WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
HT: 5-10, WT: 186, Born: 7-10-1988, College: Central Michigan, Drafted: Round 6
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Average draft position
Current as of May 6th. [Full ADP list]Overall: V Ballard (59), T Smith (60), Antonio Brown (61), R Wilson (62), B Green-Ellis (63)
Position: M Wallace (57-WR23), T Smith (60-WR24), Antonio Brown (61 - WR25), D Amendola (64-WR26), G Jennings (67-WR27)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of May 6th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: A Luck (60), M Wallace (61), Antonio Brown (62), T Smith (63), R Wilson (64)
Position: D Amendola (57-WR23), M Wallace (61-WR24), Antonio Brown (62 - WR25), T Smith (63-WR26), G Jennings (65-WR27)
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With the loss of Mike Wallace (Dolphins) in free agency we will see Antonio Brown as the top wide receiver of the Steelers in 2013. He's a good fit for the Todd Haley offense because of his fearlessness when running routes over the middle and run after the catch ability. The Haley offense is built around a short passing game and Brown has earned the trust of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during his career with his reliable hands and knack for making the big play during a critical time.
|2||at Cincinnati Bengals|
|4||at Minnesota Vikings|
|6||at New York Jets|
|8||at Oakland Raiders|
|9||at New England Patriots|
|12||at Cleveland Browns|
|13||at Baltimore Ravens|
|16||at Green Bay Packers|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Despite the return of Mike Wallace, Brown continued to be a favorite target of Ben Roethlisberger. He tied for the team lead with eight targets, despite being covered by Denver’s best cornerback, Champ Bailey, for most of the game. Brown’s first catch came on a 3rd-and-3 and resulted in a first down for five yards. His second catch was more impactful, as it went for 23 yards on a 3rd-and-11 play. Last season, Brown clearly became Roethlisberger’s most trusted target on third downs, and that looks to have continued. Brown received an endzone target in the second quarter on a play from the Denver three-yard line. One on one against Bailey, he ran a quick slant, but the veteran made a great play to knock the ball down. He received another chance to score in the third quarter when he ran a deep dig route to the middle of the field at the goal line. Roethlisberger, who was hit as he threw, delivered the ball slightly behind, and the back-hip throw was batted away by the safety. Brown’s arrow continues to point upward. Wallace’s return probably enhances his value, as opposed to taking it away.
Week 2 - Brown continues to be a dynamic weapon. He received a carry on a “jet sweep” type of play and gained nine yards and a third-down conversion. He also continued to present himself in the middle of the field and be a trusted target for Roethlisberger. Brown runs very precise routes and has great hands. He plays much bigger than he really is and clearly has the trust of the play-callers and his quarterback. One mildly troubling aspect of the team’s offense is the use of three-tight end sets, which took Brown off the field. Supplementing the run game is necessary, but it wasn’t even effective. The team needs to leave Brown on the field because he’s too good of a playmaker not to be. They also had a few snaps with Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery in a two-wide set but ran the ball three of the four times that occurred. It’s an intriguing set, and it’s puzzling as to why Brown and Mike Wallace would be off the field in two-wide sets.
Week 3 - While Brown ended 2011 as Roethlisberger’s favorite target, he’s clearly behind Mike Wallace at the moment. While Brown still had the same amount of targets as Wallace, his presented less opportunity than Wallace’s did. Brown still works the middle of the field effectively and presents a threat after the catch, however, he fumbled twice in this game. He recovered the first one in the endzone for a touchdown, but Oakland recovered the second one, which was pivotal in their dramatic comeback. The fumble isn’t likely to make the team – or Roethlisberger – less confident in him, particularly when their next game isn’t for two weeks. Brown is still a very dangerous player in space and can gain chunks of yardage to keep the team ahead of schedule on quick passes to the outside. He’s the kind of player who will take the pivotal fumble and get better from it, as opposed to having his confidence shaken.
Week 5 - Antonio Brown was heavily involved for the Steelers against the Eagles, but he had an inconsistent outing. Brown finished the game with seven receptions for 86 yards, but it is his drops that will stick out. He dropped an open slant pass over the middle early in the game that would have converted a third down into a first, before dropping an open touchdown pass when he couldn't coral the football with his hands after beating Nnamdi Asomugha deep. Asomugha spent a lot of time on Brown, but Brown got the best of him for the most part. He was consistently beating Asomugha's attempted jams at the line of scrimmage. He caught an out route on a rollout that was underthrown for his first catch of the day. Brown adjusted well to coral the football while sliding towards the sideline. He then drew a holding call on Asomugha after beating him with his quickness. Asomugha was having a tough time. When he dropped into an off-coverage position, Roethlisberger threw Brown a quick pass underneath which he carried past Asomugha for a big gain. Brown caught a variety of passes, but his big touchdown drop early in the game almost proved crucial to the outcome of the game.
Week 6 - Considering the opponent, this will likely end up being Brown’s worst game of the season. He was targeted often but couldn’t make many catches. The very first play of the game was a deep shot down the right sideline that was well-covered. Late in the second quarter, with the team driving, Brown was targeted down the sideline again, but the play was intercepted. Brown could have potentially put up a bigger fight for the ball, but it was underthrown slightly and would have been difficult to get a hand on. Coverage was a big part of the problem for Brown as it appeared that Tennessee was putting emphasis on him – especially in 3rd down situations, where he’s been so effective the past two seasons. Because of the coverage on Brown and Wallace, Heath Miller became the 3rd down go-to guy. While Brown is still the team’s best option in those situations, that’s a role that is likely to turn into a “take what the defense gives” situation for Pittsburgh all season long. Another issue, though, was the Brown’s typically sure hands didn’t appear to be with him throughout the night. One play in particular stuck out – a short slant pass that he couldn’t hold on to. The coverage was tight, but the overall degree of difficulty wasn’t high. One play that hurt Brown in the box score that certainly wasn’t his own doing was an endzone target where he beat his man so handily that the defender had no choice but to basically tackle Brown before the ball arrived. What would have been a sure touchdown turned into a short rushing TD for Baron Batch.
Week 7 - Brown led the Steelers in receiving yardage against the Bengals. He caught seven of the eight balls that came his way including a beautiful 23 yard reception down the left side on the Steelers' first drive of the game. Brown also had a long punt return called back by penalty. Brown was most effective on receiver screens to the left side and drag routes across the middle of the field where his speed off the line proved to be a challenge for the Bengals defense. Brown was in line to throw a touchdown as well. On the play, he took the ball on a reverse from right to left and threw a perfect spiral to running back Baron Batch. Batch had broken free down the left sideline and appeared all alone. The ball hit his hands in stride near the five yard line but the running back was unable to catch the ball which would have led to a sure touchdown. All told, Brown's performance was much better than that of teammate Mike Wallace who dropped a number of passes in the game. Brown continues to improve as a route runner and looks the ball all the way in to his hands before trying to turn upfield. His best routes are those where he catches the ball on the run coming from the outside to the middle of the field at which point his experience as a returner allows him to read the gaps in front of him and turn upfield for positive yardage.
Week 8 - Brown, like Wallace, is doing a lot of his work after catching short passes. He’s the best route-runner on the team and still the most reliable third-down option. In what is a rare occurrence, he did not catch a third-down pass in this game, but two of his catches (both on first down) did gain first down yardage. Brown’s most exciting play of the game actually came on special teams but was nullified by penalty. He appeared to have returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown, but a block in the back wiped the play away. One thing that is potentially limiting Brown’s ceiling is the emergence of Heath Miller in the passing game. Brown’s best work in his short career has been done in the middle of the field – a space in which Miller has been thriving all year long. Brown ran one of the few vertical routes called by Pittsburgh in this game and was beating single coverage, but pressure on Ben Roethlisberger didn’t allow the throw to be made. A decent throw would have been a sure-fire touchdown.
Week 9 - Antonio Brown was taken out of the game very early with an injury but the Steelers were able to replace him just enough to take care of the Giants. Brown sustained a high ankle sprain with a pass attempt deep down the field. Brown caught some short-intermediate passes against the Giants before the injury but only for modest gains. The injury happened early in the first half and Brown never got much of an opportunity to produce.
Week 13 - Brown's first reception came against off coverage when he ran a curl route short of the first down markers on third and 13. Batch took his first deep shot to Brown down the right sideline in the first quarter, when he just overthrew him. Brown was open however and it would have been a huge gain. Brown's next reception went for just four yards as they threw a quick screen to him that was well defended. On a fake end around, Brown dropped back and threw a pass across the field to the right sideline. He threw the ball up between Jonathan Dwyer and Corey Graham, the defender intercepted it. Brown should have tucked it and run because there was no positive play to be made by passing. A 34 yard gain on a deep crossing route was Brown's biggest impact by the end of the third quarter. Brown caught a quick pass in the flat against off coverage for a gain of four yards when he pushed the cornerback upfield. Brown caught another quick pass in the flat as the Steelers were willing to take the underneath room late in the game. The Steelers went straight back to Brown in the flat, but this time on a play-action screen pass that gave him two blockers out in front. Brown meandered forward for a first down and eight yards. Brown didn't appear to be 100 percent, but he was healthy enough to be an effective weapon, but may it would be better if he stuck to catching, opposed to throwing, passes from here on out.
Week 14 - Despite scoring a touchdown, this wasn’t one of Brown’s better performances. He dropped at least two catchable passes, including one that bounced right off of his chest deep downfield. QB Ben Roethlisberger did a terrific job of avoiding the pass rush and fired one downfield to Brown, who couldn’t hang on. The defender may have gotten there a bit early and interfered on the play, but it was still a catchable pass. Brown did do a nice job later in the half to pick up a first down that helped extend a drive and put the Steelers in field goal range. With arms outstretched, he reached for the ball near the sideline and then tapped his back toe inbounds for the catch. His touchdown reception came on a quick inside slant from a yard out with under a minute left to play, and didn’t impact the game in any meaningful way.
Week 15 - Brown beat Mike Jenkins running a quick out from the slot against single coverage. He caught the pass for a first down. Brown made an excellent reception over the middle when he worked back to the football and endured a big hit from Sterling Moore to convert for a first down and a big play. The Steelers went straight back to him on a bubble screen that went for a four yard gain. It wasn't well blocked, as the defense read it, but Brown pushed his way forward. After his quarterback evaded pressure, Brown stayed alive running across the field for a reception down the field and a first down. Brown wasn't as heavily involved in the offense as he normally is when fully healthy, but came free at the goalline from a stacked formation to evade Mike Jenkins for a touchdown at the goalline. After his fumble on the punt return, the Steelers next went back to Brown with a bubble screen that was limited to two yards. Brown caught a slant pass for a first down against single coverage after Roethlisberger couldn't connect with him on a deep comeback. Brown made another mistake on a punt return by not catching the ball, before running out of bounds on a third and 20+checkdown to stop the clock for the Cowboys.
Week 16 - Brown caught a quick out for a five yard gain on a very impressive low grab after the ball was tipped in flight. Brown's first two receptions were both very athletic impressive catches down low as he adjusted well on a curl for his second and six yards. Brown's third reception was different, but just as impressive as he stretched out on the sideline for a first down. Roethlisberger went straight back to Brown on a double move for a 60 yard touchdown. Brown was playing like Jerry Rice on offense, but Garo Yepremian on special teams as he consistently struggled with his returns. Brown caught a 14 yard pass on a deep crossing route when, critically, he drove back to the football ahead of the defender.
Week 17 - Brown's first reception went for 43 yards on a deep crossing route, but the play was negated for a holding call in the backfield. That didn't take away from the play that Brown made however. Brown's next involvement was an end around when he was tackled in the backfield as soon as he got the ball. Brown's first reception that counted came over the middle when he sat down against zone coverage for a first down. Brown took a sweep pass when he motioned into the backfield, he avoided a defender in the backfield before breaking outside for a nine yard gain. Brown caught a touchdown pass a few plays later when he broke inside as Roethlisberger scrambled in the pocket.