Steelers Scouting Report: WR Roman Wilson is a sure-handed slot weapon

Strengths, weaknesses, and pro comparison for Roman Wilson.
Michigan v Minnesota
Michigan v Minnesota / David Berding/GettyImages

When Roman Wilson was available to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 84th overall pick in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Omar Khan didn't hesitate to pull the trigger. Wilson was the lead wide receiver for a championship Michigan program that focused on running the football and playing great defense.

Wilson was a four-star recruit coming out of St. Louis High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, per 247Sports. He was the top weapon for QB J.J. McCarthy during the 2023 season for the Wolverines before declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft.

After watching numerous game cut-ups of Roman Wilson before the draft, I did a deeper dive into his tape after the Steelers selected him. Here's my full scouting report on Pittsburgh's 84th overall pick.


  • Explosive acceleration off the snap reaches top speed in a hurry
  • Speed to stretch the field (4.39 40-yard)can be dangerous as a vertical weapon down the seam
  • As sure-handed as they come at the position, just one drop in 2023
  • Can stride away from defenders to create separation
  • Competitive toughness to reel in the football over the middle of the field
  • Compact, muscular frame to absorb contact
  • Fearless, isn't afraid to put his body on the line
  • Soft, natural hands to effortlessly pluck the football
  • Willing blocker despite an undersized frame


  • Fast, but not overly sudden; plays all at one speed
  • Needs to work on selling his routes with head fakes and snap movements
  • Not a refined route runner, rounds off routes too often
  • Does most of his damage from the slot; questions about effectiveness on the outside
  • Physical, but not big (5'10 3/4'', 185 pounds, 30 3/8'' arms)
  • Not a big threat to slip tackles or make defenders miss after the catch
  • Is he a slot-only in the NFL?

2023 Statistics:

  • 48 receptions, 789 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns
  • 16.4 yards per reception
  • 1 dropped pass
  • 84.5 receiving grade (81.5 overall grade) via PFF

Projected Role for the Steelers:

It's easy to peg Roman Wilson as the team's primary slot receiver as early as his rookie season in 2024. Wilson has rare speed with soft hands and can make contested catches over the middle of the field (though he wasn't challenged often at Michigan).

With limited options outside of George Pickens at the receiver position, the Pittsburgh Steelers could experiment with Wilson as an outside option as the team's 'Z' receiver who can come in motion and not have to worry about getting jammed at the line of scrimmage. Wilson projects primarily as a slot receiver who can find added snaps in obvious passing downs. He could be a top-three targeted option in the passing game in his rookie season.

NFL player comparison: Sterling Shepard

At 5'10'' and 194 pounds, Sterling Shepard is slightly more compact than Roman Wilson with a bit more sand in his pants, but both players share a similar play style. Shepard was a former 40th overall pick by the New York Giants in 2016 and played very well during his rookie contract before injuries plagued his career.

Like Wilson, Shepard did his best work from the slot. He was a smooth mover with soft, natural hands and proved to be a reliable option for his quarterback. Wilson has a bit more top-end speed than Shepard did in his prime, but he could be used in a very similar role -- a sure-handed slot option who does his best work before the catch.

Bottom line: Roman Wilson is a silky-smooth athlete with a coveted combination of speed and speed and soft hands. His compact frame and lack of twitch after the catch could limit his upside in the NFL, but he projects as a long-term slot receiver with the ability to stretch the field.