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2020 Offseason Questions: Who Is Best WR In AFC North?

JuJu Smith-Schuster

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.

The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.

How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Who is the best wide receiver in the AFC North?

Note: for simplicity’s sake, I’m just going to use images of Steelers for the cover photos of these articles. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m arguing they’re the best.

After talking quarterbacks and running backs, it’s wide receivers who are next on the agenda in discussing the best players in the division. A year or so ago, this would have been an easy question: Antonio Brown. He’s currently nowhere of course, and that leaves things a lot more open.

Had the 2019 season gone differently, JuJu Smith-Schuster might be a popular answer. Meanwhile, A.J. Green, a perennial Pro Bowler, missed the entire year, and Odell Beckham coming over from New York to the Browns spent the entire season playing through injury, and so put up relatively pedestrian numbers with just four touchdowns. The Ravens had the second-least productive wide receiver group in the NFL last season.

So I think this question is a lot about projections, since last season was basically a down year for the position for the entire league. Beckham is probably still the most talented wide receiver in the division, even if his first season working with Baker Mayfield didn’t get off to a great start.

Can Green come back and return to form, perhaps working with a rookie quarterback in Joe Burrow? What about Smith-Schuster, or perhaps even Diontae Johnson, assuming that Ben Roethlisberger is Ben Roethlisberger in 2020?

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