The Pittsburgh Steelers were certainly not known for their offense in 2021 due to a variety of factors.
And while there is still a lot to figure out heading into the 2022 season, that could very well change this year.
That’s because the Steelers have added a couple of key pieces to the offensive line and they now have two quarterbacks capable of running the true version of Matt Canada’s offense. They also added two dynamic playmakers through the 2022 NFL Draft in second-round pick George Pickens and fourth-rounder, Calvin Austin III.
Don’t get it twisted: there’s no guarantee these additions vault the Steelers offense into the upper-half of the NFL. But, at the same time, both Pickens and Austin have a chance to etch their name in franchise history this year.
How can they do just that? By becoming the first Steelers rookie wide receiver(s) to record 1,000 receiving yards in their first season since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 917 receiving yards in 2017 is the closest any rookie wideout has come to eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards. Claypool has the second-most receiving yards in a season, as he finished 2020 with with 873 receiving yards.
It won’t be an easy task, that’s for sure. The Steelers still have rather large questions at the quarterback position and there is definitely a wide receiver (even tight end) hierarchy/pecking order in Pittsburgh.
But Pickens’ versatility to play outside and/or inside, along with Austin’s big-play ability will be major factors in the attempt to reach the magic number of 1k receiving yards.
A lot of things will have to break their way, but both players have a good chance at making history in 2022. Especially in today’s NFL, where passing attacks are as prevalent as ever.
Featured image via Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK