In his first interview since signing a one-year, $8 million deal to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers, JuJu Smith-Schuster said he came back because he felt Pittsburgh gave him the chance to win a Super Bowl. But with all the losses the team has still suffered this offseason, he knows the team must draft well.
He joined NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti, who broke the news about Smith-Schuster’s return, for an Instagram Live interview Friday evening.
“I think we do,” Smith-Schuster said when asked if he thinks Pittsburgh can make a Super Bowl run. “I think we’re going to have to draft really, really good. We’re going to have to draft guys who are going to have to come in and play early at a young age and do what they do.”
Smith-Schuster’s return is key for the offense and doesn’t create a void at the slot receiver position. But there are still holes elsewhere. Pittsburgh is looking for a starting center, running back, potentially a slot or outside corner in addition to immediate depth at outside linebacker, tight end, and probably inside linebacker too. Tyson Alualu’s surprise departure to Jacksonville also could create a need at nose tackle, though Pittsburgh may let Carlos Davis and Isaiah Buggs battle for that spot.
Last year’s rookie class wasn’t counted on out of the gate. But the top picks were relied on throughout the season. Kevin Dotson was starting by Week Two. Chase Claypool had a great rookie season. And Alex Highsmith became the starter once Bud Dupree was lost for the year.
As it stands right now, the Steelers have eight picks in next month’s draft, starting with #24 overall in the first round. They could add another pick if they trade Steven Nelson, who appears to be on the outs. If they deal him, they’ll likely get back a Day Three pick.