The 2020 Steelers WR group has the potential to be the best
59% Of Smith Schuster's Snaps In 2019 Came From The Slot
Smith Schuster was a star on the rise in 2018 recording 111 catches on 166 targets for 1426 yds and 7 TD's in 16 games. In 2019 he recorded 42 catches on 70 targets for 552 yards and 3 TD's in 12 games. Schuster was dealing with lower-body injuries throughout 2019 and had to play with the 2nd and 3rd QB's after Big Ben was injured. With AB playing outside 72% of the time in 2018, Schuster played 56% of his snaps from the slot in 2018. In 2019 Schuster ran 59% of his snaps from the slot while manning the outside 41% of the time. We project his volume to be around 130 combined targets and rush att with 1005 yds receiving in 2020.
92% of Diontae Johnson's snaps were from the X, or Z in 2019
Diontae Johnson displayed a similar skillset to Antonio Brown as a rookie in 2019, compiling 59 catches on 92 targets for 680 yards and 5 TDs. He added four carries for 45 yards on the ground and 20 punt returns for 248 yards and 1 TD. Johnson showed a knack for converting third downs, where he snagged 25 grabs for 322 yards (12.9 yds per catch). Johnson can become the Steelers number one in his second season. Johnson has a high upside and can provide the same outside WR presence that Antonio Brown did in 2018, where Brown compiled 1200+ yds, and Smith-Schuster compiled 1400+ yds.
At 6-4 230lbs, Claypool runs an explosive 4.42 forty
Chase Claypool provides a physical presence at WR that the Steelers have not had in recent memory. Claypool's speed (4.42 Forty), and size are Megatronesque. Claypool was fantastic at Notre Dame in tight coverage, where he was able to use his frame to go up and get the football. He could also make in-air adjustments to position himself to make a play in tight coverage. Claypool is a good route runner and displayed an ability to play inside and out. Claypool could provide an additional outside threat opposite of Diontae Johnson in the Steelers offense providing explosive depth and allowing Juju Smith Schuster to play in the slot where he has played some of his best football.
75% of Washington's snaps came from the X or Z in 2019
James Washington is an explosive WR who led the steelers in yds per reception in 2019 (16.7). Washington compiled 44 catches on 80 targets for 735 yards and 3 TDs. Washington played in the slot on 25% of his snaps in 2019, showing some versatility. Washington collected 33 of his receptions for 518 yds in three WR sets. Washington will compete with Chase Claypool for the third WR spot. Washington will split snaps at one of the outside WR spots with both Claypool and Johnson in 2020. We project that the Steelers will mix a lot of 11 and 12 personnel groupings based on their current personnel. When in 11 personnel, we believe they will have Smith-Schuster in the slot at a higher rate with a combination of Claypool, Johnson, and Washington playing outside.
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