Tha Sports Junkies 101

Steelers Look to Have NFL’s Most Dangerous Wide Receiver Group in 2017

Steelers wide receiver Brook Ward via flickr

Steelers Wide Receiver Core Returns an Impressive Group From 2016

The Steelers wide receiver group had a very impressive year in 2016. This group was a huge key in their deep playoff run.  Antonio Brown, arguably a top three wide receiver in the league, led the Steelers wide receiver core once again. Brown finished the 2016 season with 106 receptions for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns. Brown being healthy in the playoffs was a tremendous help for the Steelers. He was able to accumulate 18 receptions, 309 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns in three postseason games for Pittsburgh. These numbers led to the Steelers making him the highest paid receiver in the NFL with a five-year contract worth $68 million.

The 2016 Steelers wide receiver core also saw key contributions from rising stars such as Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers. Coates was limited in the end of the 2016 season due to an injury. However, he showed a lot of promise as a deep threat for the Steelers. Coates turned heads in a 2016 matchup against the Jets in which he had 6 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Rogers burst onto the season for the Steelers in his first season on the active roster. Eli Rogers had been a practice squad receiver after being signed out of Louisville and finally had his name called in 2016. He provided a great amount of production in the slot as he finished with 48 receptions for 594 yards and three touchdowns. If Rogers and Coates can keep improving, this wide receiver group will be dangerous once again in 2017.

Bryant and JuJu Add Talent to an Already Impressive Steelers Wide Receiver Core

Unfortunately for the Steelers, they had to play their whole 2016 season without one of their biggest weapons. Martavis Bryant failed a drug test. As a result, he received a suspension for the entire 2016 season. With the reinstatement of Bryant, the Steelers get back a very dangerous deep threat. He came onto the scene in his rookie season (2014). He finished the year with 26 receptions for 549 yards and eight touchdowns. Bryant improved in his second season as he accounted for 50 receptions for 765 yards and six touchdowns. The return of Bryant will help to take pressure off of Brown in the passing game.

Another exciting addition to the Steelers wide receiver core is JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Steelers drafted this outstanding wide receiver out of USC with their second round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. In his final season with the Trojans, JuJu finished with 70 receptions for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers earned him second-team All-Conference honors. The addition of Smith-Schuster will bring another deep threat to the Steelers offense.

What to Expect in 2017

I strongly believe that there are great things to come for this Steelers wide receiver group in 2017. My prediction is that the starters will be Brown, Bryant, and Smith-Schuster. This will leave Coates, Rogers, and either Darrius Heyward-Bey, Cobi Hamilton, or Demarcus Ayers as the key rotational guys. With all of these weapons, along with a great offensive line and Le’Veon Bell out of the backfield, it’s no wonder why Roethlisberger came back for another season.