, Manny Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery. And that was the depth chart until Pittsburgh used a seventh-round pick on Colorado wideout Toney Clemons.

Having never seen (or heard of) Clemons, I reflexively pegged him as a camp body and, best-case scenario, a candidate for the practice squad. But after reading CBSSports.com’s Chuck Finder, I’m thinking the Steelers may have stumbled onto another late-round gem. First, the details from Finder:

“Toney Clemons, who transferred from Michigan to Colorado and played for four head coaches, is just finding himself. Look at ‘Southern Cal and Utah [tape], it jumps off the screen at you,’ coach Mike Tomlin said of two of Clemons’ final four collegiate games. ‘He made some combat catches downfield with DBs in position.’”

So that’s what I did — took a look at the USC and Utah tape. This ain’t Lee Mays 2.0:

More from Finder:

“Clemons has height (6-2), drive, personality and athletic ability that make him a good value. The heck with a big target for Big Ben Roethlisberger — at least Clemons could be a special-teams addition. ‘The thing that stands out is, he is a gym rat, he is competitive,’ Tomlin said.”

To recap: not only may have the Steelers stumbled across another quality wide receiver, but they’re apparently very serious about upgrading the offensive line and special teams. (Fifth-rounder Chris Rainey isn’t just a dangerous return man, he had six blocked punts during his college career; Pittsburgh also signed Georgia punter Drew Butler as an undrafted free agent.)

This team has totally reinvented itself in less than a week.

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  • Ian

    Don’t forget, Clemons is a local kid from New Kensington. You’d better believe the Valley High School product is going to be putting in extra effort playing for his hometown team.

  • Pierce

    Exceptional burst for a big bodied WR.

    He brings what our current WR corp lacks: someone who can fight for balls while blanketed by DBs because let’s face it, that’s not a strong part of Mike Wallace’s game.

  • Randy Steele

    “Combat Catches.” Another great Tomlinism.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6Q4WW4NJ3S2DETS4LIFJBTDYOE hanguk nam-ja

    why did this kid drop to the 7th round?  and why did he transfer so many times?  i want to believe,but i wanted to believe so badly with limas as well…

  • Rob D

    I’m must your average, “never played football” football fan but I think I can recognize talent when I see it.
    My heart was pumping watching those highlights..IMpressive.

    Whether that translates to on field NFL glory..we shall see..But a competitive “gym rat” with the measurables sounds like a good start.

  • Raveloma

    Hmm…I don’t usually find myself disagreeing with too many members of Steeler Nation, but I didn’t see what all the hype was about in those two videos. I do recognize his ability to fight for balls while being blanketed and he might turn out to be a decent zone buster from the looks of it, but what most stood out to me was his lack of seperation. Except for the catches where he wasn’t wide open because of either blown coverage or where he was sitting in between zone coverage, it looked like the defender was always right with him. Being a bigger-bodied kid, I would like to see him handle some of the smaller CBs he was up against in some of his film. I didn’t really see him seperate too much. Playing in the north with press-man coverage might give him fits. Hopefully that something that the coaching staff can help him improve.