How Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Martavis Bryant almost ended up in New York

A fantastic piece on Rex Ryan and how is already putting his stamp on the Buffalo Bills included a fascinating nugget involving the Pittsburgh Steelers.

MMQB.com’s Jenny Vrentas wrote in-depth about Ryan and Buffalo embracing each other like long-lost brothers and also went in-depth about Ryan’s exit from the New York Jets.

According to the story, the disconnect -- and dysfunction -- between the coaching staff and Jets’ front office allowed wide receiver Martavis Bryant to fall to the Steelers in the 2014 NFL draft.

Bryant proved to be a steal for the Steelers as he caught 26 passes for 549 yards and eight touchdowns despite not dressing for the first six games of the season.

Bryant’s emergence is one reason why there are such high hopes for the Steelers’ offense after it finished second in the NFL last season with 411.1 yards per game.

And according to MMQB piece, Jets coaches pleaded with then-general manager John Idzik and his staff to take Bryant with the Jets’ third round pick.

New York instead picked cornerback Dexter McDougle, who missed all of last season because of a torn ACL. It then took wide receivers Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans with the two picks it made in the fourth before the Steelers snagged Bryant with the 128th overall selection.

Saunders lasted just three games with the Jets before they released the Oklahoma product. Evans missed the entire 2014 season because of a knee injury.

Bryant, meanwhile, came within one scoring reception of tying Louis Lipps for the Steelers’ record for most touchdown catches by a rookie.

What lends credence to the Jets’ coaching staff pushing for Bryant is Ryan had a connection to the 6-foot-4, 211-poundeer. Ryan’s son, Seth, plays wide receiver for Clemson and was teammates with Bryant in 2013.

“My son thought the world of him when he was there,” Ryan said last season during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters. “I love the fact he’s from Clemson. He’s provided quite a red-zone target for them.”

And should for many seasons to come.