The Pittsburgh Steelers have an opening or two within their wide receiver rotation after losing three of their top five players at the position during the free agency period this offseason. While they used the draft to add some pedigreed options to the mix, they also have some veterans cast aside by other teams, with similar pedigree, gunning for roles.
One such candidate is Anthony Miller, a former second-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears, who spent most of the 2021 season on the Steelers’ practice squad being waived by the Houston Texans, prompted by the return of a healthy Danny Amendola.
Despite the turns his career has taken over the past year—he was traded, along with a seventh-round pick, to the Texans for a fifth-round pick at the start of training camp before Houston signed Amendola in September—he hasn’t lost faith in his ability, even if he admits to being “humbled” by the process, as he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski this past month.
When asked about the potential for an open position at wide receiver with JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud now gone, Miller began by saying “I love”, before pausing the check himself, and continuing, “I like me over everybody”.
A 5’11”, 199-pound slot receiver, Miller is the most experienced option on the Steelers’ current roster for that role. He has 140 career receptions for 1,589 yards and 12 touchdowns since he was drafted in the second round in 2018 out of Memphis, where he is now being challenged by another Tiger alumnus in fourth-round rookie Calvin Austin III.
Of course, there’s also second-round pick George Pickens, who, though at Georgia was an outside receiver, insists that he got plenty of work in the slot during practice and believes he’s fully capable of handling the role at this level, and quickly.
The Steelers are exploring their options, which also includes giving third-year veteran Chase Claypool more looks inside as they try to fill the snaps lost in free agency. Miles Boykin, claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens, and Steven Sims are two other veterans looking to factor into the competition behind Claypool and Diontae Johnson.
“We are all competing”, Miller told Adamski about that battle to secure the primary slot receiver responsibility. “We are all getting better, but I am coming for that spot. That’s what it is”.
While some fans balked at Claypool’s recent boasts about his own belief in himself, I like a wide receiver who thinks every job is his for the taking as long as he is able to go out there and prove it. If you don’t believe you have the talent to win a job, you’re already starting from behind. And Miller is a been-there-done-that guy, so he’d better believe he can do it.