JuJu Smith-Schuster Already Acting Like A True Pittsburgher

It’s not going to help him on the field any extra but JuJu Smith-Schuster might become a fan favorite of this rookie class. Despite only one trip to Pittsburgh, he’s all-in on celebrating the city of Pittsburgh.

Overnight, he’s become a Pittsburgh Penguins’ fan, following them through the Stanley Cup playoffs.

And that prediction came true with the Pens knocking off the Capitals 3-2.

And he’s pretty pumped to get to play at Heinz Field, too.

It isn’t just through his Twitter account that he’s shown his Pittsburgh colors. Hearing him speak and the things he takes pride in shares all the values of the team and city. He’s putting his hand in the pile, willing to do anything the team asks him to do.

β€œI will do anything possible to bring the Steelers back to the Super Bowl, whether that’s special teams, being a backup or a role player, anything that it takes,” he said via the team website.Β 

That’s a mentality he shared in college. One of the best blocking receivers in his class who wasn’t afraid to make some Hines Ward-like hits or baiting cornerbacks only to toss them into the sideline.

At the very least, he’ll make an impact on special teams and as we’ve written about, should challenge for the starting slot receiver. He’ll have a unique skillset there beyond the typical short-but-shifty ones like Eli Rogers.

There’s no doubt every player drafted is excited to be a Steeler. But I don’t think anyone has come close to the intensity and fandom Smith-Schuster has shown. And he hasn’t even taken a snap yet.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Craig M

    If JuJu replaces Rogers at slot, who made us pretty much forget Cotchery, then that will be a move for the ages. Big, hits like Hines Ward and ever so young- he might eventually have his likeness carved into the granite wall somewhere alongside the Inkline overlooking the Burg. And thinking of that maybe someone should erect a likeness of Rooney up there. πŸ™‚

  • steelersfan

    Destined to be a huge fan favorite

  • H.K. northern cali

    Will be starting game one of next yr?

  • pittsburghjoe

    This is good to hear… It kinda negates all of the bad juju coming from the sidelined steeler.

  • Joseph Shaw

    Man, I could watch that stiff arm over and over…

  • Jaybird

    I can’t wait till he makes his first great play or catch and the fans all chant “JUJU!!!”

  • James Churchwell

    Alex I was already pumped about JuJu but after reading your article I too excited now, I can hardly wait for training camp to start πŸ™‚

  • dany

    At the very least starting in the slot. I dont think it’s out of the realm of possibilities he’s starting next to AB either. Martavis is no sure thing yet

  • Alex Kozora

    Me too, James!

  • 6 ring circus

    I’ll bet Snoop passed out blunts like a daddy passes out cigars when this kid got drafted.

  • BurghInPhilly

    Alex, do you see enough raw physical ability in JuJu to believe he’ll be able to get the quick separation in the slot? We know he won’t run away from too many and that’s okay. He seems to have the drive, physically, and reliable and strong hands. He’s fearless and comes backs to and fights for the ball (unlike Sammie!). You wrote about his ability to find soft spots (against zone) but can he separate in man to man to be successful in the slot?

  • renoir

    Ohhhh,, visions of Hines decking unsuspecting safeties dance in my head…

  • BurghInPhilly

    Also, I know these are useless “what if” scenarios, but who would you have taken if Juju, Awuzie, and Josh Jones were all still on the board? I only ask to get a sense for which player/position would, in your view, have improved the 2017 roster the most.

  • johnhoien

    Great young man, hopefully Rubs off on Bryant.. If you have AB, Bryant, JuJu .. Ben, Bell .. Should be fun to watch… Imagine having Ladarious Green healthy for most of the season.. .. Unstoppable

  • WreckIess

    He’s going to get a lot of opportunities to further endear himself to the fans on the field. Be the player that gives defenses headaches in the MOF.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    You ugly.
    You yo daddy son.
    πŸ˜‰

  • budabar

    Another good friend of snoop dog so I asume he will be missing the first 4 games of the season

  • John Phillips

    Obi 1

  • Steel City Slim

    Pretty soon he’ll be saying “yinz”. Lol.

  • Kyle Moyer

    It will be.

  • JNick

    With all this Bryant baby-mama-drama, this is a really refreshing post. I’m already cheering for this kid even thought I hated the pick.

  • JNick

    I’d like to see AB, Coates and JuJu by the mid point of the year. I’m really hoping that Coates rough year last year was more injury than mental issues.

  • pittfan

    That dude is poison

  • pittfan

    Yeah, just what the team needs. A weedhead on the locker room

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Burgh –

    Let me chime in (even though you asked Alex). What you just asked IS the million dollar question.

    That is the reason Ju Ju fell to the 2nd round. Many scouts and rival GMs passed on Ju Ju because they felt he didn’t have the speed/quickness to get open consistently. They have said those exact words in private interviews. But it is not a simple question with a simple answer, and here’s why…

    Ju Ju is actually built more like a TE than a WR. So when you’re projecting his NFL career, it helps to think of him sort of like a Jordan Reed as far as where you can line him up and what routes you can have him run.

    My understanding is, the Steelers plan to play him primarily in the slot. So how do opposing teams defend that?…

    1) If they put a nickel CB on him, he won’t get separation. So we have to alter his route. Let him simply stop short and “box out” his defender. Catch the ball away from his frame. And fight for extra yards.

    2) If they put a LB on him, he will get separation. So we alter his route. Have him run a sideline slant or even deep slant.

    3) If they put a hybrid safety on him (which is what I expect most teams to do) THAT will be the true test of his effectiveness. A guy like Obi Melinfonwu. You can’t run away from him. You can muscle him. You can’t box him out. You’ve got to beat him.

    The advantage Ju Ju has is that the opponents’ #1 and #2 CB’s will be on Brown and Bryant. So that leaves a more average defender on him. And he can beat a #3 CB all day. Plus the safety help will shade toward Brown or Bryant (or even Bell or Green). So Ju Ju will have plenty of 1-on-1 opportunities.

    I don’t have an issue with Ju Ju’s skill set or abilities. My problem is how often is he going to touch the ball. Brown is a FULL target WR. Bell is a FULL carry RB. And if there’s any leftover touches they should be going to Bryant or Green. It’s pretty tough to justify spending a 2nd round pick on a guy who may only get 3 targets a game. Especially when Ross Cockrell is your #2 CB and Fabian Moreau is on the board.

    The Steelers best shot may be to do what the Falcons did last year. Light ’em up on offense. And gamble for splash plays on defense. If we stay healthy, I honestly don’t see a better offense (on paper) in the entire NFL.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Juju ran a faster 40 than Antonio Brown at the combine. He doesn’t have the same quickness as AB, but he’s a lot more physically imposing. How hard he works and how precise his route running becomes will ultimately dictate what he’s able to do at the next level. But on physical ability alone, he’s plenty capable of getting open against slot corners.

  • Bobby Croom

    Until Coates gets rid of his “Alligator Arms” approach towards the game, he will never end up being a good receiver. He doesn’t go after the ball at its’ highest point and he doesn’t stretch for the long ball (see the missed bomb Big Ben threw to him in the AFC Championship game last year). Until he improves his catching techniques…he’ll remain as garbage. I can’t undersand Colbert and Tomlin did not pick that up in his draft film.

  • Bobby Croom

    The scary thing about all of this? We have the luxury of cutting Heyward-Bey, DeMarcus Ayers, Cobi Hamilton, and Justin Hunter. This receiving corps would be a pretty good starting line-up on any other team. THAT’S frightening to think about.

  • Dean O’Brien

    ‘Slot’ hell. RELIABLE number two receiver is empty!

  • Alex Kozora

    He’s not the quickest but he has the toughness, football IQ, and size to win. I think that can give him the leg up in man to man.

  • Applebite

    …and so many tossed the baby out with the bath water, on the day he was drafted, no less.
    LAWL@yinz skeptics!!!

  • Jim Foles

    Awuzie

  • Conserv_58

    Yeah, right. Keep hating on Martavis and when he proves to be the most improved player on the team while making FF players celebrate he’s going to have the last laugh.

  • Conserv_58

    To whom? He is who he is and he just so happens to be a die hard Steelers fan like us.

  • Conserv_58

    Remembering watching Ed Reed get jacked up off of his feet by Hines and then end up staggering around looking through the ear hole of his helmet always brings a smile to my face. I loved and reveled in how much Ed Reed and the rest of the ravens players hated Hines because Hines embarrassed Reed by challenging his manhood. Hines was always in Reed’s head when they played against each other.

  • Conserv_58

    He doesn’t have elite speed, but he’s football fast.

  • Conserv_58

    Well that’s a ridiculous assumption.

  • Conserv_58

    He’s got a little combination of Hines Ward/Steve Smith nasty to his game.

  • JNick

    I’d be happy if he did, but the chances of that at this point are low. He’s closer to being out of the league forever than he is being a consistent contributor.

  • pittfan

    He’s poison to impressionable kids and maybe Steelers who flunk piss tests and miss out on a year of football.

  • pittfan

    Yeah. He’s a mensch

  • VaDave

    I’m still waiting to hear from our media as to Coates’ recovery from his “Busted Hand. I’m withholding judgment until then. If he is healed, I’m thinking I’d rather have him than Rogers, or Ayers as neither of those two are worth a clump of farts on special teams. Of course this assumes Bryant is back, and JuJu can take over the slot spot.

  • VaDave

    I shouldn’t read thinsg like that over my morning coffee..It means I’m spending the rest of the morning cleaning my computer..

  • VaDave

    You may forget we have a pretty effective running game.. Maybe that hybrid cover guy gets a little too tired of being launched into next Tuesday on those running plays and starts giving JuJu a little more space?
    .
    As for flat out speed, Cotchery was not a burner, neither was Ward, two really effective slot receivers. What is more important than speed is setting up the DB for your move and acceleration out of cuts, where AB excels. Both of those Rogers has, but one thing that JuJu has over Rogers is the strength to fight through a jam, as you mentioned.
    .
    As for the offense in general, while it would be exciting to see a “light ’em up O”, and heaven knows we have the tools to do that, with our defense, we need a ball control offense that can execute in the red zone and score touchdowns, not field goals. JMO, and BTW, great post.

  • pittfan

    My first reaction was what’s the heck? Not so much about the player but the position. They brought in hunter and god willing marty will be back so WR did not make sense.
    MEGA BWDIK?
    I think we’re gonna love this kid and o hope him well.
    I hope D can reduce TOP a lot more next year, we have lots of beasts to feed

  • Luis Grove

    Bryant is going to be unstoppable, Coates will watch from the sideline

  • JNick

    Bryant needs to get on the field first. Heck he needs to get in the off-season training program with his teammates. He’s not even satisfied the terms of his conditional reinstatement.

  • Dean O’Brien

    I do NOT hate Martavis, but the key word here is “RELIABLE,” hence the all caps — a trait Bryant, or ANY Steelers receiver not named “AB,” has thus far proven to be ANYTHING BUT! He very much DOES need to PROVE IT!!!! Because this very much IS his LAST CHANCE and NFL means Not For Long for him if he doesn’t get that RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!

    Believe me when I say that NOBODY wants to see ALL these kids succeed more than I do! There are monsters of obnoxiousness, who very obviously can NOT handle success with ANYTHING remotely resembling CLASS, completely running amok, and desperately needing extermination in Foxboro!

    But Martavis needs to get it right this time. I would strongly suggest that he reach out to Ben! Nobody knows better than him how to SUCCESSFULLY climb out of the league’s crapper of your own making! But Martavis has a LOT more work to do to get there, and a growing group of babies at home depending on him to provide!

    I hope he does!

  • Luis Grove

    Yah, I know…can’t wait to see that beast on the field again

  • Mark

    Wow, all of this conversation about a rookie WR that at best may have 3 or 4 TD’s. Rookie’s aren’t the key to winning a Superbowl. The key is Butler and the defense being able to cover on the back end for more than 3 seconds to allow our pass rush to get home. That is the only way we beat the Patriots and stop letting other Teams do our work. We will not outscore the Patriots in New England in January.

    So if it’s JuJu, Rogers, Ayers, or whoever in the slot, it will not matter come January 2018 in New England.

  • James Churchwell

    Are we there yet?…… how about now?…….Are we there NOW?!………. We still not there?……Are you sure we going the right way Dad??? πŸ™