3. George Pickens, WR
Are you surprised to see George Pickens this high on the list of Steelers who can't afford to get injured for the sake of the team? While making him out to be the third most important player to this franchise might seem like a bit of a stretch considering that he still has a lot to prove, there are a number of reasons why I believe this to be the case.
For starters, let's talk about the value of the wide receiver position in the NFL. There's a reason wide receiver is one of the highest-paid positions in the NFL. Currently, there are a whopping 13 NFL wide receivers earning between $20-30 million per season (and an additional 17 earning $10+ million per year).
The NFL shows you what they think of the value of the wide receiver positions, but it's not just owners, coaches, and front offices that hold this view. Pro Football Focus has a metric called 'WAR', which stands for 'Wins Above Replacement'. Their advanced data suggests that receivers are the second most important position in the NFL outside of quarterback.
While Diontae Johnson is also valuable to the team and his ability to create separation with ease is nice, he was somewhat of a determent to Pittsburgh at times last year due to his inconsistencies. Pickens, on the other hand, is a budding star and could be a force in the red zone. The passing game may have to run through him and he will be the receiver that other teams game plan to try to stop.