Each NFL season, every team has a player that bears a little added attention. So which performer could turn the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’17?
Welcome to yet another 32-team series from End Zone Score. In recent months, we took the time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers.
Every NFL season features players that come into their own after a slow start to their careers. It’s tough to tell when each performer’s coming-put party will take place. Some are immediate successes. Others take longer due to numerous circumstances, but they prove to be worth the wait. Here we will try and pinpoint a player from each team in the league that we feel is on the verge of putting it altogether.
TE Jesse James
It’s safe to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t lacking for explosive play-makers when it comes to their pass-catching corps. Wide receivers Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates and free-agent addition Justin Hunter make up quite a group.
Prior to last season, the team inked former Chargers’ tight end Ladarius Green to take the sting out of the retirement of former Pro Bowler Heath Miller. But he proved to be a disappointment due to the fact that he couldn’t stay healthy. When available, he hauled in 18 passes for 304 yards and one score.
Of course, the far more productive tight end for the team proved to be second-year performer Jesse James. He didn’t come close to matching Green as a downfield threat. But he caught more than twice as many passes (39) and scored three touchdowns. All told, the 2015 fifth-round pick from Penn State finished fourth on the team in receptions behind Brown (106), running back Le’Veon Bell (75) and Rogers (48). James also added 11 catches for 137 yards in the team’s three-game postseason run.
This fall, with Bryant back in the fold and the team’s talent when it comes to the deep pass, look for James to be a much-bigger threat downfield. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ passing attack could be even more diverse in 2017.