Ranking the available free agent wide receiver fits for Steelers in 2023

October 23, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17)
October 23, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Pittsburgh Steelers fans want to believe that things got a lot better on offense in the second half of the season. However, since their Week 9 bye, their offense managed just over 20 points per game against a pedestrian schedule in the second half of the season. If this number were to be prorated for the year, it still would have ranked just 19th in the NFL in 2022. 

On the year, Pittsburgh managed a dismal 18.1 points per contest and struggled to move the ball against respectable opponents. It’s clear that they need an immediate boost on offense, and nabbing another quality receiver could give them a spark. 

Sadly, this is a bad WR class in the 2023 NFL Draft and the Steelers would likely have to reach with a pick they can’t afford to miss on. Instead, signing a plug-and-play veteran to improve the wide receiver corps might be the way to go. Here are the best fits among available free-agent wide receivers that Pittsburgh could pursue.

4. Mecole Hardman would offer explosive plays for Steelers 

In 2022, the Pittsburgh Steelers certainly were not a threat to score from any distance. While George Pickens was a menace with the ball in the air, these big plays rarely resulted in touchdowns (or allowed for yards after the catch, for that matter). Though Pittsburgh does have Calvin Austin III returning from IR, it would be unwise to count on a former fourth-round rookie who stands under 5’8’’ and is coming off a season-ending foot injury to solve all of their problems.

The Steelers have their starters in place for now with Pickens and Diontae Johnson in addition to having guys at the bottom of their roster who play special teams. Still, they could use a dynamic player like Mecole Hardman. The explosive receiver can win down the field from the outside or stretch the seam from the slot. He’s also a threat to chew up big yardage on jet sweeps. 

Hardman isn’t the best receiver in free agency, but he could offer a much-needed spark to a stagnant offense that severely lacked speed in 2022.