3. Vance McDonald
Vance has always been known to have the potential to be one of the leagues best tight ends because of his abilities as both a receiver and a blocker in the run game. Health is everything when it comes to McDonald, as he has shown flashes of offensive prowess. We saw that in 2018 versus the Buccaneers. A stiff arm that sent Safety Chris Conte straight to the ground was enough to realize that Steelers fans were going to love this guy.
The departure of Antonio Brown leaves 168 targets on the table for someone to grab. Jesse James leaving left 39 available targets. Who is to say that Vance can’t absorb at least 50% of that target share and become a stud? The Vanimal will need to step into that #2 pass catcher role in Pittsburgh or else the offense will be forced to become one-dimensional.
McDonald will need to serve as the second, if not first option in the red zone for Ben. The targets over the middle of the field will also help to ease Juju Smith-Schuster into that WR1 role.
Week 1 the Steelers play the Patriots. What do the Pats do best? Take away your best player. I think that Vance will need to succeed in order for the Steelers to win in Week 1 and for the rest of the season as well.