With 6,415 snaps under his belt and 518 career receptions for 6,748 yards and 43 touchdowns, new Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Allen Robinson has been around the block a time or two in his NFL career.
With his move to Pittsburgh in a surprising trade with the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the week that featured a seventh-round pick swap in which Pittsburgh moved down 17 spots and picked up $5 million owed on his contract, Robinson becomes the elder statesman in the wide receiver room in the Steel City.
Robinson, who will turn 30 years old near the end of August, is on his fourth team in his 10th season in the NFL, having spent four seasons with Jacksonville, four seasons with Chicago, and one season in Los Angeles. He knows what it takes to succeed and be prepared each and every week, and outside of his potential production on the field, that veteran leadership and experience overall is a big add for the Steelers, at least according to Yahoo Sports analyst Matt Harmon.
Appearing on the latest episode of the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast podcast, Harmon — who also puts together superb work with his Reception Perception findings for receivers in the NFL — stated that Robinson is a good fit for the Steelers simply based on the leadership and experience he brings to the table.
“What this does for Pittsburgh is, I think, it gets a veteran in the room. A guy who works hard, a guy who knows how to go about his business,” Harmon said, according to video via the Yahoo Fantasy Football Forecast podcast. “They have George Pickens and Diontae Johnson; both guys are young. And again, they don’t have any veterans in that room.
“Robinson is at least a professional wide receiver and has been around a long time. They are buying him for basically nothing…it makes sense there, and it was a position of need. I will say too, though: I am curious where Robinson fits because he has been an outside receiver for the most part…”
The Steelers certainly needed that veteran presence in the wide receiver room, especially with quarterback Kenny Pickett still relatively young, and the offense overall having a rather low average age overall. While Johnson is a veteran on the field in his own right with 3,413 career snaps to go along with 340 receptions for 3,646 yards and 20 touchdowns, he’s just 26 years old and has been in the league just four seasons.
Pickens, of course, was a second-round pick last season and remains a young, developing receiver overall. Fellow 2022 draft pick Calvin Austin III didn’t even take a snap in preseason action due to an injury that caused him to miss his entire rookie season, so he is a massive question mark.
The only true veterans with some success that the Steelers had in the receiver room before the Robinson deal were journeyman Anthony Miller and Gunner Olszewski. Pittsburgh needed that steady veteran presence, and that’s what Robinson will provide.
We’ll see how he translates on the field in 2023 for the black and gold, but more of a focus on the slot while still having some value and versatility on the boundary could do wonders for Robinson late in his career.