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Van Jefferson Is Confident He Can Be Steelers No. 2 WR

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Van Jefferson
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Van Jefferson at OTAs on May 21, 2024. -- Ed Thompson/ Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Van Jefferson is one of several Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers vying for a starting spot this summer. As it stands now, Jefferson and rookie Roman Wilson are the favorites to serve as the No. 2 wide receiver. It’s a role that Jefferson believes he can flourish in.

“Yeah, obviously, I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Jefferson said at OTAs on Tuesday when asked if he could be the No. 2 wide receiver. “I think I could do those things, but like I said, at the end of the day I got to put in the work to get the opportunity to earn that. Nothing is given, nothing is going to be handed to me. I have to work for that spot and I am comfortable in doing that.”

The last two seasons have been quiet for Jefferson, but he had solid year in 2021 with the Los Angeles Rams when he recorded 50 receptions for 802 yards (16.0 average) and six touchdowns.

Along with Jefferson, the Steelers signed veteran receivers Quez Watkins and Scotty Miller in free agency. Third-year wide receiver Calvin Austin III could also make some noise this season. It’s certainly a crowded receiver room outside of No. 1 wideout George Pickens.

“Yeah I think the whole group is just coming around each other and bonding together, especially with (wide receivers coach) Zach Azzanni,” Jefferson said. “We’re just taking pride in working out together and coming out here competing. We all know what we’re fighting for, we all know that we’re competing against one another. But at the end of the day, it’s all about coming out here and having fun. Putting your best foot forward to earn the trust of the quarterbacks and the trust of the coaches, and obviously see that on the field.”

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Van Jefferson

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Van Jefferson during OTAs at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 21, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Jefferson is one of four former Falcons on the Steelers that played under offensive coordinator Arthur Smith in Atlanta. Jefferson said Smith’s mentality and approach is no different than when he was the Falcons head coach.

“I think it’s kind of the same. He still has that personality of just get going,” Jefferson said. “He just wants everything to be perfect. The guys to work hard. I think he had that mentality in the ‘A’ and he brought it here to Pittsburgh.”

Mike Tomlin has also been everything that Jefferson envisioned.

“Just an awesome coach. Awesome human being. Someone that takes pride in coaching and loves the game of football. You want that as a football coach,” Jefferson said. “Being on the outside and now seeing the inside is totally different. I didn’t know that he never had a losing season until I came here. That’s just a testament to the work he’s put in and how great of a coach he is.”

Jefferson, who won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, is heading into his fifth season. He’s knows the inner details of the league and has been around a championship culture. He wants to relay that wisdom to George Pickens, who no longer has veterans Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson in the receiver room.

“Yeah, George has a lot of talent. He’s an unbelievable receiver. Watching him from afar, especially when I was at Florida playing against him. He’s just an unbelievable talent,” Jefferson said. “So he has all the talent to be the great receiver that we know he can be. I know he had some vets here in Allen Robinson and Diontae Johnson to kind of raise him. I’m just going to try to do my part to make sure he reaches his full potential because I know he can. He can be a 1,500-yard guy, an 1,800 yard guy. He has that capability. I’m just trying to do my part in making him better, and I know he’s going to come out here and do well when it’s time.”

RELATED: What Are Steelers Getting in Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins?

Alan Saunders provided reporting from Pittsburgh.

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Jesus Christani
Jesus Christani
June 4, 2024 7:21 pm

Confidence… Work… Earn it…