If I had told you immediately after the 2017 NFL Draft had ended that one of the players selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers would ultimately have the highest selling jersey of all rookies by season’s end, you would have probably told me it would be running back James Conner. If not Conner, you would have probably told me that outside linebacker T.J. Watt would be the one. Regardless, I doubt any of you would have believed me if I had told you after the draft that it would ultimately be wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Well, that’s who it ultimately wound up being.
According to NFL Shop, the official online store for the National Football League, Smith-Schuster had the top-selling jersey of this year’s rookies this past season and he edged out Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for the honor.
If that’s not enough, Watt, the Steelers first-round draft pick, had the third-best selling rookie jersey this past season and Conner, the team’s second of two third-round draft picks last year, ended up just outside of the top-10 at No. 11 overall.
If we learned anything about Smith-Schuster during his rookie season, outside of the fact that he’s a really good wide receiver, it’s that he’s done a very good job of creating his own brand and marketing himself. His stolen bike incident during the season really caught on nationally and that was quickly followed by him receiving a lot of coverage for his very creative hide-and-seek post-touchdown celebration in the middle of the season.
Several more creative post-score celebrations by Smith-Schuster soon followed that endeared him even more to Steelers fans in addition to his punishing, yet deemed illegal, block on Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict that came complete with a taunting.
Smith-Schuster is a great follow on his social media accounts and that includes his YouTube channel as well. The USC product will now look to build on his rookie excellence both on the field and off it in 2018. On the surface, I’d be willing to bet his successful in both areas. In short, if you are one of the several who have already purchased a No. 19 Smith-Schuster jersey, I believe you made a solid investment, just as the Steelers did when they drafted him.