One of the moves I expected the Steelers to make this offseason was to insert a veteran presence into one of their offensive skill positions. Despite players like John Brown and Adrian Peterson expressing interest, nothing has materialized. Furthermore, the team hasn't given any inclination that they may make a move like this. In my opinion, refusing to add some leadership into a room that is incredibly young would be a mistake.
When a video of Chase Claypool kicking someone in the head during a bar fight came to light back in March, I thought it was just another reason for the team to add some leadership to the group. This group could really use a consummate professional added to the mix. Someone who’s presence will help the Steelers youngsters see what it takes to be a man in the NFL and takes care of business off the field in the same manor.
Think back to the last time the Steelers had a real leader in the receiving core. And, I mean someone who went above and beyond their duties as an NFL player and had a clean reputation off the field while maintaining a high level of play. I think you would have to look all the way back to Hines Ward, who retired in 2011.
This needs to change, the longest tenured receiver of the group is JuJu Smith-Schuster who was taught how to be an NFL player from Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. So, I think it’s fair to say everyone could use a mentor.
There are still a number of options available on the open market including Golden Tate, Danny Amendola, Alshon Jeffery, and the ultimate professional in Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald would clearly be the perfect mentor for any group, but the Pitt alum wrapping up his career in the Steel City would be poetic.
Diontae Johnson is the oldest member of the Steelers receiving core at just 24 years of age, and while there’s nothing wrong with a youthful group, inserting leadership could be what it takes to push the unit to the next level.
But what do you think? Should the Steelers add a veteran skill player before the 2021 season begins? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.