The Pittsburgh Steelers have a new face among their wide receivers. Here is everything you need to know about former Colts receiver, Deon Cain.
Just a few short years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers had arguably the best group of wide receivers in the National Football League. In 2017, Antonio Brown was a legitimate number one receiver who could win at every level, Martavis Bryant was a premier deep threat, and JuJu Smith-Schuster was having an excellent rookie season.
However, things have taken a drastic downward turn since then. Bryant was traded by the Steelers to the Raiders and was later suspended (again) after a positive drug test. Brown forced his way out of Pittsburgh this offseason, and JuJu has been dealing with nagging injuries.
In the second half of their game against the Browns last Thursday, Pittsburgh was forced to deploy players like Johnny Holton and Tevin Jones.
With options limited, the Steelers sought help in the form of Deon Cain.
Cain, a former Clemson product, was a big part of the passing game for Deshaun Watson and the Tigers during their National Championship run. Over his last two seasons in college, Cain combined for 66 receptions, 1,458 yards, and 15 touchdowns.
Early in the draft process, some experts thought that Cain could hear his name called on day two. However, he fell all the way to the 6th round, where the Indianapolis Colts selected him.
Cain was a good athlete for his size coming out of college. While he didn’t perform particularly well in the explosion drills at the NFL Combine, the Clemson product showcased a rare combination of speed and agility to go with his size and length. Here are how his athletic measurables compare to other NFL receivers, according to Mockdraftable:
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) November 18, 2019
Though Cain is an intriguing prospect for the Steelers with his combination of size and speed, another former Colts receiver, Donte Moncrief, didn’t exactly pan out for them.
Cain has had some opportunities as a rookie with the Colts – even starting three games – however, he failed to make the most of them and was ultimately replaced. In his first 7 games of his career, Cain has managed just 4 catches and 52 yards.
The former Colts receiver has also fared very poorly with Pro Football Focus to begin his career. According to PFF, Deon Cain is just the 115th ranked receiver out of 124 qualifying players. Ironically enough, Johnny Holton has received the lowest grade of any receiver this season (which is understandable after catching just 1 of 13 targets this season.
It’s hard to consider Deon Cain anything more than a limited-role depth option for Pittsburgh at this point in time. But like so many players, perhaps a fresh start is all he needs to revive his NFL career. Cain is still just 23 years old, and it stands to reason that he could start to show improvements.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson both dealing with concussions, anything the Steelers could get out of Cain would be an added bonus at this point. Keep your expectations low for now, but perhaps he will find a way to make a difference for this football team at some point this season.