Ranking The Top 10 Best Wide Receivers in Steelers History

Harry How/Getty Images

By: Zach Herbaugh


Creating a Top 10 list at any position for the Pittsburgh Steelers can be daunting. Creating a Top 10 list of wide receivers ever to don a Steelers uniform is nearly impossible. The Steelers have had so many legends play wide receiver for them over the years that it’s hard to distinguish the best among the best. A franchise that has drafted some of the best receivers ever to play the game makes creating a hierarchy even more difficult, but here’s our list of the best wide receivers in Pittsburgh Steelers history:


10. Plaxico Burress (2000-2004, 2012)

Burress was the first pick for the Steelers in the 2000 NFL Draft. The Michigan State alum had a great run during his first five seasons with the Steelers. He caught 261 passes for 4,206 yards and 22 touchdowns from 2000 to 2004, and ended up spending 11 years total in the NFL. Burress had some trouble off the field once he left Pittsburgh, but when he was healthy, he was a top receiver in the NFL.


9. JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017-present)

Yes, putting Smith-Schuster on our list may be a little premature, but his potential and dominance over his first three seasons are what helped him make our list. A second round pick in 2017, Smith-Schuster has quickly made his mark as a Steeler. A Pro Bowl selection in 2018, Smith-Schuster has completely embodied the Pittsburgh attitude and can potentially be one of the greatest players in Steelers history at the end of his career.


8. Mike Wallace (2009-2012)

Wallace only spent four seasons with the Steelers, but he was great during his tenure. A third round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Wallace earned a trip to one Pro Bowl during his first four seasons with the Steelers. The Steelers have had great success in drafting receivers over the past 20 years and Wallace was a great find in the third round. He caught 235 passes for 4042 yards, and 32 touchdowns during his first four seasons. His career was never quite the same once he left Pittsburgh, but his time as a Steeler was very successful and landed him on our top 10 list.


7. Santonio Holmes (2006-2009)

Holmes only spent four seasons with the Steelers, but he made a lasting impression on the franchise. A first round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Holmes came in right away and produced throughout his rookie contract. Holmes will most notably be remembered for his spectacular postseason career which was capped off with being named MVP of Super Bowl XLIII. Holmes eventually got pushed out of Pittsburgh due to the successful drafting of other receivers, but his catch in the back of the end zone to seal the Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl title is what Steelers fans will remember for the rest of their lives.


6. Louis Lipps (1984-1992)

The Steelers’ 1984 first round pick, Lipps busted onto the scene in his rookie season and was ultimately named the AP Offensive Player of the Year. Lipps spent eight seasons with the Steelers and recorded 358 catches for 6,019 yards and 39 touchdowns. A two-time Pro Bowler, Lipps was a solid receiver who ended up battling multiple injuries throughout his career. Lipps prolonged career with the Steelers and consistent play helped him land the sixth spot on our list.


5. Buddy Dial (1959-1963)

Dial’s first five seasons as a Steeler were some of the best of his time. In an era that was dominated by offenses that primarily ran the ball, Dial had four straight seasons of 40+ catches and 950+ yards. A two-time Pro Bowler, Dial’s career ended early with the Steelers and he spent the back half of his career with the Dallas Cowboys. Dial is not necessarily the first receiver that pops into your mind when you think of great Steelers, but his statistics in an era that wasn’t the easiest to amass great numbers for receivers ultimately landed him in the top five on our list.


4. Antonio Brown (2010-2018)

As tough as it is to put “Mr. Big Chest” on this list, it’s hard to argue him not being one of the best receivers ever to play for the Steelers. Although his time as a Steeler ended poorly, he had arguably one of the best six-year runs for a wide receiver in the history of the NFL. In his 130 games as a Steeler, he had 837 receptions with 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns, which all sit as second in Steeler history. Brown’s seven Pro Bowls and four All-Pro selections are the most by a receiver in Steelers history. The numbers don’t lie — Brown was the best receiver in the NFL from 2013-2018, but his off the field actions tarnished his reputation as an individual and ultimately landed him fourth on our list.


3. Lynn Swann (1974-1982)

If there was a 2A and 2B, then John Stallworth and Swann would occupy those two spots. A four-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP, Swann spent his entire career in a Steelers uniform and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. Swann and Stallworth were regarded as one of the best receiver duos in NFL history and had Swann’s career been as long as Stallworth, he would have surpassed him on our list.


2. John Stallworth (1974-1987)

Stallworth was the glue that kept the Steelers relevant after their dominant run in the 1970’s. Stallworth, a fourth round pick in the 1974 NFL Draft, spent 14 seasons with the Steelers and finished with 537 catches, 8,732 yards, and 63 touchdowns. His 537 receptions were a Steelers record for nearly two decades until he was surpassed by our number 1 ranked wide receiver in Steelers history. Stallworth played in three Pro Bowls, four Super Bowls and was named All-Pro twice throughout his illustrious career. A Steelers legend, Stallworth was the epitome of what it meant to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.


1. Hines Ward (1998-2011)

If you are a fan of the Steelers, then you are a fan of Hines Ward. Ward was one of the grittiest, toughest players to ever put on a Steelers uniform. In Ward’s 217 games with the Steelers, he amassed 12,083 receiving yards on 1,000 catches which are both Steelers franchise records. He scored 85 touchdowns in his 14 seasons which is first in Steelers history as well. A soon to be Hall of Famer, Ward played with a tenacity and fire that may never be emulated. Ward was a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time Super Bowl champion, and the MVP of Super Bowl XL. Ward is one of only 11 players to achieve 1,000 receptions over the span of his career and the only Steeler to do so.


What changes would you make to our list? Who did we leave out? Sound off in the comments below!



  1. Pingback: Ward vs. Brown: Let's End the Debate - SteelerNation.com

  2. Pingback: SN Podcast: Training Camp is Starting! 7/29/20 - SteelerNation.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *