Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has compared Smith-Schuster to Hines Ward, a Steeler great who amassed more than 12,000 receiving yards during his 14 seasons in Pittsburgh. Like Ward, Smith-Schuster is a fiery, physical competitor who blocks as well as he catches. Smith-Schuster fell 83 yards short of a 1,000-yard rookie season despite missing two games -- one due to a hamstring injury and one due to suspension following a vicious, blindside hit on (and subsequent taunting of) Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict. Already a key contributor at age 21, Smith-Schuster is now locked into the Steelersí starting lineup.
As impressive as he has been at such a tender age, Smith-Schuster is destined to be overshadowed in the passing game by target hog Antonio Brown. Two of Smith-Schusterís best games last season -- a 6-75-1 performance against Houston and a 9-143-1 perfor-mance against Cleveland -- came when Brown was sidelined by a calf injury at the end of the regular season.
Itís hard not to love this kid (unless youíre a Bengals fan). Smith-Schuster has proven to be a remarkably well-rounded receiver for a player so young. But donít overlook the potential target-share problem here. Antonio Brown is still going to see a huge number of targets, so Smith-Schusterís upside is somewhat limited.