After working back quickly from an ankle injury suffered early on in training camp, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has reportedly strung together a few nice practices and that’s certainly great to hear when it comes to him. To hear the team’s offensive coordinator talk about him, he’s progressing quite well so far during training camp.
During a Thursday interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley was asked to speak about about the progress made so far by Smith-Schuster in addition to being asked about his thicker build and if he might be used as a flex guy in a tight end role at times in Pittsburgh.
“Yeah, we’re excited about him,” Haley said of Smith-Schuster, the team’s second-round draft pick this year out of USC. “Obviously, we took him in a spot that you expect to contribute fairly early. “He’s a smart, young kid, youngest in the NFL, but what we’ve seen so far is he’s a tough guy. Like you said, he’s a little stockier than some of the guys we have.
“And I think he likes it. We had a stalk drill, which most receivers run from, the other day, and he must have jumped up five, six times in a row. I said, ‘I think he likes it.’ And you know I like that. But he’s got a lot to learn, but there’s been some things that gets you going a little bit.”
While Smith-Schuster might not ultimately be the team’s number three wide receiver when the Steelers open their 2017 regular season, he’s still likely to see some limited playing time right out of the chute just the same. If you’ve seen his college highlights, you already know he’s a very physical player and thus willing to do the dirty work. He’s also reportedly being worked at multiple positions, both inside and outside.
For now, Smith-Schuster will continue to learn the little nuisances of multiple positions from wide receivers coach Richard Mann as well as former Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward, who will reportedly spend the rest of the offseason with the team as a coaching intern. It goes without saying that e’ll certainly be one of several players to watch closely when the Steelers kick-off their preseason next Friday night.