- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
- 0 Shares
Wide receiver isn’t a pressing need for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they sure are giving the appearance that they won’t rule out drafting one early.
Jaelen Strong is meeting with the Steelers Friday at their team headquarters, making the former Arizona State standout the third high-profile wide receiver to pay a pre-draft visit to the Steelers.
Strong caught 82 passes for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the top wideout in college football.
The concern with Strong is he played with a broken bone in his wrist last season and the Steelers might want to give him another medical check. Strong has insisted that the injury is not an issue, though it is not known if he will need surgery at some point.
Strong, a Philadelphia native, played two seasons at Arizona State after transferring from a junior college. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound receiver tested well at the NFL scouting combine in February, running the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds and topping all wide receivers with a vertical leap of 42 inches.
Strong is widely projected as a first-round or early second-round selection. The Steelers met with UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who could be a top-20 pick, late last week. They visited with Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates, a projected second-round or third-round pick, earlier this week.
All three are receivers with good size who run well.
Wide receiver might be the strongest position in the draft for the second year in a row. The Steelers landed Martavis Bryant in the fourth round last year and he caught eight touchdown passes as a rookie despite not playing in the first six games of the season.
Bryant, Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton give the Steelers one of the better wide receiver trios in the NFL. But the team does not have much proven depth behind those three, and veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey is primarily a special-teams player.
The Steelers have met with 19 out-of-area draft prospects. Teams are allowed to host 30 out of area visits in advance of the draft.
Neither will count against the 30-visit rule because both Clemmings and James are considered local prospects.
The concern with Strong is he played with a broken bone in his wrist last season and the Steelers might want to give him another medical check.