It’s been an unpredictable 2022 NFL offseason to this point. That couldn’t be more true when it comes to the wide receiver market. Whether it’s veteran wideouts requesting to be paid or traded or teams realizing just how vital they are in today’s NFL, the amount of movement with the position has been unprecedented. The Pittsburgh Steelers know all too well about the importance of wide receivers. They added to the room on Friday with the selection of Georgia wide receiver George Pickens at No. 52.
Pickens gives the Steelers another dynamic playmaker to pair with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. As the market continues to rise, the Steelers and Canada are aware of just how noteworthy it is to have all three on rookie contracts heading into the 2022 season. On Friday, he spoke to the media regarding just how much the position has been emphasized as of late.
“Obviously, they make a lot of plays and right now people wanna score points and everybody’s looking to have those big, big splash plays,” said Canada in a press conference after the Steelers’ second round pick was announced. “So I think that’s what’s happening. You’re seeing that in free agency, you’re seeing that in trades, and you’re certainly seeing that thus far in the draft. It’s going quick. So, but there’s a lot of talent out there and you look at college football and it’s spread out, there’s a lot more wideouts playing and that’s what’s happening.”
Certainly having three big-time producers at the position is far better than one. Whether the Steelers end up retaining Johnson at some point over the next year is also yet to be seen. However, the fact that the Steelers can now work with that group for the rest of the offseason is crucial to making that decision. Another factor that would benefit the receivers is getting Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry involved in the passing game even more.
“I think having three guys that can go down the field, and again, we feel very positive about what we got in too with Pat and Gentry both,” said Canada speaking about the offense as a whole with the addition of Pickens. “I think it adds to our versatility and ability to make them cover the entire field both horizontally and vertically.”
Canada will have the task of figuring out how to utilize the talent in the room. After a disappointing first season as offensive coordinator, it’s safe to say he and his system will be under the microscope extensively in the upcoming year.