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A receiver not named Jordan Addison should be on the Steelers radar in Round 1

The Steelers could be looking to add a WR in the draft, but it shouldn’t be Jordan Addison.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of talk amongst the members of Steelers Nation about a certain wide receiver (WR) prospect that many think could help take the Steelers’ passing game to the next level. I can’t fault the premise too much, as this specific receiver has experience catching passes from none other than Kenny Pickett for two seasons as athletes at the University of Pittsburgh. Of course, I’m talking about Jordan Addison, who transferred to the University of Southern California after Pickett was selected by the Steelers in the 2022 NFL Draft.

To be clear, the number of Steelers fans calling for Addison to be the team’s first round pick is low, especially considering the team’s plethora of more pressing needs. However, there is a contingent of fans who would prioritize Pickett’s former number one target as the best option for the Steelers to fill their need at WR should the top cornerbacks and offensive tackles be off the board before the team makes it selection at No. 17.

My main issue with this thought is not that I don’t want the Steelers to select a WR with their first pick, although I believe it would be less than ideal, it’s the player of choice that I have a problem wrapping my mind around.

To me, Addison is a Diontae Johnson clone. A superb route-runner with YAC skills, with an innate ability to create separation at the top of the route. To be fair, Addison is a talented pass catcher with upside in the right role and system, but what the Steelers need at WR in 2023 is not what Addison brings to the table.

The Steelers already have their Jordan Addison in Johnson. What they need is a true possession receiver with size who can be a high-volume, multi-talented threat out of the slot. That player in this draft is Jaxon Smith-Njigba out of Ohio State. Although many experts view the aforementioned Addison as the top receiver in the draft, “JSN” is my top prospect at WR this year, and is exactly the type of player the Steelers need to round out their receiver room.

Smith-Njigba is himself a premier route runner with excellent burst and short-area quickness. He is a natural catcher of the football, and boasts the size and strength at 6’1” and 200lbs to handle press coverages and run-blocking assignments. JSN is reminiscent of a quicker, more explosive JuJu Smith-Schuster, and would be the perfect fit for a Steelers team in need of a playmaking boost in the slot.

If the Steelers find themselves stuck at pick 17 with the top CBs and OTs off the board, they could do worse than target the former Buckeyes’ star receiver. He fills an immediate need and would be a valuable, inexpensive playmaking asset for a young, developing QB in Kenny Pickett. Despite not sharing a previous connection with Pickett like Jordan Addison does, Smith-Njigba is the only receiver the Steelers should even consider with their first round pick.

What do you think about the Addison vs. Smith-Njigba argument? Are you for or against the Steelers targeting a WR early in the Draft? Let us know in the comment section below, and don’t forget to tune in regularly to BTSC and the Steel Curtain Network of podcasts for more offseason news, notes, and nuggets about the Black and Gold.