When Pittsburgh Steelers fans think of Hines Ward, they think of a lot of things.
The smile at all times.
The Super Bowl MVP.
But what might come to fans’ minds first are those vicious hits on defensive players.
Ward didn’t shy away from anyone. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Keith Rivers...all were targets in Ward’s cross hairs when he got a chance to lay the lumber on a defender who is typically trying to take his head off whenever he had the ball in his hands.
Fans of the black and gold loved, and still love, Ward, and rightfully so. He was the player you love to have on your team, and everyone else seems to hate him to his core. Ward loved being the antagonist and villain, and it brought him a lot of success in the NFL.
Fast forward to the 2017 NFL Draft and the Steelers second round draft pick Juju Smith-Schuster from USC. While fans looked at his 40-yard dash time, his stats and wondered where he will fit on the team, what might be overlooked is just how physical he is as a wide receiver.
The Steelers haven’t had a wide receiver who loves blocking since Ward played, but Smith-Schuster could be bringing that back to the Steel City.
Just take a look at this block he made while in college...think Ward would approve?
If that block wasn’t enough, how about some ridiculous stiff arms:
Or this one...
Starting the day with another JuJu Smith-Schuster stiff arm..,, pic.twitter.com/pShDxgTElA— All22ChalkTalk (@All22ChalkTalk) June 30, 2016
When you watch film of Juju, you quickly realize he isn’t your typical slot receiver, the same position Ward played the majority of his career. I’m not trying to say Smith-Schuster is the next Hines Ward, although not many would complain if that transformation occurred, but simply stating the fact he is physical.
The Steelers could use some ‘nasty’ in their wide receiving corps, and their second round pick might be just the man to deliver it.