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Do the Steelers NEED a top tier Wide Receiver Two?

With Arthur Smith as the Pittsburgh Steelers new offensive coordinator, what does that mean for the Steelers wide receiver room. In previous seasons the Pittsburgh Steelers have always had a wide receiver room that was in the upper echelon of the NFL. We are long removed from the “Young Money” days of Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace. The Steelers seem to be missing a solid starting wide receiver to pair with George Pickens. The current group of notable receivers consist of: George Pickens, Calvin Austin, Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, and rookie Roman Wilson along with other wide receivers in the room that may fill out the bottom of the roster and practice squad.

In a league that caters to the offensive side of the ball by encouraging high scoring and fast pace play, the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t appear to be following the same script. Arthur Smith is known for his ability scheme a balanced offense that relies heavily on the running game while setting up the play action pass. Even though we are living in a pass happy league, Smith has shown he can be successful with a run heavy offense. So… just how important is an elite wide receiver two.

George Pickens looks to be the clear number one option for whoever lines up under center during the 2024 season; what level of receiver do the Steelers need opposite Pickens? We have heard all of the rumors of the Steelers wanting to trade for Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuels and now DK Metcalf’s name has come up among others. While any of these receivers would be a major upgrade to our receiver room, they also come with a hefty price tag. Brandon Aiyuk would most likely cost the Steelers north of $25 million per year while Deebo Samuel and DK Metcalf have an average yearly salary around $24 million.

Don’t get me wrong I would love to have the best wide receiving room possible but is another top tier receiver necessary for what Arthur Smith is trying to do? Smith also does not use a lot of receivers on the field at a time. His offense will come out with one or two wide receivers a high percentage of the time. Let’s look at the usage of wide receivers in Arthur Smith’s offense during his tenure as an Offensive Coordinator and Head Coach.

The top target in Arthur Smith’s offense is primarily a wide receiver. Over a five-year span, these players averaged 67 receptions, 984.6 yards and 5.2 touchdowns yearly. The next most productive players averaged 53.4 receptions, 711 yards and 3.4 touchdowns each season. These players were made up of wide receivers, a tight end and a running back. The third most productive players accounted for a yearly average of 46 receptions, 474.6 yards and 4.2 touchdowns, also made up of wide receivers a tight end and a running back. Now maybe the number two receiver in Smith’s offense hasn’t put up big numbers because they do not have the ability, that can certainly be a possibility. We have yet to see Arthur Smith with a top tier number two receiver. In the 2024 NFL Draft, Roman Wilson was added to the Pittsburgh wide receiver room.

Roman Wilson is a player I like more the more I learn about him, he also looks to fit in the Steelers offense perfectly. In Wilson’s last season at Michigan, in an offense that was very run heavy, he compiled 48 catches, 789 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He is a very willing and capable run blocker, has great hands, can play inside or outside and does not shy away from contact. The Steelers are very high on Wilson as a number two or three receiver and I think it is their plan is to acquire another receiver they think can produce 60+ receptions, 800+ yards, 5+ touchdowns. I don’t think you need to go get a mega star to accomplish those numbers, somebody like Courtland Sutton would be an ideal fit.

I would rather the Steelers to not break the bank on an elite wide receiver and spread the money around and improve more of the roster. For the same price of a Brandon Aiyuk, you may be able to add a Courtland Sutton AND a Justin Simmons or a Stephon Gilmore. If you ask me, two of those players would provide more value than a top tier wide receiver.

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