The Steelers have grossly mismanaged the receiver room this offseason

The Steelers have done a lot of things right this offseason, but the mistreatment of the receiver room will come back to haunt them.
 Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Deontae Johnson (18)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Deontae Johnson (18) / Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

I have been mostly in support of what the Steelers have accomplished this offseason. The team once again prioritized the offensive line and has seemingly completed that rebuild. They added some speed in the secondary but are also giving their young unproven talent the chance to earn a role. The quarterback room, while far from perfect, is certainly better than where it was left in 2023.

However, looking over the roster as it stands today, the mismanagement of the receiver room stands out as one of the biggest flaws of the offseason. I don’t care how this offense is being built, you need more than just one proven receiver, yet this team is adamant that they won’t.

This is coming from someone who thinks that George Pickens has the ability to be a top receiver in the NFL. He has displayed that during his first two seasons, and he could really take off this year with improved quarterback play. I’m fine with him being the proverbial top dog in this room despite his immaturity.

At the time, I was also fine with the Diontae Johnson trade. No, the value they got didn’t completely offset his loss, but if they were truly that low on Johnson and thought he wouldn’t work in this system, I was ok with getting rid of him with the intention of finding a few names to replace him.

The Steelers have failed this room

In short, the Steelers have failed at building a compelling room. While the drafting of Roman Wilson was great value, he has some concerns as to where he can play long-term, as some view him as a slot receiver only. Even if he can play on the outside, he is a third-round pick and will likely need some seasoning before he can be counted on extensively.

Beyond that, the Steelers have hoarded low-level veterans with little upside. Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, and Scotty Miller don’t move the needle, and while they can be fine reserves, it isn’t out of the question that they are going to be needed as a second option.

On paper, the Arthur Smith offense only needs one great receiving target due to its dependence on the run game and tight ends in the passing game. While Pickens can be that guy, the Steelers are depending on him staying healthy. It isn’t even like they have the depth to survive a few weeks without him, as they have no one who can even remotely fill in for him if needed.

It isn’t like there weren’t options for this team either. While they wanted to see how the draft shook out before adding anyone significant, you saw names like DJ Chark and Zay Jones get signed shortly after the draft concluded for cheap. Either could have served as a serviceable second option for this team.

The hope seems to be that the Steelers will still trade for a top name, but they are getting to the point that they will be desperate. Teams will be aware of that and can exploit that. On the flip side, if they don’t trade for anyone of note, this receiver room could prove to be a weak spot on the team and a true detriment if Pickens gets hurt.

Next. Steelers fans: Please stop overreacting to the NFL schedule release. Steelers fans: Please stop overreacting to the NFL schedule release. dark

If all goes perfectly to the plan, you can probably get by with this receiver room as is. One injury to Pickens or even a slight regression in his game could completely shatter this room. With a new but fluid quarterback situation, having a capable core of receivers is needed, and the Steelers are currently lacking there.