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PFF Thinks Steelers Have One of Worst WR Corps in NFL



Steelers WR George Pickens

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver depth is without a doubt the biggest concern heading into the 2024 season. They are still without a No. 2 wide receiver. In some circles, the Steelers trading Diontae Johnson to Carolina was premature.

The Steelers don’t seem to be concerned about their wide receiver corps, however. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith said every year players step up and rise to the occasion at wide receiver, while receivers coach Zach Azzanni claimed that labeling receivers in a number system is overrated. General manager Omar Khan is also encouraged by the trajectory of the wide receiver room.

Pro Football Focus disagrees, though. In their recent wide receiver unit rankings, the Steelers came in at No. 26.

“George Pickens came in at No. 30 on PFF’s pre-season wide receiver list and leads the pack in Pittsburgh with Diontae Johnson no longer there. Rookie receiver Roman Wilson should get a good amount of playing time this year, too. Tight end Pat Freiermuth is coming off a 68.8 PFF receiving grade, and running back Jaylen Warren posted a 72.9 mark in 2023. It’s a decent group with a lower ceiling after Johnson’s departure,” Trevor Sikkema of PFF wrote.

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Roman Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Roman Wilson at the team’s first day of OTAs, May 21, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Alex Kay of Bleacher Report tabbed George Pickens among six players who are primed to make an All-Pro leap in 2024. Pickens caught 52 passes for 801 yards and four scores in his rookie season in 2022. Last season, he elevated his game with 63 receptions for 1,140 yards and five touchdowns.

With the revamped quarterbacks room and Arthur Smith now as the offensive coordinator, Pickens is in prime position to take off. But if Roman Wilson or Calvin Austin III, or any of the other receivers don’t step up, it could be tough sledding for Pickens and the rest of the offense. Teams will key in on Pickens and place double-coverage on him, which could set up a drastic situation.

The possibility of a trade for a wide receiver is also still on the table, but who knows if that will ever come to fruition. The Steelers probably should have had a better plan for Johnson’s absence.