5 bold Pittsburgh Steelers training camp predictions in 2020

Tommy Jaggi
Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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James Washington Pittsburgh Steelers ((Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

James Washington will be labeled Steelers number two wide receiver over Diontae Johnson

Diontae Johnson was terrific as a rookie last year for the Steelers. He led all rookies in receptions and led all NFL wide receivers in separation per route run, according to Next Gen Stats. However, don’t be so quick to write off James Washington.

Washington had a terrific season in his own right last year. Despite the inability of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges to deliver quality passes down the field, Washington still finished 21st in the league in yards per target despite ranking 99th in catchable target rate, according to PlayerProfiler. While he may not be the biggest player or the most gifted athlete on the field, his ability to track a poorly thrown ball and use his powerful hands to go up and get it reminded some draft analysts of DeAndre Hopkins coming out of college.

Remember, Washington led the Steelers in receiving last year with 735 yards, and he had a stretch of games in the second half of the season where he looked like Pittsburgh’s clear-cut number one receiver.

While he may only finish third on the team in targets this year, Washington could be labeled as the Steelers number two receiver and could be on the field for more two-receiver sets than Diontae Johnson – especially with Washington’s willingness to block in the run game.