The Pittsburgh Steelers have been generally praised for their handling of the offseason thus far, making moves that should help to set them up well in the 2023 NFL Draft and allow them to more judiciously select the best available players.
One area that they have not yet addressed meaningfully is that of wide receiver. While they have not added anybody of note via outside unrestricted free agency or trade, they have allowed Steven Sims to leave and have not re-signed Miles Boykin.
They still retain Diontae Johnson and George Pickens at the top of the depth chart and hope to see significant contributions from second-year Calvin Austin III in 2023 after missing his rookie season due to injury, but this still feels like an area of the roster they will want to address in the draft. But when?
Not early, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In a chat on Wednesday, when asked when the Steelers would likely draft a wide receiver, he said, “No higher than third, maybe fourth”. And he offered a name: Jonathan Mingo.
That’s not a hard dot to connect. It was Dulac himself who first reported that Mingo, the 6’1” senior out of Ole Miss, would be coming in for a pre-draft visit. Finally playing more than eight games in 2022, he caught 51 passes last season for 861 yards and five touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown. We profiled him here:
One thing to like about Mingo is his ability to play all over the field. He should fit the typical “big slot” profile the Steelers have tended to prefer in recent times with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Jerricho Cotchery.
He would fit right into that third-round range, at which point the Steelers should have already managed to address some of their bigger “need” positions, like cornerback and offensive tackle, perhaps also the defensive line or linebacker.
The wide receiver position is one where you can never seem to have too many good players, and it would be foolish to think the Steelers are set there. As high as the hopes are for Pickens, for example, he still has a lot of growing to do, and, well, I don’t need to sell readers here on the idea that Johnson may stand to be more reliable.
As for Austin, we know very little about him and what kind of player he would be. Remember, he never even stepped foot inside of an NFL stadium as a player. He suffered a foot injury the day before the Steelers’ first preseason game, so we only got some early glimpses of him in training camp.
We can work under the assumption if we want that he can just slide right in at slot and help elevate the offense, but we don’t know that. This is definitely a position that could use some reinforcements. I would even welcome both a draft pick and an outside veteran to come in and provide depth.