With the 62nd selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select … Southern California wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster.
I have to say, I’m really surprised with this pick, largely because I can’t connect the dots between the Steelers and Smith-Schuster at all. There wasn’t any sort of connection or interest between the two, but the Steelers got a baller with their second round pick.
Smith-Schuster isn’t a burner, but he’s a solid possession receiver that will work well opposite of Antonio Brown, serving as a middle of the field weapon that is a load to tackle and is a consistent chain-mover.
Arguably my favorite story about Smith-Schuster is him needing hand surgery for broken bones, having a plate inserted in his hand and then coming out 3 DAYS LATER to haul in eight passes for 138 yards and one touchdown against Arizona.
What a gamer.
There are plenty of concerns with Smith-Schuster’s long speed and inability to create consistent separation, but he’s just what the Steelers need stylistically across from Brown moving forward.
Plus, he’s a willing blocker that is physical and rarely takes plays off.
Steelers’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley said in a press conference following the selection of Smith-Schuster that, “he’s another young guy that we can add to the group, and he raises the level of competition in the room.”
That being said, I personally feel this pick was a reach, considering I had an early 3rd-round grade on the USC product. Add in the fact that Penn State’s Chris Godwin, whom the Steelers showed massive interest in at the Combine and in the pre-draft process.
I don’t mind the pick whatsoever, but it’s definitely an interesting one. It’s also easy to understand why the Steelers went wide receiver at 62, considering the only defensive back they really showed interest in that was available that had a grade in the area was UCLA’s Fabian Moreau.
Smith-Schuster will be good long-term in Pittsburgh. The franchise has a great history of developing receivers into great players. Don’t fret over this pick.