What is the Steelers wide receiver outlook?
By: Jake Rajala
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had many unearthly wide receivers over the past decade. They had the iron man Hines Ward, the hot and cold Antonio Brown, the speed demon Mike Wallace, and the former USC stiff-arm legend JuJu Smith-Schuster.
They still feature an exciting and dangerous group of WRs: Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens at the three WR spots. Johnson proved to be a top-shelf wideout in 2021 – as he unleashed 107 receptions, 1,161 yds, and eight TDs – after having 1,161 yds and eight touchdown receptions in 2020. He garnered a stout 74.2 grade by PFF for his 2021 performance. Johnson is entering the final year of his contract.
The ascending Chase Claypool should anticipate at least 1,000+ receiving in the JuJu-less offense next season. Claypool ousted 860 yds in 15 games last season and nine TD receptions in the season prior. Claypool certainly isn’t a Top-3 NFL WR, but he can really make his first Pro Bowl in 2022. He may follow Johnson in line by expecting a hefty contract extension in the 2023 off-season.
They should also anticipate magic from the rookie George Pickens — who can be an excellent magnet on the outside with his 6’3, 220-pound frame and 40-yard dash time (4.44). Pickens can be an excellent match-up nightmare from the WR3 spot. PFF boldly stated that he is even the best Steelers off-season addition. They will also anticipate production from the other rookie Calvin Austin – as he notched an impressive 1,149 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last season.
Yardbarker generously ranked the Steelers WR group as the 11th best WR unit in the league entering the 2022 season. I honestly love the outlook for the Steelers WR group – as they should aspire to help Mitchell Trubisky silence a lot of doubters and make his second trip to the Pro Bowl.