As we’ve talked about since the draft, no position on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster is as crowded like the wide receivers. But that’s perfect for Todd Haley.
He sat down with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews to discuss the wide receiver battle and the addition of the newest face to that group, second round selection JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“Wide receiver is an area we know we can be better at,” Haley said. “The more competent guys we have in that room and out on the field, competing against each other, you usually have a chance to get everyone to play at the best of their ability.”
On paper, the only two locks at receiver are Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown. Eli Rogers and Martavis Bryant have inside tracks for spots. The 5th spot is open, though Darris Heyward-Bey’s elite special teams’ ability is going to be difficult to challenge for. A strong camp from Sammie Coates should earn him a spot on the roster though that type of performance can’t be guaranteed.
Cobi Hamilton, Justin Hunter, and Demarcus Ayers are on the outside looking in, needing strong camps and probably some help along the way to latch onto the 53. But the depth the team has is a good problem to have, something Haley recognizes.
“We don’t want anyone getting too comfortable. We obviously didn’t accomplish all our goals last year.”
The only battle that won’t exist, of course, is anyone challenging for AB’s spot as the X wide receiver. Everything else is wide open. Smith-Schuster and Rogers’ potential showdown in the slot, who becomes the #2 WR on the outside – it’s Bryant if he stays clean – and the rest to make the roster.
Given cornerback has a similar “problem,” though even they don’t enjoy the same kind of depth, training camp matchups with those two should make for some awesome daily reports.