One of the highlights of this offseason for the Steelers has been the moves made at the wide receiver position. After losing JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and RayRay McCloud, the Steelers knew the room needed to be reloaded.
While the Steelers were relatively quiet in the receiver market during free agency, they did find a new kick return specialist in Gunner Olszewski, but they were far from done. In a receiver class loaded with talent, the Steelers snagged two immensely talented wide receivers in George Pickens and Calvin Austin III.
Although it may be unfair to judge a receiver room that is so young and inexperienced, national pundits are beginning to recognize the talent this group possesses. Ben Linsey from Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 receiving rooms in the NFL, and coming in at number 11 was none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here is what Linsey had to say about the receiving corps.
In many respects, the Steelers’ receiving corps is similar to the Broncos’ group. They don’t have a bona fide elite wide receiver, but they do have one you can at least make the case for. That’s Diontae Johnson for Pittsburgh. While he has battled drops and poor quarterback play early in his career, his 1.83 receiving yards per route run over the past two seasons ranks 25th among 96 wide receivers with at least 500 routes. Chase Claypool is in the same vicinity at 1.84 yards per route run since 2020.
The additions of George Pickens and Calvin Austin III in the 2022 NFL Draft to pair with those two and tight end Pat Freiermuth creates an intriguing young collection of talent for either Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett at quarterback.
Nobody can deny the fact that it will take time for this group to gel and develop a chemistry with the starting quarterback, whether that be Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett. However, the talent in this room is undeniable.
Chase Claypool had his share of struggles in 2021 after a rookie season that brought him double-digit touchdowns, but it has nothing to do with talent. One of the most athletically gifted receivers in the league, Claypool is expected by many to emerge into a bona fide number one receiver this season. If he can remain focused on the task at hand, and if he can hone in on doing the simple well rather than doing the difficult poorly, the sky’s the limit.
Diontae Johnson is not the most efficient of receivers, but he was the most consistent and most reliable receiver for the Steelers in 2021. Considering Johnson is in a contract year, it would be a surprise to no one if he records his best statistical season to date.
While George Pickens and Calvin Austin III are completely unproven as NFL receivers, it is worth noting that just one year ago I had a mid first-round grade on George Pickens. Austin is a totally different type of receiver, but he is the burner the Steelers have lacked on offense for some time. Anthony Miller and Steven Sims, Jr. cannot be forgotten either, as both of them provide the versatility and speed Matt Canada is looking for.
Whether you like this receiving corps or not, nobody can deny the vastly different skill sets of each receiver in this room. It should bring great balance to the position, and fans should be excited about the potential in this room.
How confident are you in the Steelers’ receiver room? Do you like the way it is being built, or do you have concerns about the way this room is being assembled? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this topic and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!