7 Steelers who need to start against the Browns in Week 17

Justin Layne Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Justin Layne Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud (14) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Ray-Ray McCloud

The Steelers got quite the find when they scooped Ray-Ray McCloud off the free-agent pile late in the offseason. He has brought a level of stability to the return game that has been lacking in recent years. As well, he has been a fun player to watch on offense even if his playing time there has decreased over the past couple of weeks. With the Steelers set to rest some starters, it will be a good opportunity to see just what McCloud can provide on offense.

Given his size, McCloud would make the most sense as a slot receiver, and with JuJu Smith-Schuster a likely sit given his veteran status amongst the group, McCloud could be the primary slot receiver on the day. Given the opportunity in this game, it would also make sense to give Diontae Johnson some snaps on the inside, as his route running, and elusiveness makes him a seemingly natural fit on the inside. That said, he also should see limited playing time this week, making McCloud the more intriguing option.

Considering Smith-Schuster’s future with the Steelers very much in question, seeing what they have at slot receiver moving forward would be a big plus. While unlikely, if McCloud can show some sharp routes and make a few plays down the field, he could throw his name in the hat at slot receiver next year. At the very minimum, his solid play makes him deserving of some offensive playing time this week.