The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2022 NFL Draft with a major need at wide receiver.
Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud this offseason, leaving the team with a lack of depth at the wide receiver position.
The Steelers addressed that lack of depth this past weekend by making two of the best selections in the draft.
Pittsburgh drafted Georgia wide receiver George Pickens in the second round (No. 52 overall) and Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III in the fourth round (No. 138 overall).
Pro Football Focus felt like those two picks helped the Steelers’ wide receiver unit improve (via the draft) more than any other team’s wide receiver unit in the NFL.
Pickens and Austin are both first-round talents, so landing them in the second and fourth rounds is incredible value for Pittsburgh.
Austin fell to the fourth round mostly due to his size (5-foot-8). But he has great speed (4.32 in the 40-yard dash), can play inside or outside, and he’s terrific after the catch. If Austin is four inches taller, he’s easily a first-round pick.
As for Pickens, he’s a complete wide receiver who can be a No. 1 guy in the NFL. He just has to stay healthy, which is the only reason he slid to the first round. Pickens showed in his true freshman year at Georgia — when he caught 49 passes for 727 yards and eight touchdowns (great numbers for a true freshman in the SEC) — that he can be a dominant wide receiver. If he stays on the field for Pittsburgh, he could be the biggest steal in the draft.
The Steelers did a nice job of addressing some crucial team needs in this year’s draft, but the effort to improve the wide receiver group was definitely the most impressive work that outgoing general manager Kevin Colbert did this past weekend.
Featured image via USA TODAY Sports