By far the most interesting position battle for the Pittsburgh Steelers is at wide receiver. Assuming there are only six spots to be had, there is quite the battle going on for the five and six spots on this roster. Let’s breakdown the race at wide receiver and see where everyone stands thus far:
1. Ju Ju Smith Schuster – Lock:
Ju Ju is wide receiver one, no more needs to be said.
2. Donte Moncrief – Lock :
Barring injury, Moncrief is another lock to make this roster. He has exactly the skill set the Steelers need opposite Ju Ju. Moncrief still has to prove he can be a big time receiver in this league, but his place on this roster is safe this season.
3. James Washington – Lock:
James Washington picked up right where he left off last pre-season, playing some outstanding football when the games don’t count. Despite a disappointing rookie season, Washington is making this roster in 2019. Let’s hope this season he can carry his pre-season form all year this time around.
4. Diontae Johnson – Near Lock:
Teams almost never cut third round picks in their first year. So before Johnson participated in one practice, he was almost guaranteed a roster spot. Johnson’s recent injury is a little concerning, but he has plenty of talent to show once he makes it back into some preseason action.
5. Eli Rogers – Close, but not secure:
In the battle for the backup slot reciever, Eli Rogers brings the most to the table. He is a better receiver than Ryan Switzer or Diontae Spencer, while giving the team a return option as well. His job is relatively safe with the Steelers.
6. Ryan Switzer – Close, but not secure:
Switzer is like the Swiss Army Knife of the wide receiver group. His natural position is in the slot, but he can play outside if needed. He also is the incumbent kick and punt returner as well. The ace in Switzer’s pocket is Ben Roehtlisberger seems to really like him a lot. That alone may be his ticket onto the 53 man roster.
7. Johnny Holton – Outside looking in:
Holton showed off his receiving ability in the game against the Buccaneers the other night. What separates him from Rogers and Switzer is two things. His ability to be a backup outside receiver, and his versatility on special teams. Holton can be a gunner on the coverage team, as well as a return man for Danny Smith. It’s not a stretch that he could steal that sixth spot for those reasons.
8. Diontae Spencer – Longshot:
If head coach Mike Tomlin valued the return game as much as others, Spencer would have a great shot at this roster. Unfortunately we have seen in the past that Tomlin isn’t enamored with flashy return men. He prefers slow steady returners instead. Still, if Spencer can break a few more returns during the pre-season he may force his way onto this team. One thing he must eliminate is the dropped passes like he had in his first game.
9. Tevin Jones – Practice Squad:
Jones had a good first pre-season game against Tampa Bay. He stands out as a bigger receiver, something that is in short supply on this team. Still, he seems destined for the practice squad with all this depth ahead of him.
10. Trey Griffey – Times up:
Its a numbers game at this position, and Trey Griffey is losing it. He doesn’t do anything that stands out enough to put himself ahead of anyone else. Look for Griffey to be among the first wide-outs cut from this team.