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Steelers WR Dez Fitzpatrick Could Make Sleeper Run for Roster Spot

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick remains a player who could make a sleeper run at a roster spot for the team.



Pittsburgh Steelers WR Dez Fitzpatrick
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick at the team's mandatory minicamp, June 12, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver room is loaded with low-end roster players battling it out for spots on the team. There are roles up for grabs all across that room, and while it is expected that the team will make a move at some point when that comes in, it is anyone’s best guess. That means the guys currently in Pittsburgh have a chance to make some noise first.

Throughout OTAs and minicamp, most players did little to disprove the notion that the team needs a wide receiver. Calvin Austin III did the most, having the best spring out of just about anyone as he cooked defensive backs up and down the roster to the tune of the best spring of his young career.

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Dez Fitzpatrick

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick at the team’s OTAs, May 21, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

But in the sea of receivers trying to make a name for themselves, one guy stuck out clearly — wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is not new around these parts. The Steelers signed him to a future contract after the 2022 season, and he impressed throughout the summer last year to the point where he earned a practice squad spot. When Diontae Johnson suffered an injury, Fitzpatrick was elevated. He would end the year on the practice squad, but the Steelers brought him back on another one-year deal.

The fascinating thing about those low-end roster spots is that special teams become more important. And the Steelers need kick and punt coverage units. They will need two new gunners, and while the team has started to train other wide receivers in those spots, only one player is stepping up to work in tackle drills. That would be Fitzpatrick.

Add in as a receiver that, while he is not flashy, he does everything just well enough to get by, and there is a recipe here for Fitzpatrick to make a roster run. He catches everything, is tough, and is a willing blocker. The Steelers wide receiver lacks the talent needed to provide a high floor, and many of the lower-end players on the roster are volatile.

So, when talking about the back end of the Steelers wide receiver room, it would be best to include Fitzpatrick in the discussion to make the roster serious. He almost did it a season ago in a better wide receiver corps on paper, and so it would not be that stunning if he could crack through as the WR5.