Steelers give Brown help, draft WR Smith-Schuster
PITTSBURGH (AP) Help is on the way for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The AFC North champions selected USC wide receiver Juju Schuster-Smith in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday, giving the Steelers a big target to take some of the pressure off Brown.
The 6-foot-2 Smith caught 70 passes for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the Trojans, including seven receptions for 133 yards and a score in a Rose Bowl win over Penn State.
Pittsburgh entered the draft looking to find a deep threat to complement Brown. Injuries and suspensions last season forced the Steelers to rely on small, undersized receivers like Eli Rogers and Demarcus Ayers.
Things could be very different this fall. The NFL conditionally reinstated Martavis Bryant - who sat out all of 2016 for violating the league's substance abuse policy - last week. Schuster-Smith is tall and can get downfield. He averaged 16.3 yards per catch as a sophomore in 2015, when he caught 89 passes for 1,454 yards.
The Steelers have relied heavily on wide receivers taken in the middle and later rounds through the years. Brown is a former sixth-round pick who has developed into one of the best in the game. Schuster-Smith is the highest wide receiver taken by Pittsburgh since it took Limas Sweed in the second round in 2008.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley called Schuster-Smith a ''do-it-all'' guy who is also very young. Schuster-Smith is only 20 and won't turn 21 until November.
The Steelers have two more picks in the third round likely to focus on the secondary. Pittsburgh took Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt in the first round on Thursday.
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