The Steelers should be in the market for an offensive playmaker this season. Here’s why Clemson’s Tee Higgins has a chance to slip in the NFL Draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need to bolster their roster in a number of ways this offseason. Because money is so tight, much of their retooling will have to come via the NFL Draft. Wide receiver is a position that Pittsburgh could stand to upgrade, and in a terrific class, grabbing one in round two certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
A month ago, Tee Higgins never would have been a player that I could have seen falling to the Steelers. The true junior turned just 21 years old in January, and was incredibly productive in 2019 – managing 1,167 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 19.8 yards per catch.
Higgins was rumored to have run a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. However, official results from 247 Sports had that number at 4.54 and 4.56. Combine that with a terrible 20-yard shuttle (4.53) and a pathetic 31” vertical, and we are looking at a player who could see a big slide on draft day:
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) March 14, 2020
These numbers for Higgins are well below average compared to NFL wide receivers. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had his 40-yard dash number even lower:
My guess is that Tee Higgins’ somewhat disappointing testing numbers at his pro day (4.58/4.59 – 31″ vertical jump / 4.53 short shuttle) might push him out of the first round. The 10-yard split at 1.66 is way below the desired normal at receiver.
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) March 13, 2020
The Steelers apparently aren’t scared away by poor testing numbers by wide receivers. JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington tested just above average in their SPARQ scores coming out of college, and Diontae Johnson’s 102.8 SPARQ score (13th percentile) was well below league average, according to 3 Sigma Athlete.
Higgins does, however, check a lot of the boxes the Steelers typically look for. Like JuJu coming out of USC, Higgins is a young, productive football player with an incredible breakout age, and a solid market share of targets.
The Steelers are also in desperate need of a wide receiver that makes plays down the field. While Higgins is hardly a burner (as evidenced by his nearly 4.6 speed), he ha a massive catch radius with his 6’4” frame and 34 1/8” arms. While the speed is not ever going to be top-notch, he is the type of player that just wins down the field. A player that they are desperately lacking.
It’s entirely possible that Higgins is still drafted before the Steelers have a shot at him, but his numbers suggest he could hear his name slide on draft day. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert were on hand in person at his Pro Day. This could be a player Pittsburgh really likes.