The Steelers should draft a WR to be their big play RB
What makes Shenault different from other playmaking wide receivers?
I just finished watching the All 22 on Shenault and saw traits that could lead to a better outcome than what Green Bay has achieved with Jones. The WR out of Colorado has a better physical skill set than Jones. Once he has the ball in his hands, his instincts take over and the result is not that of a wide receiver running delicately through opponents’ front seven or secondaries. No. The result is much more akin to a player Steeler fans grew to know and love in the past decade, Le’ Veon Bell.
So how does this translate to Shenault being different than other playmakers? Simply put, the phrase you often hear with other WR’s who are dynamic with the ball in their hands is “he is special in space.” That is the difference. An offensive coordinator is not limited with Shenault. He does not need the ball in space to make plays. He’s effective between the tackles as a wildcat QB. He’s effective on bubble screens. He makes incredible catches in traffic, at times when triple covered, and his sure hands and competitive fire make him extremely dangerous on 50/50 balls downfield.
Some of my favorite plays by Shenault, however, are not of the long ball variety or even long runs out of the wildcat. No. The player teammates refer to as “Viska” stood out to me in film study most often on the 5-10 yard chain movers in which 4 or more defenders were required to bring him down. At 6’1″ and ~230 lbs, Shenault rarely, if ever, falls backward after first or second contact. Steeler fans will recall the draft of 2013 in which the team selected Le’Veon Bell out of Michigan State. Some might recall a bit of “controversy” over the fact that Eddie Lacy from Alabama was still available at the time. Fans had become accustomed to the kind of power a back like Jerome Bettis brought to the table, and Lacy seemed to have the build and resume to produce similar results.
Not so fast, said the Steelers’ brass. When asked about the pick, Mike Tomlin simply informed the public that Bell’s game film revealed a player who rarely, if ever, fell backward after contact. He always gained, even when stymied by poor blocking or great defense.
Shenault has that same toughness.