The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: Which wide receiver on the 90-man roster who was not on the active roster a year ago has the best chance of making the team in 2021?
The Steelers only carried five wide receivers into the 2020 season after having carried six far more often than not. While they retain all five of the players who made the team last year, they did not sign any in free agency, nor draft any. It’s certainly not a given that there are any strong contenders already identified to push for a roster spot, let alone force the team to carry one more than last year.
There are six candidates on the current 90-man roster, including Anthony Johnson and Cody White, who did spend some time on the team’s practice squad during the 2020 season. Tyler Simmons and Mathew Sexton were first-year players whom they signed after watching them work out on the Pro Day circuit back in March. Rico Bussey was signed as a rookie college free agent, in addition to Isaiah McKoy. None of them were drafted. Some have spent time on 90-man rosters or practice squads before, but have never been on a 53-man roster.
If you’re so inclined, you can click through the links provided above on the names of the wide receivers, which will take you to our posts that go into some detail about who they are. If I were to pick, it would be Bussey for now. Frankly, that means little in early June. It’s just a discussion topic right now.