There’s no question wide receiver is the deepest position on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster. For Justin Hunter, this group is an all-timer.
Hunter called it one of the best rooms he’s been around.
““This is one of the most talented group of receivers I have been on and I can’t wait to see where it goes,” he told Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley.
The team has 11 receivers on the roster, eight of which have Sunday experience. The household names: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and the like. There’s the guys looking to take another big jump: Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, and Demarcus Ayers. The new faces, Hunter and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and the elder statesmen, Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Throw in Cobi Hamilton, who played a key role on third downs last year, and you have one heck of a group. For the record, the only other two who don’t have Sunday experience are Canaan Severin, a high priority UDFA in 2016 and Marcus Tucker, who did well to earn a contract as a tryout last year.
It’s an exciting prospect for fans and creates intense competition in the wide receiver room. Only two players are truly locks, Brown and Smith-Schuster. Bryant will join them if he stays clean. Beyond that, you could argue for and against every single player.
It’s an element Hunter embraces.
“I feel like that competition at the position makes you better,” he told Varley. “No matter what sport you play, you have someone pushing you. That is going to do nothing but help and make everyone their best.”
It’s important not to forget about Hunter in this group. He’s a big-play receiver who is with the best QB he’s ever worked with. There’s little doubt he’ll look good in camp and make some impressive plays.
But that trait isn’t unique on this roster and he may be in the strange situation of being signed as an insurance policy for Bryant. You’d have to think Hunter needs to beat out Coates for the backup Z receiver job. Not an impossible task but Coates is definitely entering camp as the favorite, especially given his bigger special teams value as a kick returner and gunner.