The Pittsburgh Steelers traded Martavis Bryant to the Oakland Raiders for a third round pick. This immediately made receiver a need in the draft and the Steelers filled it with this pick.
The Pittsburgh Steelers did what many thought they would do after 2018. The team got rid of Martavis Bryant on the night of the first round.
This should not come as a shock after last season’s issues and drama with the young receiver. The timing was a little surprising but the deal was perfect for the team.
The Oakland Raiders came calling and offered the 79th overall pick in return for Bryant. The Steelers could not accept the offer fast enough. This pick would come in handy later but we will speak on that when we meet another Steelers draftee later.
This trade left the Steelers depth chart thin at receiver and the team did something about that. The Steelers selected James Washington with their second round selection.
Washington is 5’11” 213 pound receiver from Oklahoma State. His college career is littered with production and awards from his playing days there.
He put up 4,472 yards and 39 touchdowns with 226 receptions in four years. He did not get significant playing time until 2015 but when he did he railed off three straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Washington’s most telling stat of his career is his 19.8 yards per catch average. This makes the shorter receiver a deep ball threat in the NFL in Pittsburgh’s passing attack.
Washington is only 5’11” but he plays bigger than he is. His 4.54 speed may have some saying he is not that fast but the combine speed is not telling of his actual play speed.
Washington was awarded the Biletnickoff award in 2017, which is given to the most outstanding receiver in college football each year. He was also a consensus all-american in 2017.
His ability to stretch the field and run after the catch will help fill the spot previously held by Bryant. Washington will join Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster in the receiver room this season.
With an all-pro like Brown and a great young receiver in Smith-Schuster, Washington is in prime position to learn and succeed in a loaded offense for Pittsburgh. His abilities will mesh well with the rest of the group and give Ben Roethlisberger another weapon to utilize in 2018 and beyond.
Washington will do well to soak in all he can from the veterans on this team. The third receiver spot is his and he will see the field a lot in his rookie season. He is poised to be the second rookie receiver to break out in Pittsburgh in as many years, following in former second-round pick Smith-Schuster’s shoes.