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Steelers Named Landing Spot for Hard-Nosed Texans Receiver

If the Pittsburgh Steelers want to land a physical receiver, Houston’s Noah Brown would make plenty of sense.



Pittsburgh Steelers WR Noah Brown

The Pittsburgh Steelers will naturally add someone to the wide receiver room this offseason. It seems likely that Allen Robinson II will be out with his cap hit, and more than that, for Arthur Smith’s scheme to work, the team needs physical players. George Pickens can be that, but outside of him, it’s hard to see someone in that room blocking at a high level.

So, take Houston’s Noah Brown as a potential fit. A 6-foot-2, 215 pounds receiver, Brown broke out in Bobby Slowik’s system, becoming a dependable weapon for C.J. Stroud, Tank Dell, and Nico Collins. Brown became the possession man of that bunch, and his ability to get out and block on the perimeter became one of his best attributes. Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report believes that Brown could make sense.

It’s not hard to see why that would be the case. One of the things that makes Smith’s offense fit in with the Sean McVay tree, or at least parts of it, is that he has some of the shortest splits in the league. Wide receivers will sometimes be on the hip on tackles or tight ends. That’s the reality of it, but it’s an interesting philosophy when done right. Smith attacks defenses from the inside-out rather than outside-in like most spread formations will do. That does not mean that both philosophies can not work, but McVay and Kyle Shanahan are on this wave now. They run bunch sets, stacked looks, and work out of these condensed splits. No team ran more plays out of condensed sets than the 49ers, but the Rams and Falcons are right behind them.

Brown fits into that mold well. For one, he comes from an offense with the Shanahan tree since he played under Slowik’s guidance. The Texans were up there as a team that did lots of condensed splits, and a guy like Brown was able to fit into that so well because he was a strong-handed possession receiver over the top while blocking his tail off, too.

With Smith’s play-action game and wanting to attack in between the numbers, it makes perfect sense to do that. But to pull it off, you need some hosses that can block in the run game and dig out safeties. Because of the reduced splits, teams will almost certainly move into one-high shells and roll down the extra guy into the box to account in the run game.

Pittsburgh will need a standout blocking receiver who can do that, and to get effort out of the talented guys they have in that room. And Brown fits in as the guy who could add that element to Smith’s offense.