The Steelers may be loaded at almost every position on offense, but it is the wide receiver group that reigns supreme.
Offensively, the Pittsburgh Steelers have very few, if any, weaknesses at a particular position. They have an elite offensive line, a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback, and one of the best running backs in the league, but none of these positions are the team’s biggest strength. Rather, it is the wide receiver group that makes up the offense’s strongest asset.
Pittsburgh has done an excellent job of surrounding Ben Roethlisberger with quality weapons, as the team has an embarrassment of riches of sorts at the receiver position. The rich got richer when the Steelers selected JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Smith-Schuster selection looked to be somewhat of a luxury pick considering all of the talent the team already had at receiver. With Martavis Bryant being reinstated prior to the draft and Sammie Coates expected to come back fully healthy, many believed Pittsburgh would forego the receiver position in the early rounds. Bryant seemed particularly annoyed with the selection, as he voiced his opinion on twitter immediately after the pick was announced.
The Steelers now have four receivers on the roster who were taken in the third round of the draft or earlier, including Darrius Heyward-Bey (first round), Sammie Coates (third round), and Smith-Schuster. The team also signed Justin Hunter, a former second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, to a one-year deal in the off-season.
It’s clear that the Steelers like to invest into the wide receiver position, possibly more than any other position on the roster. But there are two things they seem to do better than almost every other team: finding under-the-radar talent, and developing them into studs. Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant — the team’s top receivers and two of the best in the league — were sixth-round and fourth-round draft picks, respectively. Also, former undrafted free agent Eli Rogers has developed into a solid and reliable slot receiver since being signed to the team in 2015.
There isn’t a single team in the league with a better receiving corps than Pittsburgh’s, and maybe two or three teams who are on par. Barring any major injuries — or suspensions– the Steelers should score a lot of points this season.