After only one season, JuJu Smith-Schuster already is one of the most beloved sports stars in Pittsburgh. His fun-loving, care free attitude has been a breath of fresh air in a high-stress industry. From his wild touchdown celebrations, to the massive block he laid on public enemy No. 1, Vontaze Burfict, Smith-Schuster’s rookie season wont be forgotten anytime soon.
Considering Smith-Schuster missed three games this year (didn't play on offense in Week 1 vs. Cleveland; injured vs. Green Bay; and suspended vs. Baltimore) you might assume that, had he played all 16 games, Smith-Schuster could have broken 70 receptions, and 1,000 receiving yards.
JuJu’s Best Game
Detroit Lions, Week 8. This was a toss up between Cleveland in Week 17, but Pittsburgh didn't have anything to play for against the Browns. In a game where the rest of the offense struggled, Smith-Schuster stepped up. JuJu’s 97-yard touchdown dash was one of the most memorable plays of the season, and was the difference in the game.
JuJu’s Worst Game
Jacksonville Jaguars, Divisional Round. JuJu was blanketed the entire game. If it wasn't for the 4-yard touchdown reception, on what turned out to be the Steelers’ last offensive play of the year. Smith-Schuster would have finished the game with two catches for only one-yard. Much like fellow rookie T.J. Watt, Smith-Schuster disappeared in this game. If it wasn't for a missed holding call on fourth down, JuJu’s game might have been remembered differently.
Re-drafting the pick
If we re-did the entire 2017 draft, Smith-Schuster would be the first receiver taken off of the board. You could debate Alvin Kamara at this selection, but he wouldn’t have seen the field much with the way Pittsburgh rotates its running backs. The Steelers stick with Smith-Schuster at pick 62. He’s extremely gifted, and already means so much to this city.
As long as Smith-Schuster is the Steelers’ third receiving option, he won’t lead the team in many statistical categories. But if he can stay healthy, and catch his targets, JuJu might have 80+ catch, 1,100+ yard, 8+ TD seasons. When Antonio Brown retires, this offense will belong to him.
It’s hard to see Smith-Shuster regressing. Being the No. 3 option becomes a good thing here. He won’t see any double teams, nor will he line up across from top defensive backs every week. The only person that can stop JuJu’s development is himself. If drops become an issue, though, Martavis Bryant will eat away some of JuJu’s targets.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is extremely talented, and fun to watch. His off-field antics have been just as fun. From his bike being stolen—and getting it back—to his daily posts of his dog Boujee, JuJu is definitely a guy you want to follow on social media. But above all else, JuJu Smith-Schuster will be a star in Pittsburgh for years to come.
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