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Steelers WRs Coach Zach Azzanni Isn’t Worried About No. 2 WR Labels

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Steelers WRS Coch Zach Azzanni
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni at minicamp on June 12, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — While many are clamoring for the Pittsburgh Steelers to trade for a No. 2 wide receiver, the team doesn’t appear to be all that concerned about their depth at wide receiver.

Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith thinks someone will step up and rise to the occasion.

“Every year changes. If you’re talking historical, if you’re just playing static and not moving and you were spread out and you had wide receiver one, wide receiver two, wide receiver three, things change year to year,” Smith said in an interview with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com. “You see it every year in this league. Guys that may be a fifth-round pick end up being the rookie of the year. Guys get another opportunity, they step up. It’s constantly changing. And then, unfortunately, guys get injured, you have to have depth. You’re working all those contingency plans all up and down the offense.”

Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni echoed Smith at minicamp on Tuesday. He even thinks the number system in labeling wide receivers is overrated.

“Competition has been great. It’s kind of what I mean when I say these guys are at different spots of their career. I know a lot gets made of the one, two, the three. Listen, this day and age, we move everyone around and guys get balls based on matchup. That number thing is a little overrated to me,” Azzanni said.

Steelers WRS Coch Zach Azzanni

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni at minicamp on June 12, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Wide receivers Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, Scotty Miller, Roman Wilson and Calvin Austin III are all competing for starting spots. Azzanni praised the trajectory of Austin, who’s been turning heads this offseason.

“He’s been outstanding. That’s a guy that’s gone from here to here in the last eight weeks,” Azzanni said. “It’s been really fun to watch. He’s a worker, he’s intentful, he’s urgent. He wants to be coached. You can see it.

“His game has [improved]. I’m really, really excited for his season if he keeps practicing the way he’s been practicing.”

Wilson is another receiver who can make some noise this season. Longtime Steelers beat writer Gerry Dulac sees some Hines Ward-like traits in him.

“I’m with you Rich, I like Roman Wilson,” Dulac said on the Rich Eisen Show. “Talk about a guy who is a perfect number two type of receiver, kind of a Hines Ward type with the physical nature of his game. He catches everything thrown at him, loves to play in traffic. That was Hines Ward’s signature. I’m not going to sit here and tell you ‘He’s going to be Hines Ward,’ but I like the draft pick,” Dulac said.

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.