Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has landed at No. 47 in the NFL Top 100, as voted on by the players of the league.
The third-year receiver jumped way up the charts after a breakout 2018 season. He was previously unranked. Smith-Schuster finished 2018 with 1,426 yards on 111 catches and had seven touchdowns, leading to his first Pro Bowl selection in his second season in the NFL.
“He’s just playing like a seasoned vet,” Steelers cornerback Joe Haden said to NFL.com. “You wouldn’t think this is only his second year in the NFL. He just runs very, very good routes. Ben [Roethlisberger] obviously has that trust in him to throw to him in third down situations.”
Now with the departure of Antonio Brown, Smith-Schuster should have the opportunity to have an even greater role in the offense, while also having to deal with being the primary target of opposing teams’ coverage schemes for the first time.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” he said after practice on Friday. “I’ve been doing this my whole life. There’s just an opportunity, not just for myself, but for my other teammates. We all have to step up and make plays.”
Smith-Schuster is the fourth-highest-rated Steelers player in the Top 100, joining T.J. Watt (91), Cameron Heyward (88) and James Conner (62) as players honored by their brethren.