6 intriguing day-two wide receivers Steelers could target in the NFL Draft
By Evan Bachman
Heading into the 2023 NFL draft the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to add talent to both sides of the ball. After the Chase Claypool deal at the deadline, they now have two picks in the top 32 and four picks in the top 80.
With Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and last year’s fourth-rounder Calvin Austin III the Steelers don’t necessarily have a need at receiver. However, in today’s game it’s paramount to always be looking to add pass catchers to the offense.
It’s no secret that the Steelers have a very good track record of developing day two wide receivers in the Mike Tomlin era. This includes Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and most recently George Pickens who had a promising rookie year.
6. Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
Kicking off this list of potential wide receiver targets for the Steelers is North Carolina’s Josh Downs who could step in and be a starting slot receiver for a lot of teams in the NFL including the Steelers.
Downs was one of the best receivers in college football over the past two seasons. In 2021 he was fifth in the power five with 1,335 yards and followed that up with another 1000-yard season this season.
He brings an intriguing skillset to the table. Downs is a good route runner simply because of how effortlessly he moves, not often do you see receivers in college with his quickness and ability to change directions. He also has shown an ability to win on a variety of different routes, which is excellent for his projection as a route runner.
The fact UNC utilized him as a punt returner shows you how dynamic he can be in the open field with the ball in his hands as well. One particular play that stood out to me came against Virginia when he made about four different players miss on a punt return.
He not only can win as a separator but he also can track and adjust to the ball well when it’s in the air. Oftentimes with shorter, slot receivers like him, it’s assumed that he’ll need to create a lot of separation in order to win, but that’s not necessarily with him.
Depending upon how the board falls in the 2023 NFL draft, Josh Downs could be an intriguing option for the Steelers with the 32nd overall pick, which they acquired in the Chase Claypool trade.