4 wide receiver prospects Steelers shouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy (WO40)
Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy (WO40) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the additions of veterans Quez Watkins and Van Jefferson, the Steelers still have a serious need for receiver help. While having ample receiver talent isn’t key for an Arthur Smith offense, you do need more than just George Pickens for a modern offense to survive. Following the trade of Diontae Johnson, this room is now extremely thin.

It seems likely that the Steelers will look to draft a capable second receiver for this offense. That makes sense given the overall depth of this class. I will caution Pittsburgh though, as some prospects are far better than others. In particular, these four receivers would be wise players to avoid during the 2024 draft.

Steelers shouldn’t draft Javon Baker

Javon Baker is a weird fit as a receiver right now. In a class of supreme talent and insane athletes, he is neither. That said, he was productive at UCF, and most expect him to get drafted somewhere on day two because of it.

Despite being a middling athlete, Baker was a good down-the-field threat due to his ability to win jump balls. That was his bread and butter. While he was ok in the short game, he wasn’t a potent run-after-the-catch guy. His calling card was vertical shots and red zone jump balls.

These types of players have a history of not working out. While winning on jump balls is great, against top NFL cornerbacks, more often than not you will get phased out of the game. Look at Pickens, who won almost exclusively that way in his rookie year. He had to update his game to remain relevant in year two.

Baker doesn’t have the traits to do that. Add in his struggles against press coverage and inconsistent hands and you have a mediocre prospect. I don’t see his fit in the NFL, and I would hate for the Steelers to waste a pick on him in the early-mid rounds.

Steelers shouldn’t draft Johnny Wilson

One of the freakiest players in this draft, Johnny Wilson has a rare size for the receiver position. Standing at nearly 6’7 while also running in the low 4.5s, he seems like a mismatch on paper. There aren’t many players that can match with an imposing player like that on a regular basis.

His issues are similar to Baker though. While not as completely reliant on the jump ball, Wilson is a player who wins with his size and physicality. While he can play fast when he has some space to get up to speed, that won’t happen often at the NFL level. He is sloppy as a receiver as well, as he lacks the footwork and technique to play the position that well.

In all likelihood, Wilson will need to make a shift to more of a tight-end role at the next level given these issues. If you do try and keep him at receiver, finding a role will be hard. He struggles to get off the line and his route running and overall technique is poor. He isn’t what this Steelers offense needs.

Steelers shouldn’t draft Keon Coleman

Let's go three for three on big, physical, jump-ball specialists! Of the aforementioned names, I think Keon Coleman has the best chance at succeeding in the NFL, but he struggles with the same things that the previous players did.

He is known for his contested catch ability, which is hard to rely on after you get drafted. As an outside receiver, his calling card was going up for the ball and making highlight-reel catches. His ability to do that hid his mediocre athleticism. Against top cornerbacks every week though, you won’t consistently win in the NFL.

Coleman, to me, will need to shift inside at the next level. He can be a physical chain mover that is hard to take down after the catch. You can still take vertical shots inside with him, but his game won’t be dependent on that.

Unfortunately, Smith’s offense doesn’t typically utilize a slot receiver that much, and this team is more in need of an outside threat as opposed to a slot option. I don’t think Coleman can succeed there, and given he is likely to in the second round, I don’t think this team can justify taking him.

Steelers shouldn’t draft Xavier Worthy

After blowing up the combine, Xavier Worthy has seemingly launched his draft stock into the late-first-round conversation. This is due to him breaking the forty-yard dash record and testing as an elite athlete overall. This has quite a few Steelers fans hoping for the team to draft him to add that speed element to this offense.

I feel like that would be a massive mistake. Worthy’s concerns don’t stem from his ability to separate like the other names on this list. In fact, that is arguably his best trait. The issue all comes down to his frame, as he only weighed in at 165 pounds at the combine. For a 5’11 receiver, that is extremely thin.

If he stays at that weight, he will regularly be playing against cornerbacks with 20-30-pound advantages over him. If he adds weight, he sacrifices the speed that makes him so coveted. If he was looked at as a fourth-round pick it would be one thing, but he is too big of a risk to be one of the Steelers top draft picks.

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While it seems likely that the Steelers add a receiver early in this draft, they would be wise to avoid one of these four players. Their college film makes me think their jump to the NFL will be a tough one, and with there being a wealth of receiver talent this year, those resources can be better spent elsewhere.