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2024 NFL Draft

Roman Wilson Believes He Can Be a No. 1 WR



Pittsburgh Steelers Roman Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers’ third-round selection Roman Wilson isn’t the biggest or most polished route-runner, but he has traits that remind people of Tyler Lockett and Steelers legend Hines Ward. Wilson even compared himself to 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.

Ward was the Steelers’ No. 1 wide receiver for years in the 2000s, and Wilson thinks he can be a top target, as well.

“People say that I can’t be a number one receiver, and I feel like I definitely can be that guy. I feel like I’ve shown it, I’ve shown flashes of it, but with enough production, I feel like I can easily be that guy,” Wilson said on a podcast with former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. last month.

Wilson thinks he still has a lot improve in his game, but is looking forward to getting in the lab and getting better every day.

“What can I do that I am already doing that I can get better at? Wilson said. “How much more film I can watch, how much better can I get at running my routes…how can I be open when the play breaks down?”

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.

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. A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Wilson attended the same high school as fellow Steelers Nick and Nate Herbig,

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.

And the Steelers are going lofty with that Ward comparison, but Wilson has embraced the ‘no block, no rock’ mantra that the Michigan coaches preached to him, and that might make him more than apt to earn parts of that comparison.

“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.