Steelers ‘Were Keen’ On Acquiring Veteran WR In Offseason, According To Omar Khan

Entering the 2023 offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of holes on the roster to address.

One of the more underrated on the roster involved the third receiver spot behind Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. It might have taken longer to address than the Steelers front office of GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl might have liked, but they certainly got their man, acquiring Allen Robinson in a seventh-round pick swap with the Los Angeles Rams.

According to Khan, who spoke with reporters Monday with head coach Mike Tomlin in the pre-draft press conference, the Steelers entered the offseason “keen” on acquiring a veteran receiver to shore up depth in the Steel City.

“We’re excited to have him. Early on when coach and I got together after the season and mapped out a plan and what we wanted 2023 to look like, one of the things we were keen on was acquiring a veteran receiver,” Khan said Monday, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page. “We’re excited that we were able to get it all done. With Allen, once the medical was confirmed to be okay, it was easy for us.”

Down the stretch in the second half of the season, after the trade of Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for what turned out to be the No. 32 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and the first pick of the second round, the Steelers were using veterans Steven Sims and Gunner Olszewski in the slot.

With Sims off to Houston and Olszewski a player on the roster bubble at this point, the Steelers desperately needed that veteran behind Johnson and Pickens while taking some pressure off unproven second-year player Calvin Austin III, a fourth-round pick last season who didn’t play a single snap, even in preseason, due to an injury.

That’s where Robinson enters the picture.

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 with Chicago, and one in Los Angeles. He knows what it takes to succeed and be prepared each and every week. Outside of his potential production on the field, that veteran leadership and experience overall is a big add for the Steelers.

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. 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 only four seasons.

Pickens, of course, was a second-round pick last season and remains a young, developing receiver.

Targeting a veteran receiver in the offseason, the Steelers certainly did well to add a player the caliber of Robinson, one the Steelers had their eyes on dating back to the 2014 NFL Draft with him coming out of Penn State. 

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