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2024 NFL Draft

PFF Labels Roman Wilson as an Elite Pick



The Pittsburgh Steelers’ third-round selection of Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson was one of three picks in Round 3 tabbed as “elite” by Pro Football Focus. The Seattle Seahawks’ selection of UConn guard Christian Haynes and the Baltimore Ravens’ pick of Penn State outside linebacker Adisa Isaac were the two other selections categorized as elite by PFF.

“Wilson was projected to be an early second-rounder. He is an effortless separator with great hands, as evidenced by his one drop on 67 targets and 90th-percentile separation percentage. He easily slots in as a replacement for Diontae Johnson to create explosive plays downfield,” PFF wrote.

Roman Wilson says that he will “block his ass off” for his team to win a football game. And that’s exactly what the  Steelers needed out of their wide receiver in this draft class. A new mentality would be born out of the Arthur Smith hire in that wide receiver room, and guys who are selfless and want to block are the type of players they want in the room.

On the field, Wilson is undersized but gives it his all in the blocking department. He worked from condensed splits right out of the gate, so the Smith offense will not be too different from what he did at Michigan. From that standpoint, it makes total sense, and while other receivers might have been rated higher, no one fit the scheme much better than someone like Wilson at this point.

Wilson is fast and can fly. Working primarily from the slot (65% of his snaps came from there), Wilson can stretch the field vertically. Smith’s offense works mostly over the middle of the field, and Wilson’s production comes from between the numbers. Wilson is a smart player who finds the soft spots in zones and makes contested, tough grabs, exudes toughness.

Inside or out, he was Michigan’s most productive receiver this season. Wilson led the Wolverines in catches (48), yards (789) and touchdowns (12), as the clear top target in a very limited passing attack. He can play some outside, but he has a limited profile against press coverage, which will lead to questions in that department.

Nick Farabaugh provided reporting for this story.