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'Swole' Steelers WR Martavis Bryant packed on 10 lbs

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Yes, offseason tropes can become overbearing, redundant notes of minutia that will mean diddly when games actually start to matter.

Yet in early June, these seemingly ever-present storylines can also offer us the opportunity to discuss a player or team that we might not have otherwise.

The most recent exhibit: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant.

After missing the first six games of his rookie season, Bryant splashed onto the scene to haul in 26 passes for 549 yards and eight scores. His 21.1 yards per reception led the NFL. The 6-foot-4 pass-catcher clearly became the Steelers' No. 2 wideout behind Antonio Brown and is poised to make an even bigger leap in 2015.

To accomplish that leap Bryant bulked up, adding 10 pounds from his rookie weight and is now a robust 225. Or as teammate Tajh Boyd called him: "swole."

"Everyone gets bigger and better every year," Bryant said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I wanted to make sure I got better. I didn't want to slack off or become complacent. I had some things I wanted to get done in the offseason, so I went to work."

Player X gained/lost weight while looking to improve/bounce back is one of the classic offseason tropes.

But it's noteworthy in Bryant's case in that he will be asked to shoulder more of the load this season.

Looking at the receiver's film, Bryant possesses smooth speed and ability to change direction. While he uses his hands well enough to get off the line, his thin frame made him susceptible to jams and physical play. Perhaps the one area adding muscle mass can aid the 23-year-old receiver most is fighting for the ball. High pointing didn't appear to be Bryant's strong suit, and unless he boxed out the defender he didn't win many 50/50 contests with corners.

Bryant believes a full offseason will aid his improvement after he fell behind last year after not being conditioned, struggling with the playbook and ultimately spraining his shoulder in the final preseason game.

"It's a lot easier because I'm in shape," Bryant said. "I don't have to think like I did last year. I'm not stressing about learning the plays. Everything is slower for me. I don't have to do a lot of thinking. Now it's about going out, playing, performing and having fun with it."

If the offseason work did the trick, Bryant will be the perfect complement to Brown in Ben Roethlisberger's passing attack as a deep weapon and massive red-zone target who will gobble up touchdowns on 1-on-1 matchups. 

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses offseason clichés and who are the NFL's most valuable non-QBs. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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