Derek Moye hoping to use height in a more productive way


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Two minutes remained in the first half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sept. 16, 2013 when Steelers wide receiver Derek Moye snagged his first NFL touchdown pass, a 1-yard rainbow in the back of the end zone from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The touchdown tied the score, 10-10, but the Steelers eventually lost, 20-10, as they slogged toward a disappointing 8-8 record.

Moye played in seven games in 2013. This year, he is hoping he can beat out some new receivers and retain a job.

READ MORE: Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 5.30.14

"To be honest, it doesn't really matter who else is on the roster," Moye said earlier this week amid organized team activities (OTAs) at the South Side training facility. "I've got to play well, and, if I don't, no matter who or who isn't on the roster, I won't be here."

At the end of 2013, Moye, at 6 feet 5, was the only receiver on the roster taller than 6-1. Now, he finds himself looking up -- on the depth chart.

After losing receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery in free agency, free agents Darrius Heyward-Bey and Lance Moore as well as fourth-round draft pick Martavis Bryant were brought in to help offset the departures and improve an offense that ranked 20th in the league in yards per game.

Moye, a Rochester Area High School graduate, recently traveled to Newport Beach, Calif., with Roethlisberger and receivers Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown to train and improve route-running and timing.

"Moye is getting so good," Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell said. "Even last year, I saw him getting better and better each and every week. I'm excited to see Moye, too. He's a bigger receiver, a tall receiver.

"He can go up and get it and he can run. I'm definitely excited to see him."

Though Bryant, a 6-4 receiver from Clemson, has been mentioned as a potential starter this season, Moye still will be given the chance to earn a roster spot despite the lack of production in 2013.

He was active for seven games, caught two passes and was targeted only six times. He also dropped a Roethlisberger pass in end zone Oct. 20 against the Baltimore Ravens, a game the Steelers eventually won.

Moye's career at Penn State was distinguished enough to get him a look in the NFL. He finished his Penn State career as the school's third all-time receiving yards leader (2,395). He had eight touchdowns and 885 receiving yards as a junior.

READ MORE: Ed Bouchette at the Steelers Blog

Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Miami in May 2012, Moye ended up on the Steelers practice squad by the end of that season. He made the Steelers 53-man roster out of training camp last year.

Moye, listed at 210 pounds, said he has added about 4 pounds since last spring. He said being in the Steelers system for a year has made it a lot easier and, when hearing a play in the huddle, he can execute his route instead of thinking about it.

"Last year, when I played well in the preseason and I got a few chances in the season, I showed it wasn't just a fluke," he said. "I'm looking forward to gaining from the performances of last year and carry them into this season and, hopefully, getting a shot to play a bigger role with this team."

Even though Antonio Brown is the only returning receiver who took a significant number of snaps last season, Moye said he has worked with special-teams coordinator Danny Smith in a bid to enhance his value and chances of making the team.

"Martavis, he has the size and speed, but, you know, I feel like I have the size and speed and the ability to go up and get the ball, as well," Moye said.

"Really, I think I'm a pretty complete receiver. I'm just going to try and carry it over to the field."

RJ Schaffer RSchaffer@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rjschaffer.


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