Ranking Pittsburgh Steelers best options at slot receiver in 2021

Ray-Ray McCloud #14 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Ray-Ray McCloud #14 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud (14) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

JuJu Smith-Schuster has expressed that he wants to play outside receiver in 2021, but here are the best options for the Steelers in the slot this year. 

There aren’t many teams in the NFL that are truly four-deep at wide receiver like the Pittsburgh Steelers. By the NFL analysts’ definition of a “number one receiver,” the Steelers may not currently have one. They have a handful of young, skilled wide-outs who excel in different areas. However, this is still a very good group.

Recently, JuJu Smith-Schuster voiced that he wants to play on the outside instead of being limited to being primarily a slot receiver. However, I wrote about why that may not be a good decision. Because of this, I took the liberty of ranking the top four slot receiver options for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021:

4. Ray-Ray McCloud

Ray-Ray McCloud is not a player I would define as a natural receiver. He’s not the savviest route runner nor does he have particularly impressive hands to pluck the ball out of the air. However, he could be a serviceable option from the slot.

Much like former Steelers receiver, Ryan Switzer, McCloud is known for his ability as a punt returner and gadget player more than a natural receiver. From everything we have seen so far, McCloud is a player who offensive coordinators need to engineer touches for, and being targeted in the passing game isn’t really something that just comes naturally.

At 5’9 1/2” with 30 1/4” arms, McCloud is a small receiver with a tiny catch radius. His best plays on the field will probably come when there is pre-snap motion and the threat of the jet sweep, but the Steelers have better options to deploy in the slot.