While the Pittsburgh Steelers used a third-round draft pick on WR Roman Wilson, there is still an open question about who takes over the second wide receiver position behind George Pickens. Really, the entire depth chart behind Pickens needs to be fleshed out, with Wilson the only hard lock. The Steelers stocked up on veterans, however, including former high draft picks like Denzel Mims, hoping to find a hit.

Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wonders if Mims might not just be one of those candidates. A former 2020 second-round draft pick, his career with the New York Jets quickly flamed out. They traded him in July 2023 to the Detroit Lions, who later waived him due to injury in August. The Steelers eventually signed him to their practice squad in October.

“I’m not sleeping on Denzel Mims. Denzel Mims, he’s gonna be like this year’s Hakeem Butler this year in camp, hopefully without all the drops”, Batko told Christopher Carter on the North Shore Drive podcast. “He’s gonna stand out, physically”.

Not that Batko was suggesting that the 6-3, 207-pound Mims is any kind of lock to suddenly emerge in his fifth season. But the Steelers really just need some depth at wide receiver, to begin with. As for Butler, he was a 2019 fourth-round pick whose career was marked by injury. He did very little in the NFL, but recently shined in the UFL. And he stood out in Pittsburgh’s training camp before, like Mims, an injury waiver.

“It’s tough waiting for a guy who was a second-round pick all the way back in 2020 to finally put it all together”, Batko said, drawing a comparison to Chase Claypool, now with the Bills. “I’m certainly not saying it’s gonna happen on it or that they’re banking on it, by any means. But he is just another guy who I’ve watched at times this week and said, I’m a little more bullish on the overall depth of this receiver group, even though it’ll look a lot better if somebody can seize the moment as the two number two”.

Outside of Pickens and Wilson, the Steelers’ most notable name locally is Calvin Austin III. A 2022 fourth-round pick, he provided limited contributions a year ago. This offseason, they added a number of veterans on minimum contracts, namely Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, and Scotty Miller. Mims and Marquez Calloway are two holdover veterans from last year’s practice squad, along with Dez Fitzpatrick.

None of those names, however, inspire much confidence right now. That’s why the Steelers have been the focus of many trade rumors connecting them with wide receivers. We don’t know how close they ever claim to actually pulling the trigger on any, however.

For the time being, it seems as though the Steelers are taking a wait-and-see approach with this group. They have a number of veterans to review, including Denzel Mims, who has 42 career receptions for 676 yards. The problem is, with his physical attributes, he’s just the kind of player who could look good in practice. Any observations about how he looks in shorts need to be taken with a grain of salt.


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