Player: WR Roman Wilson

Stock Value: Purchased

Reasoning: The Pittsburgh Steelers waited until the third round to draft a wide receiver after taking two offensive linemen. There they found Michigan’s Roman Wilson, arguably the leading candidate for a starting job to start the regular season. That is as much an observation of the wide receiver room as a whole as it is about Wilson. While he offers some intriguing traits, we also must see how limited he is in certain areas.

The Steelers presumably wanted a route runner to pair with George Pickens after trading Diontae Johnson. They found one with the third-round selection of Roman Wilson, who had a breakout season for the Wolverines last year.

In 15 games with Michigan in 2023, Wilson caught 48 passes for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns. He only had eight touchdowns in his first three seasons. Previously, he never caught more than 25 passes for 420 yards, or more than four touchdowns.

With the opportunity to showcase himself last season, Roman Wilson raised his draft stock considerably. Arguably, he also came out in a particularly deep wide receiver class, so perhaps he goes earlier in a weaker year.

Now with the Steelers, he stands a fair chance of starting as a rookie. While they boast George Pickens as their WR1, they don’t even have another clear starter. Their internal candidates are Calvin Austin III and two veteran free agents, Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins.

Frankly, if Wilson can’t get on the field significantly within this group, then the Steelers whiffed on him. While he’s not the biggest wide receiver, he’s also a willing blocker. That fits into what they want to do on offense under new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as well.

One hopes that he comes in with a humble attitude ready to get to work to help grow the offense. That feels like a sentiment that has been in short supply within that particularly room lately. If he manages at least that, Wilson will be a breath of fresh air. But he’s also going to need to catch some passes. And we’ll also have to see where he can line up and what routes he can win on. He could struggle to win consistently on the outside, so his future may be in the slot.

As the season progresses, Steelers players’ stocks rise and fall. The nature of the evaluation differs with the time of year, with in-season considerations being more often short-term. Considerations in the offseason often have broader implications, particularly when players lose their jobs, or the team signs someone. This time of year is full of transactions, whether minor or major.

A bad game, a new contract, an injury, a promotion—any number of things affect a player’s value. Think of it as a stock on the market, based on speculation. You’ll feel better about a player after a good game, or worse after a bad one. Some stock updates are minor, while others are likely to be quite drastic, so bear in mind the degree. I’ll do my best to explain the nature of that in the reasoning section of each column.


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