Pittsburgh Steelers: JuJu Smith-Schuster among top 10 second-year players to watch

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 31: JuJu Smith-Schuster
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 31: JuJu Smith-Schuster /

Anyone expecting Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster, to fall off in 2018 didn’t get a glimpse of his talent as a rookie.

The former USC star came to the NFL as a slot receiver entering one of the best wide receiving cores in the league. But in no time at all, Smith-Schuster found himself as one of the hottest young names in football.

This year, Smith-Schuster is moving up the line of the receivers in Pittsburgh. With Martavis Bryant in Oakland following a draft day trade, the Steelers put a lot of marbles into JuJu becoming their next No. 2 receiver.

While he won’t be moving out of the slot, as James Washington takes over the outside role of Bryant, Smith-Schuster will be the second favorite target of Ben Roethlisberger’s. Because of all this, the fun-loving receiver found himself on the top second-year players to watch in 2018. 

Ranked by NFL Network’s Nate Burleson, Smith-Schuster sits behind Marcus Lattimore and head of Mitch Trubisky. A list filled with some of the most exciting players in football, already, the Steelers’ wideout is looking to be one of the brightest spots to this offense in 2018.

Smith-Schuster finished his rookie season with 58 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. Outside of Antonio Brown, JuJu was Big Ben’s second-favorite target in just his first year in the league. A promising start to his NFL career.

Being placed on this list was somewhat expected by the Steelers fanbase. Watching Smith-Schuster last year, it was easy to tell he was going to be a force in this league for a long time. Not many expect a sophomore slump, even with him being out of OTA’s for the time being.

Next: 3 positions to focus on this summer

As long as he’s as healthy as he should be, JuJu should be one of the NFL’s brightest second-year guys. The Steelers are looking for him to be a major factor in their Super Bowl push, and judging from his first year, Burleson is right about Smith-Schuster being something to looking forward to this season.