With his third different franchise in as many years, new Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief is creating a positive stir with the club.
When you part ways with a pass-catcher who has hauled in at least 100 receptions in an NFL-record six consecutive seasons, questions will be asked and solutions are certainly in order.
After nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receiver Antonio Brown is now a member of the Oakland Raiders. General manager Kevin Colbert sent the prolific performer to the Oakland Raiders for a third- and a fifth-round draft choice earlier this year.
This past season, Mike Tomlin’s team was led in catches (111) and receiving yards (1,426) by Juju Smith-Schuster. Of course, Brown made life easier for the two-year pro. And when it came to reaching the end zone, he more than doubled down (15) in Smith-Schuster’s seven scores. In any case, the Steelers hoped to find a suitable tandem mate for their leading wideout of a year ago. And they may have struck gold with the signing of veteran Donte Moncrief this offseason, who inked a modest two-year, $9 million deal (via Spotrac) with the club in March.
“There’s times where you get a guy, you bring him in and he’s been in two or three different systems, those systems start running together,” explained wide receiver coach Daryl Drake to Jacob Klinger of PennLive.com. “But he’s been able to distinguish the differences and go out there and do things that makes my job a lot easier because he has a feel for the position.”
A third-round draft choice by the Indianapolis Colts in 2014, the former Ole Miss hauled in 152 passes for 1,875 yards and 18 scores in 53 regular-season contests with the franchise. He spent ’18 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and finished third on the club with 48 catches and second with 668 receiving yards, totaling three touchdowns.
Now he’s with the Black and Gold and will be catching balls from veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. And Drake likes what he sees so far. “One thing that he’s doing right now, he’s playing with a lot of confidence. And Ben has confidence in him. So we just got to continue for him to grow and continue for him to do the things that we ask him to do.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiving corps also includes Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers, James Washington (looking to rebound from a shaky rookie campaign) and impressive 2019 third-round draft choice Diontae Johnson. So far, it’s Moncrief that has seized the moment when it comes to one of the team’s biggest question marks this offseason.