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2024 NFL Draft

Jets Nearly Picked Roman Wilson Before Steelers Could Land Him

The New York Jets nearly nabbed Roman Wilson before the Pittsburgh Steelers even had a chance of grabbing him in the NFL Draft.



Pittsburgh Steelers WR Roman Wilson

When the Pittsburgh 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.

But there could be another comparison that makes even more sense. Daniel Jeremiah believes that Wilson is more like Jayden Reed, who has shined early in his career with the Green Bay Packers.

“Then you go out and get Roman Wilson, who I thought was like a Jayden Reed type of player,” he said. “We saw how quickly Jayden Reed transitioned with the Green Bay Packers and how they got him up and running, and the success he had,” Jeremiah said of Wilson on The Rich Eisen Show.

But he almost never made it to the Steelers, either. In newly revealed footage, Jets general manager Joe Douglas was trying to trade up for a wide receiver, whether Malachi Corley or Wilson. They ended up moving up to nab Corley, allowing Wilson to fall right to Pittsburgh.

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.

Roman Wilson played both inside and outside at Michigan, spending 91% of his time in the slot as a junior in 2022 and 65.5% of his time in the slot last season, per Pro Football Focus.

“I feel like if your mindset is to win a game, you’ll go out there and do whatever your coach asks you to do to win. At Michigan, for me, it was blocking. So, if I want to win a game, I’m going to go out there and block my ass off,” Wilson said.
All in all, Wilson will have a significant role in the offense, currently slotted in there as the WR2 in the group. They might add someone else to help fill in the gaps as well, but Wilson should play right away.