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Do the current Steelers WRs fit Arthur Smith’s offense?

What will the Steelers wide reciever room look like in 2024? It’s been hard to judge the team’s WRs with the lackluster QB play we’ve seen over the past few seasons. I also don’t think any of our WRs have been able to play up to their full potential with the basic playbook of Matt Canada. In 2023 Diontae Johnson and George Pickens were the Steelers WR 1 & 2, with Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin being the other contributors in the room. With his very limited and specific role, I do not see Allen Robinson being with the Steelers for the 2024 season. The Steelers can save around $10 million in cap space by choosing not to retaining Robinson.

The team’s brightest spot is George Pickens, who looks like he can be an absolute star in this league. Pickens finished the season over 1,000 yards while averaging 18.1 yards per catch. If you were to create a WR in a video game, Pickens would be the mold; he’s tall, fast, athletic and can make the unbelievable catch look routine. Dionte Johnson is smaller, but elusive, and can be electric when given the right opportunity. Johnson’s best attribute is his route running and run after catch, when he is not running a route that is coming back to the quarterback. He has the ability to get open quickly and provide an easy target for whoever is under center. He has been criticized by fans for dropping the football and running backwards to the line of scrimmage, but over the past 2 seasons he has almost completely eliminated both issues. Calvin Austin III has not found a consistent role in the offense outside of the occasional deep post or jet sweep. In his first season of play, CA3 has been largely a non factor in the Steelers offense. The issue with Johnson and Austin III is their size and blocking ability. A major component of Smith’s offense is it requires the receivers to block since it will be a run first offense.

That brings the question, do all of our WRs fit Arthur Smith’s offensive play style? George Pickens is the type of receiver Smith likes to utilize while Diontae Johnson and Calvin Austin are the wild cards. If used the right way, this WR group can be electric, but does the organization need more? I believe the Steelers should and will incorporate Johnson and Austin into Smith’s offense, but a solid WR 3 should be brought in either via draft or free agency. Looking at the draft, Javon Baker, Ja’Lynn Polk, Brenden Rice are the type of WRs that I believe can fit the Steelers needs. Some free agents that could be on the Steelers radar are: Tyler Boyd, Kendrick Bourne and Mack Hollins. Big body, physical athletes that can work from the slot or on the outside, and are not afraid to get dirty. Will they choose to take a chance in the draft, chose a proven free agent or will they double dip and go after both? I love this time of year because all options are on the table.

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