Steelers’ WR Room Ranks 17th On ESPN’s Mike Clay’s List

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the reputation of being the best team in the league in identifying, drafting, and developing talent at the wide receiver position, a legacy that goes back decades at this point. Yet it doesn’t seem as though many at this moment would rank their current wide receiving corps very high in spite of the fact that they have drafted the position in the first three rounds almost annually since 2017. Or even since 2010.

Take this latest example from ESPN’s Mike Clay, who published a list yesterday ranking the projected wide receiver rooms for each team. The Steelers checked in at 17, just at the top of the bottom half of the league—and one spot behind the Baltimore Ravens, who are typically near the bottom of such lists.

The Steelers’ wide receiver room is currently headed by a one-time Pro Bowler and an encouraging second-round pick going into year two, supplemented by a veteran presence recently acquired who was once a Pro Bowler himself.

Pittsburgh did not otherwise add meaningfully to the position this offseason beyond acquiring Allen Robinson II via trade. They did not draft a wide receiver, even though they traded away a starter in the middle of the 2022 season in Chase Claypool.

Diontae Johnson is coming off of a rough season that saw him fail to score a single touchdown just a year after making the Pro Bowl and putting up career numbers. That likely plays an outsized role in how this current group is perceived.

Then there is George Pickens, who in spite of his highlight-reel catches still ultimately finished his rookie season with 52 catches for 801 yards and four touchdowns—good, but far from spectacular output. Nobody else at wide receiver really contributed much last year, and Steven Sims, who became the third receiver after Claypool was traded, is no longer here.

But there is every reason to expect the passing game to be much better this year. The Steelers had a rookie quarterback last season who didn’t get much time working with the starters until he was suddenly thrust into the starting lineup at halftime in week four.

Robinson could prove to be a key addition as a veteran presence in the slot, a role that Claypool had a bit of difficulty fully integrating into. And the Steelers are still hopeful that 2022 fourth-round pick Calvin Austin III can come in and play a part as well.

Beyond those four, however, this group doesn’t look much different from the non-descript depth chart of last season, with Miles Boykin and Gunner Olszewski still rounding out the list. Frankly, looking at Clay’s list, you can see why at least most of these teams are listed ahead of Pittsburgh.

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