Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster certainly took the NFL by storm during his rookie season as the team’s second-round draft pick out of USC registered 58 receptions for 917 yards and 7 touchdowns in the 14 regular season games that he played in. So, just how good was Smith-Schuster’s rookie season, comparatively speaking? Well, Evan Silva of Rotoworld has an interesting set of stats to give it some sort of perspective.
Since 1990, only 8 Rookie WRs have averaged > 15 yards/catch & cleared 900 receiving yards. pic.twitter.com/Rec3duaixo
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) February 11, 2018
According to Silva’s research, via Pro Football Reference, Smith-Schuster is now just one of 8 NFL rookie wide receivers since 1990 to register 900 or more yards receiving in addition to averaging 15 or more yards per catch. That list of players includes some great names in Randy Moss, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Joey Galloway, Sammy Watkins, Julio Jones and Eddie Kennison.
While Smith-Schuster’s 917 receiving yards in 2017 is the lowest of the 8 listed players on this cherry-picked stat, it’s important to remember that he missed two games last season and only started 7 in total.
Another thing that needs to be pointed out is the fact that of the eight players on this list, Smith-Schuster owns the highest catch percentage at 73.4% and that’s much greater than the next nearest player, Jones, who registered a 56.8% catch percentage during his 2011 rookie season. That high catch percentage by Smith-Schuster also resulted in a very lofty average yard per target stat of 11.61.
While I do not have access to the total offensive snaps played by the other 7 players on this list during their rookie seasons, I can tell you that Smith-Schuster was on the field for just a little more than 63% of all offensive snaps run by the Steelers during the 2017 regular season.
In summation, and as if you didn’t already know it by now, Smith-Schuster was an excellent find for the Steelers and there’s no reason to think he won’t hit 1,000 yards receiving in 2018.