The Pittsburgh Steelers have a need, a need for… a wide receiver!

Right now, everyone is trying to play matchmaker with the Steelers and different receivers in the draft. While the team has given out some early roses to Quez Watkins and Van Jefferson, I don’t think they are long-term relationship material. More of a stopgap until they find the one.

According to Danny Kelly of The Ringer, the team should give itd final rose to Georgia receiver Ladd McConkey.

“I officially want Ladd on the Steelers at 20,” Kelly said on The Ringer NFL Draft Show. “I think he’d fit perfectly. Pair him with [George] Pickens… He just seems like a mini-Cooper Kupp and I want that on my team.”

I’m sure every Steelers fan would welcome a mini-Cooper Kupp on their team.

Obviously, that’s lofty praise from Kelly, but in the sense of comparing styles, I think it’s a fair one. Both receivers are technicians when running routes, with hips like John Travolta and the stop and start of a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, making them matchup nightmares for defensive backs. Needless to say, McConkey is easily the best route runner in the class.

Kupp does have McConkey by a few inches in height at 6 -2 compared to 6-0 and weight at 208 to 180 pounds, allowing him to be more physical at the catch point. However, McConkey has more speed to burn, which shows up routinely on tape. At the NFL Scouting Combine the former Bulldog ran a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, while Kupp only had a 4.62. Side note: Kupp is far more “game fast” than “track fast,” so this is not an indication of his speed.

As for McConkey’s fit next to Pickens, it would presumably be a smooth one, considering the two were once college teammates. With Pickens on the team, it already gives Russell Wilson the deep-threat, jump-ball threat that he covets. Throwing McConkey into the mix adds a different flavor to the team, with him replacing Diontae Johnson as the team’s primary short to intermediate wide receiver. He could prove to be extremely valuable for an Arthur Smith offense that thrives on throwing the ball over the middle of the field off play-action.

When I watch McConkey I get Emmanuel Sanders vibes. A sneaky-fast, good route runner who can produce from Day 1. If you’re looking for a non-Steelers comparison, how about a bigger Tyler Lockett? He doesn’t get enough credit for being a true three-level winner at the NFL level.

For more on McConkey, check out Alex Kozora’s draft profile.

I’ll be honest, McConkey is one of my draft crushes. I love his play style and, to quote Kelly’s co-host Danny Heifetz, “He’s a f****ing baller.”

That’s long-term relationship potential ladies and gentlemen.


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