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With Ben Roethlisberger back, will JuJu Smith-Schuster blossom into a top wide receiver?

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Moving along with part 73 of our 90ish-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man (now 80-,man) roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s take a look at the Steelers most veteran Wide Receiver:

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Position: WR
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 215 lbs
College: Southern California
Draft: 2nd round, 53rd overall in 2017


2019 Stats

12 Games played
42 Receptions
552 Receiving Yards
3 Receiving Touchdowns
1 Fumble


Contract remaining

Expires in 2021
$1,335,000 salary cap number (.67% of total cap)
$297,869 Dead money
$1,037,151 Savings if cut


Likelihood of making the roster

Lock. Despite taking a step back in 2019, Juju Smith-Schuster is still a bright young talent of the game. He is the most veteran receiver, and is still just 23 years old. Plus, Smith-Schuster is in the final year of his rookie deal which, money wise, is barely even noticeable.

The biggest question here is if Smith-Schuster will be brought back in 2021. For right now JuJu isn't going anywhere.


2020 projection

With the return of Ben Roethlisberger, I expect JuJu will take a step back in a positive direction. Teams will still focus on Smith-Schuster as a number one target but that shouldn't stop the youngster from notching another 1,000 yard season. The entire offense should take a leap forward this season, with the emergence of Diontae Johnson, and the additions of behemoths Eric Ebron, and Chase Claypool the Steelers will become match up nightmares. JuJu should reap the benefit of all the talent surrounding him.


Projected stats:

16 Games played
90 Receptions
1,250 Receiving Yards
7 Receiving Touchdowns


Summary

The Steelers receiving core is loaded with talent from JuJu to Johnson, James Washington, and Claypool. The arsenal is stocked for Ben Roethlisberger. Juju Smith-Schuster still projects to be the crown jewel of this corpse. A big season for JuJu probably skyrockets his next contract value through the roof and likely out of Pittsburgh. It will be interesting to watch Smith-Schuster over the next six months and see where his career takes him. But for right now he has to bounce back from a brutal 2019 season.


Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett -Cut
John Battle
Jordan Berry
Saeed Blacknall
Breon Borders
Chris Boswell
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Isaiah Buggs
Devin Bush
Deon Cain
Kam Canaday
Chase Claypool
Josiah Coatney -Cut
James Conner
Anthony Coyle
Jordan Dangerfield
Amara Darboh
Carlos Davis
David DeCastro
Christian DiLauro
Kevin Dotson
Bud Dupree
Eric Ebron
Terrell Edmunds
Trey Edmunds
Matt Feiler
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Zach Gentry
Ulysees Gilbert III
Derwin Gray
Joe Haden
J.C. Hassenauer
Quadree Henderson -Cut
Dewayne Hendrix -Cut
Cam Heyward
Alex Highsmith
Mike Hilton
Devlin Hodges
John Houston
Anthony Johnson
Diontae Johnson
Jarron Jones
John Keenoy
Tyree Kinnel -Cut
Christian Kuntz -Cut
Justin Layne
Leo Lewis
James Lockhart
Paxton Lynch
Dan McCullers
Vance McDonald
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Henry Mondeaux
Christian Montano -Cut
Alexander Myres
Steven Nelson
Spencer Nigh
Chuks Okorafor
James Pierre
Maurkice Pouncey
Kevin Rader
Dax Raymond
Ben Roethlisberger
Mason Rudolph
Jaylen Samuels
Tuzar Skipper
Wendall Smallwood