The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Who will the Steelers’ first wide receiver off the bench?
What I was basically looking to ask here was this: if James Washington were not here, or were not prepared to be the number three wide receiver at the beginning of the season, which receiver would serve in that role on opening day?
Obviously we don’t have an explicit answer to that question right now, as it’s yet to be determined based on what happens for the remainder of the summer, including but not limited to whether or not they choose to re-sign a certain wide receiver.
It’s a fairly reasonable assumption that Eli Rogers, if re-signed, would be that next wide receiver off the bench. For one thing, if he were to be re-signed, it would be because he’s healthy. The team is obviously waiting on him getting healthy, if they do intend to re-sign him, which he believes to be the case.
Even if he would be the most logical choice should he be on the roster, we don’t actually know if that will happen. But the two wide receivers who ran with the first-team offense during OTAs while JuJu Smith-Schuster was dealing with a knee injury and Antonio Brown was out regathering himself were Marcus Tucker and Justin Hunter.
In other words, it wasn’t Darrius Heyward-Bey, or at least I did not read of any reports about the veteran getting any work with the first-team offense this spring. He has served in that role in the post, such as in 2015 while Martavis Bryant was suspended for the first four games.
If another player were to emerge from deeper on the depth chart, who might that be, if you were to guess? Quadree Henderson? Trey Griffey? Damoun Patterson? Hey, let’s be honest, it wasn’t so long ago that they went into a season with Justin Brown as their third wide receiver.