In case you didn’t know, the Pittsburgh Steelers will return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in exactly 24 days of this article being published. With that, I decided to revive an old series we used to do as a lead up to training camp.
30 predictions in 30 days.
Myself and Simon Chester are alternating days giving a prediction for the upcoming season. Some will be team oriented, while others will be specific to individual players. Either way, read on to see the reason why we think today’s prediction will come to fruition, and why it might not come true. Give your thoughts in the comment section below the article.
Training camp is almost here! Here We Go!
Prediction: Vance McDonald will have double-digit touchdowns in 2019.
Why it will happen: There are many of you reading this who will shrug your shoulders and consider this prediction pure poppycock. But hear me out. The most touchdown receptions by a tight end in Steelers history belongs to Heath Miller in 2012 when he snagged eight. While many consider any comparison of another tight end to Heath Miller blasphemy, McDonald finds himself in a unique situation heading into 2019.
McDonald isn’t just entering his third year with the Steelers, but has developed a great rapport with Ben Roethlisberger, one which hasn’t been seen since Roethlisberger was firing passes to Heath Miller. McDonald isn’t just a tight end who can play every down, but he has a unique blend of size and athleticism.
If we want to compare McDonald to Miller in that regard, McDonald has more athleticism and speed than Miller ever had. Miller had better hands, but the reason I feel McDonald might be able to hit double-digit touchdowns is his ability to take a shorter pass and take it the distance, see his touchdown on Monday Night Football where he planted Chris Conte six feet below the earth.
McDonald had four touchdowns last season, but I expect him to be a player who can really pick up the slack left behind by Antonio Brown. For all those reasons, I could see McDonald hitting the double-digit mark.
Why it won’t happen: As stated earlier, no Steelers tight end has ever had double-digit touchdowns in the history of the team. Not a glowing endorsement for this prediction, and history certainly isn’t on McDonald’s side.
With Brown jettisoning to Oakland, he takes his 15 touchdown receptions with him. In fact, I fully expect the Steelers’ offense to be a more spread offense this year. Not in the formation sense, but how Roethlisberger will be able to spread the ball around more, and not target one particular receiver to keep the peace.
This fact will mean no receiver, not just McDonald, will have the lion share of touchdown catches in 2019. I could easily see JuJu Smith-Schuster with 8, Donte Moncrief with 6, and a bunch of other players with about 4-6 touchdown receptions this year. The same production as 2018, just not condensed into one player having 15 touchdown catches.
I can see McDonald being near the top of the touchdown list, but double-digits seems like a stretch.
What are your thoughts on this prediction? Do you think it will happen? Or are we crazy? Let us know by voting in the poll, and letting your voice be heard in the comment section below!
Will Vance McDonald have double-digit TDs in 2019?
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