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The Steelers receivers stand above the competition, literally

How the Steelers can utilize significant height mismatches in 2021

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have continued a recent trend of drafting and signing pass catchers of a certain height. A far cry of the days of Antonio Brown, Demarcus Ayers, and Eli Rogers sitting atop of the receiving depth chart. In 2021 they added the 6’5” Pat Freiermuth into the mix which only added to an already large amount of players who stand above 6’2”. Below are the Steelers pass catchers ranked on their height.

6’8 Zach Gentry
6’5’ Pat Freiermuth
6’4 Chase Claypool
6’4 Eric Ebron
6’4 Kevin Rader
6’2 Najee Harris
6’2 Derek Watt
6’1 JuJu Smith-Schuster
5’11 James Washington
5’10 Diontae Johnson
5’9 Ray Ray McCloud

The bottom line is the Steelers will have significant height advantages over their opponents in every offensive personnel grouping they roll onto the field. Within these size matchups comes the decision defensive coordinators will have to make, where do you sacrifice?

Take the Baltimore Ravens for example, not one of their corners or safeties stand above 6’2. Would they want to sacrifice All-Pro Marlon Humphrey to shut down 6’5 Pat Freiermuth because a 5’10 defensive back can't stop the jump ball? In doing so, they would give the shifty Diontae Johnson more room to work. At this point it becomes a pick your poison proposition. The best part is, no one around the league has the size defensively to stop it.

The possibilities get even more exciting when the Steelers get into short yardage scenarios. Imagine sending Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool out wide, sending Freiermuth in at tight end, and a back field of Najee Harris and Derek Watt. You have to respect the jump ball ability of the guys outside and you can't pair a linebacker on the rookie tight end. If teams over commit to stop that passing attack then Harris won't have any problems finding the end zone. The same thing works when you apply the principal back the other way.

The biggest winner in all of this is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In his advanced years he won't have to be as pinpoint accurate anymore as his receivers have a huge catch radius. To add to that, Ben can get away with throwing more 50/50 jump balls with this receiving core could prove to be unstoppable.

But what do you think? Will the Steelers combination of skill and size be too much for opposing teams to handle? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.