Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Replacement

The team was looking for speed at the receiver position formerly manned by Plaxico Burress, and that's what they got when they signed Cedrick Wilson of the 49ers in free agency. The X position is designed for big plays and deep passes and Wilson, who has been timed at 4.3, should be a good fit. He also fits the profile of the type of player the Steelers usually seek in free agency -- a person who is on the rise and still has his best seasons ahead of him. Wilson had 47 catches and 641 yards last season for the 49ers after being a sixth-round pick in 2001. He is nearly 7 inches shorter than Burress, an unrestricted free agent, but he has the speed to beat corners down the field. Plus, he should benefit from the attention given to four-time Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward. Wilson will compete with Antwaan Randle El for the starting spot opposite Ward, but Randle El is better served as the third receiver in the slot. The coaches are concerned Randle El doesn't have the size and strength to survive at the X position.