This wide receiver could be the missing piece to the Steelers offense

NFL Combine
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An obvious yet valuable lesson Steelers fans were forced to re-learn once Ben Roethlisberger retired is that with a new quarterback comes a new offensive identity, and to give credit where it’s due, many of them appear to have embraced the practice by now.

This is most evident in rumor mills that spawned from the acquiring of QBs Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, which went as far as producing a dream of the Steelers trading for star Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

While that outlandish idea will likely never even begin to take shape (nor should it when considering how much it would cost us), I admire this community’s drive to give our new stars the best artillery obtainable. In fact, it got me thinking: Who would be a worthy addition to Pittsburgh’s new offense that the team actually has a snowball’s chance of getting, and where could he be found?

My answer to the latter half of that question needs little justification, as I feel the NFL draft should be the first place to look for an elite talent. Along with it being the season for draft talk, the Steelers have several picks to choose from when deciding which receiver to grab and how late, while also having an esteemed reputation for sniffing out the best ones on the board. Now for the former half—whom I would recommend.

With just a glance at the array of options, one can see that this is undoubtedly the year for any team in need of a receiver, with names like Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze being just the biggest of the bunch. And a pool as deep as 2024’s is perfect for scenarios like today’s, as it significantly increases the odds of later selections also being bangers. There is perhaps no better example of this phenomenon than Washington's Ja’Lynn Polk, and that's what locks him in as my pick.

What is it that makes Polk the receiver of choice?

First things first, Polk’s size is universally attractive. Standing at 6’2” and 204 lbs, his presence would be imposing for most defensive backs and serve as a lovely complement to the 6’3”, 200-lb George Pickens.

Secondly, despite the aforementioned Odunze being the talk of the town in the UW receiver scene, Polk made a sizable impact of his own with the Huskies, finishing their 14-1 run with 1,159 yards (averaging 16.8 per catch) and nine receiving touchdowns.

If Polk were to have put up those numbers for the Steelers last season, he would have finished the year as their touchdown leader and a close second to Pickens in receiving yards (but even that’s only when you include Pickens’ 50-yard performance against the Bills in the Wild Card).

Regardless of the differences that can play into such a comparison—offensive schemes, QB play, quality of defenders, etc.—that kind of potential is a necessity when aiming to build an offensive identity from the ground up after an extensive period of struggling.

So let’s sum things up: The Steelers require receiver depth for their new-look offense, and especially with the draft being just weeks away, Ja’Lynn Polk stands out as the perfect man for the job.

100 NFL Draft prospects clearly on the Steelers 2024 big board. dark. Next. 100 NFL Draft prospects clearly on the Steelers 2024 big board

Not only would his hypothetical acquisition (that the loaded nature of this year’s WR class increases the odds of) cost no additional sacrifice, but it can be done with the confidence that his phenomenal combination of size and stats illustrates. If Pittsburgh is as serious about sprucing up the offense as its fans are, Polk should be a must-grab on its radar.