All 91 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 91 members of the Steelers 2019 training camp roster.
19 • JuJu Smith-Schuster, third-year wide receiver
Last year: After making seven starts as a rookie, Smith-Schuster secured a starting spot in 2018, making 13 starts and playing in all 16 games.
Stats: Grabbed 111 balls out of 166 targets for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the Steelers in catches and yards. Smith-Schuster averaged 89.1 yards per game, which was seventh in the NFL.
Named to his first Pro Bowl after the 2018 season as an alternate for teammate Antonio Brown. Received an 81.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, 16th amongst NFL receivers.
For the second consecutive season, he caught a 97-yard touchdown pass, the longest in the league.
— Couch Guy Sports (@CouchGuySports) November 26, 2018
Camp outlook: With the departure of Brown, there aren’t many players on the Steelers roster with a role as secure as Smith-Schuster’s. He will be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver if he’s healthy, and he has been reliable throughout his young career.
Projected role: The one thing that he will have to deal with this year is an increased number of double teams and other ways that opposing defenses are going to center their coverage around him, now that Brown is gone.
That probably won’t be replicated in training camp, but it’s worth watching for in the preseason games, even if many other teams probably won’t want to tip their hand about what type of situational defenses they’re going to run.
That will be the biggest difference between his first two seasons and the upcoming one, and how he adjusts to it will likely determine whether he’s a repeat Pro Bowler.