Who will be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ‘top’ tight end in 2020, if there will even be such a distinction? While Vance McDonald has been the intended number once since he was acquired in 2017, the team went out in free agency and signed Eric Ebron this year, somebody who clearly commands a significant role, and whom they paid $12 million over two years—the second-largest per-year contract for an outside unrestricted free agent in team history.
While the former first-round pick is coming off of a letdown season that was marred by a season-long groin injury and his quarterback suddenly retiring, Ebron is looking for a fresh start in Pittsburgh—and looking forward to the cast and crew of this offseason.
He is already on record as a big fan of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Yesterday, he took to Instagram to show off some of his other Steelers gear—jerseys for James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, his new teammates, and the other top skill position players on the roster, who figure to rack up the most snaps this year. Smith-Schuster’s jersey, at least, is clearly autographed.
“I been fans, you feel me”, he says in the video while unveiling the jerseys of his new teammates. “Now I’m about to play with my dawgs”.
— Steelers Depot 🏆👑 (@Steelersdepot) June 12, 2020
Smith-Schuster and Conner have spent their career up to this point in Pittsburgh since being drafted on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. Ebron is now on his third team since being drafted in the first round in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He has spent the past two years with the Indianapolis Colts, making the Pro Bowl in 2018.
That is likely where they met Ebron, as Smith-Schuster and Conner were both there as well. He is wearing his Pro Bowl t-shirt in the picture. That season, Ebron caught 66 passes for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns. Smith-Schuster caught 111 passes for 1426 yards and seven touchdowns. Conner, in 13 games, totaled nearly 1500 yards from scrimmage with 13 touchdowns.
If the Steelers can get that sort of productivity out of their top skill position players, then this can be a great offense. And there are still McDonald, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, Chase Claypool, and Jaylen Samuels to consider.
The wildcard, other than the fact of Roethlisberger’s surgically-repaired elbow, is the offensive line. if they can hold up this year and provide the blocking needed for this offense to excel, then they have the talent to capitalize on their potential.