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Chris Simms Envisions Roman Wilson Having a Puka Nacua-Like Season



Roman Wilson

Given the Pittsburgh Steelers lack of depth at wide receiver, rookie Roman Wilson should see a lot of playing time in Year 1. Because of this, Chris Simms of NBC Sports envisions Wilson having a breakout rookie year that resembles what Puka Nacua of the Los Angeles Rams did in 2023.

“Two guys I think jump to me here, one would be Roman Wilson of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and him being able to play right away is a big part of this. And the other one is Jermaine Burton of the Cincinnati Bengals,” Simms said on his Unbuttoned podcast.

Nacua set records for the most receptions (105) and receiving yards (1,486) ever by a rookie in a season, but C.J. Stroud’s unbelievable rookie campaign granted him NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Both put up historic numbers, but Stroud led the Texans to the playoffs. Being a quarterback gave Stroud an edge, too. In any other year, Nacua would have won OROY. No one expected Nacua, who was a fifth-round pick out of BYU, to break out like he did in 2023.

Rhett Lewis of NFL Network thinks Wilson is going to burst onto the scene and surprise people, as well. He predicts that Wilson will win OROY.

“I’m giving (OROY) to Roman Wilson,” he said. “So Roman Wilson and Payton Wilson…there it is your rookies of the year,” Lewis said on a recent NFL Total Access episode.

Lewis didn’t provide much of an explanation for Roman Wilson winning OROY, but he’ll have his hands full with Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr., Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, Malik Nabers and Romeo Odunze all in the mix, just to name a few.

When the Steelers drafted Roman Wilson, he earned all sorts of comparisons. He compared himself to one of Russell Wilson’s top targets, Tyler Lockett. But the comparison that Tony Pauline heard the Steelers view Wilson through is much more ambitious. According to Pauline, Wilson is viewed through a ‘Hines Ward lens’ within the Steelers organization as a tough player who wins between the numbers.

In January, Wilson got a challenge from Tomlin before a sunny Wednesday practice at the Senior Bowl. Tomlin pulled Wilson and Toledo CB Quinyon Mitchell aside, two of the most dominant players from day one of the Senior Bowl, and told them to go against each other throughout practice. They did just that, creating a highlight reel play for Wilson.

Wilson is somewhat undersized, checking in at 5-foot-10 3/4 and 185 pounds, but showed excellent athleticism in pre-draft testing. He ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, a 4.07-second shuttle and 6.89-second three-cone drill at the 2024 NFL Combine, resulting in an 8.59 RAS out of 10.