After drafting JuJu Smith-Schuster in this year’s draft, the Steelers have plenty of wide receiver options going into this season. Everyone already knows that Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers will be starting but outside of that is a mystery.
Darrius Heyward-Bey has been mostly playing on special teams throughout his Steelers career and Sammie Coates has had drop issues since being drafted by the Steelers though, in fairness, Coates had some broken fingers last year. Demarcus Ayers and Cobi Hamilton also were on the team during the season as they had to be called up from the practice squad since the Steelers were so banged up at wide receiver.
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Loading up on the offensive side of the ball and being stacked at wide receiver is great news for Ben Roethlisberger. Nobody knows how many years he last left in the league as he himself said that he’s taking the rest of his career on a year to year basis. Pittsburgh doesn’t have many more years left of being a top contender due to the uncertainty; it only makes sense to load up on the offensive side of the ball.
The return of Martavis Bryant to strengthen the position will pay huge dividends to them as he’s not only arguably the best number two receiver in the league, he’s one of the best receivers in the league regardless of where he lines up. Bryant also added over 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason and has been working out like crazy. Bryant’s return will allow the Steelers to have better matchups for their other wide receivers such as Sammie Coates or JuJu Smith-Schuster, who they just drafted.
Eli Rogers has been a slot receiver for the Steelers so he’ll just stay there and get whatever corner matches up against him. Coates was lined up as the number two receiver at many times during the season last year. Coates not only had some bad drops but was also outmatched against some other cornerbacks.
Getting Bryant back to his spot and moving Coates around as a fourth receiver would be the best of both worlds as Coates would get a better matchup. Smith-Schuster would also get a favorable matchup as he’s a very physical receiver and can get to those jump balls that some corners can’t get to.
Whether the Steelers needed another receiver from the draft is a question for another day. However, if Smith-Schuster can survive the enormous slew of battle-tested receivers during training camp, he will be the perfect fit for the already potent offense.
Overall, the Steelers did the right thing by getting deeper at the wide receiver position to go along with arguably the best running back in the league in Le’Veon Bell. If all cylinders are clicking, the Steelers’ offense has the look of an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.
Hunter Hodies covers the Steelers for cover32 and is excited to write about one of the greatest organizations in all of sports. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHodies.