The Pittsburgh Steelers could use depth at a number of positions this offseason, but here’s why taking a receiver at pick 49 makes so much sense.
Wide receiver is a position that Steelers fans have been eyeing since Pittsburgh’s offense finished 30th in the league in 2020. While the struggles clearly rested on the hands of the quarterback, wide receiver is a position the Steelers have zero depth at, and they could stand to add more competition.
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh may not share the same ideas about the position. In fact, the Steelers may not look to add depth at receiver until late in the draft. But is this the right move? Here are three reasons why Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert should look to address the position as early as the 49th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft:
WR could be best position available
If you have been following along throughout the draft process, then it’s no surprise to learn that this is an incredible wide receiver class. Many players that will fall into the second (and potentially even third round) would have been arguably among the top of last year’s group of receivers.
Between players like Jalen Reagor, Brandon Aiyuk, Bryan Edwards, Laviska Shenault, and Michael Pittman, several of these names are bound to be on the board when the 49th pick rolls around. The value here should be too good for the Steelers to pass on.
Steelers need to add completion and depth to WR
Though they had promising seasons in 2019, players like Diontae Johnson and James Washington are still very much unproven. If either suffers a slump in 2020, it could really limit Pittsburgh’s offensive potential. We’ve already seen JuJu Smith-Schuster take a step back in his play last season. While he could be much improved this year, there’s no guarantee he returns to 2018 form – when he had Antonio Brown playing opposite of him.
In addition, depth at receiver is a must. Outside of their top three players, only Deon Caine and Ryan Switzer are returning from the 2019 roster. If something were to happen to one of their top three receivers, Pittsburgh’s offense could struggle to put up points in 2020.
Steelers need an insurance policy for JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu is entering a contract year and is coming off a shaky season in which he was inefficient and often banged up. Based on his play in 2019, it would be really hard to justify making him one of the league’s highest-paid receivers (which is no doubt what he will expect to be).
If the Steelers aren’t able to come to terms with JuJu, having another weapon waiting in the wings could give them much-needed insurance if Smith-Schuster decides to go where the money will take him. Snagging a starting-caliber receiver at pick 49 would give them the option to let JuJu walk.
The Steelers still have a lot to figure out before the draft, but ignoring the wide receiver position early wouldn’t be a wise choice in a loaded draft class. Obviously, Pittsburgh needs to weigh want versus need, but I can almost assure you that receiver will be among the best position available when Pittsburgh picks at 49.