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WR Depth Chart: Before the 4th Preseason Game

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

By: G.Stryker

 

Preseason is nearly over with 1 game left to play. The Steelers depth chart appears to me to be: (Players in bold, are projected to make the roster)

 

LWR (X) Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson 

Diontae Spencer (+) Tevin Jones (-)

 

SWR (Y) JuJu Smith-Schuster,  Eli Rogers (+) 

             Ryan Switzer (-)

 

RWR (Z) James Washington, 

             Johnny Holton (-), Trey Griffey (-), Brandon Reilly (+)

 

Receivers lost

Antonio Brown (Traded to Oakland)

Darrius Heyward-Bey (Free Agent-currently unsigned) 

Justin Hunter (Free Agent-currently unsigned) 

 

I’ve placed the deep ball receivers with size/speed on the Right (Z), more polished route running receivers on the Left (X), and slot guys are in the Middle (Y).  Last year the Steelers kept 6 receivers, and I expect them to do the same this season.

 

Donte Moncreif looked solid and is starting to get into his sure handed, ball possession role.  A perfect compliment to JuJu and Washington running deeper patterns.  Dionate Johnson didn’t play because of injury.  He’ll be on the roster, because he’s too explosive to be left off of it.  I’m interested to see if he handles any return duties this upcoming game. Diontae Spencer didn’t get any catches last game, but he did rip off an electrifying 29 yard run on an end around.  Just find ways to get the ball in his hands and he will make plays. Tevin Jones had another game with no catches.  Looks like he’s not in the running.

JuJu Smith-Schuster looked great last game.  Four catches for 31 yards and a touchdown.  He is going to be tough for any CB to defend this season.  Eli Rogers had 1 catch for 11 yards.  Looked good, but didn’t really separate either.  Ryan Switzer gets a lot of love from analysts, and I like his toughness, but I don’t like him returning the football.  He looks slow and plodding on returns, and didn’t manage a catch last game. I liked his punt return, but that is the limit of his abilities in my humble opinion.

James Washington is actually getting me excited.  Noone was harder on James than I was for his production and play last season, but my gosh he has impressed me.  He is working hard for balls in the air, and running great patterns. I also liked the excitement he had on his score.  The interception between he and Mason Rudolf, looked like a miscommunication on the pattern, but his positives are outweighing the mistake at this point. Johnny Holton had a couple catches for 11 yards and played a lot of special teams.  The Steelers like him, but will his special teams work earn him a roster spot?.  Trey Griffey caught his only target for 23 yards.  Still, not enough to move him up in the rankings.  Brandon Reilly tied Washington in receiving yards for this game getting 41 yards on 2 catches. .

This is the closest look we will see, for having the starting receivers on the field in September.  The 1s were JuJu, Moncreif, and Washington with Eli and Switzer rotating drives. The Steelers are really looking at that slot competition, and may keep both of them.

No real change this week, other than Switzer getting more return duties.  Since the Steelers started him as the returner in game 3, I’d assume they are leaning toward keeping him.  This is the toughest call I’ve ever seen. The Steelers have 8 WRs that are worthy of a roster spot.  What do the Steelers value? Experience? Consistency? Ability to play special teams? I do not envy the decisions the coaching staff has to make to keep 6 of these receivers, but I am looking forward to seeing them all play together again, one last time tonight.

 

Who do you think should make the final roster as a wide receiver?  Comment below and share your thoughts.

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