The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2019 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.
We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.
Position: Wide Receiver
Total Positional Figure: 10
JuJu Smith-Schuster: One of the most exciting young skill position players in the game, Smith-Schuster’s task in his third season is to make a seamless transition from being the number two target to the number one guy, and all the attention that commands, without having a clearly-established number two behind him.
James Washington: Entering his second season, Washington has a lot to prove coming off of a very disappointing rookie year. This has been talked about ad nauseum by now, though, so let’s not belabor the point. He has the skills, it’s just a matter of getting the job done when it matters.
Donte Moncrief: Signed to a two-year, $9 million deal, Moncrief was the team’s big free agent acquisition on offense. The journeyman grew strong reviews for his performance in the spring, though, and could emerge as the number two target this season.
Eli Rogers: Rogers is the only wide receiver who has been around for more than two years. After recovering from a torn ACL, he got long looks in the final three games last season and was brought back on a two-year contract.
Ryan Switzer: Heading into his third year in the league, but first full offseason with the Steelers, Switzer, a slot/gadget type of player, as well as return man, is excited about the year. But he’ll have to earn his roster spot first.
Tevin Jones: Jones is in his second offseason after spending last year on the practice squad. The 26-year-old has intriguing size, but would have to command attention on special teams.
Trey Griffey: Like Jones, he is heading into his second training camp after spending last year on the practice squad. For now, there’s not much more to say.
Diontae Spencer: The CFL import remains on the roster since signing as a futures player in January, and reportedly had a strong spring, so we’ll see if he can build on that in the preseason.
Diontae Johnson: The 66th-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Johnson was valued greatly by the Steelers, accentuating his route-running, man-beating skills, and separation, seeing traits similar to Antonio Brown coming out of college.
Johnny Holton: A bit of an NFL veteran, having spent the past three years in Oakland, Holton has height and speed, with three career receiving touchdowns to his name. He would obviously look to a special teams spot.
Ka’Raun White: A futures signing in January, he was released after rookie minicamp when the Steelers signed Holton.
Notes and Camp Outlook:
Training camp is going to be an awful lot of exploration and combinations. There are a myriad of different combinations regarding how the number two and three receiver positions can align behind Smith-Schuster. Realistically, it will take time into the regular season before they figure out the combinations they’re most comfortable with, and in what situations.