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Could Justin Hunter see the field more in ’18?

Justin Hunter has never found consistent success in the league. Hunter needs to be able to step up once and for all. His roster spot is in question, but he’s the only high-upside, large receiver the team has. He barely saw any time last year and was only re-signed to a one-year deal. With James Washington looking NFL-ready and Eli Rogers being likely to return, Hunter’s window to earn a spot opposite AB is closing. So why the hype? Ben Roethlisberger has always loved tall, big receivers. Hines Ward, Martavis Bryant, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are big-bodied receivers Ben has “clicked with” in the past. Now, the Steelers need to replace the downfield stretching/defense-distracting that Bryant brought to them. Justin Hunter is 6’4 and runs a 4.44. He can be that guy. The Steelers are in desperate need of redzone help. Hunter can make contested catches, and his size and speed combo makes him a mismatch. He performs exceptionally during practices,but has never been able to take his talents to the field. Hopefully, with a breakout year, the Steelers could have a Maartavis Bryant-esque talent without all the off-the-field nonsense. Furthermore, an experienced receiver like Hunter could surely help a young WR core with Antonio Brown as the only starter-level veteran. 

Just like with JuJu, Washington may take a while to actually earn the starting spot. So Justin Hunter may see more play time than some expect. If he plays as well as he does in practice, he may even secure a solid amount of playing time for 2017. Especially in the redzone.

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