pittsburgh steelers brian thomas jr

Getty A draft analyst revealed he has heard the Pittsburgh Steelers “love” Brian Thomas Jr.

With just a few days until the NFL Draft, who the Pittsburgh Steelers are targeting with their first round pick remains a bit of a mystery.

They are currently listed at -350 on DraftKings Sportsbook to take an offensive lineman with their first pick.

There are quite a few directions the pick could go on the O-line with plenty of talent at tackle and center in this year’s draft class.

However, it seems there’s a player at another position who has really caught their eye.

During an April 21 appearance on the “Yahoo Fantasy Sports Podcast”, the Atheltic’s Dan Brugler revealed that he’s heard the Steelers “love” Brian Thomas Jr.

“This might be his floor. If he doesn’t go off the board before 20, I think this might be the floor for him. I’ve heard they love Brian Thomas.”


Steelers Haven’t Shown Much Interest

Thomas has made himself an interesting prospect over the last year.

After posting just 59 catches for 720 yards and 7 touchdowns over his first two college seasons, he had a big junior year in 2023.

This past season, Thomas made 68 catches for 1177 yards and 17 touchdowns for an LSU offense that led the nation in points scored per game.

Then he showed off impressive speed at the NFL Combine. He ran the second fastest 40-yard dash by a wide receiver at this year’s Combine, running it in just 4.33 seconds.

However, Thomas’ rise over the last year hasn’t led to the Steelers actually showing their interest during the pre-draft process.

There are a number of opportunities for a team to gather information on a player before the draft and how they use those opportunities is usually a pretty good indicator of which players they are seriously considering.

They haven’t really utilized those opportunities to learn about Thomas,

As Steelers Now’s Nick Farabaugh pointed out, the team didn’t bring Thomas in for a pre-draft visit and sent assistant GM Any Weidl to LSU’s Pro Day instead of head coach Mike Tomlin or GM Omar Khan.

The reason for that might just be Thomas isn’t a great fit for the Steelers’ first round pick in this year’s draft.


A Pick That Wouldn’t Make a Ton of Sense

While Thomas is seen as the best of the second tier of receivers in the Class of 2024, there are other options the Steelers should be looking at with their first rounder.

The first reason is his fit with the team. The Steelers are looking to replace Diontae Johnson as their WR2. Johnson used his talent as a route runner to thrive on shorter targets. He averages just 11.2 yards per catch in his career.

Thomas is his polar opposite.

In his pre-draft Dynasty rankings article for Fantasy Points, Scott Barrett pointed out that 42.7% of his yards in 2023 came on go routes. He also averaged 30.5 yards per target and 17.3 yards per catch last season.

The Steelers already have a receiver that thrives deeper down the field. George Pickens averaged 18.1 yards per catch last year.

They also have much bigger needs than wide receiver.

The Steelers don’t have a center right now and need to upgrade at offensive tackle.

Those are positions that become much more difficult to address outside the top 50 picks. The talent pool definitely thins at wide receiver later in the draft, but there will be viable options at the position in round three.

However the Steelers may feel about Thomas, he isn’t a great fit for them at his position and plays a position that shouldn’t be their top priority in this year’s NFL Draft.

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