Steelers 2-a-days: Will JuJu Smith-Schuster become a superstar? Can Tuzar Skipper make team?
Editor’s note: From now until the first practice of training camp at Saint Vincent, the Trib will be running through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 90-man roster, assessing each player’s outlook for the 2019 season. The breakdown will go through the roster in mostly alphabetical order, (at least) two per day, between June 14 and July 26.
OLB TUZAR SKIPPER
Contract status: $495,000 cap hit in 2019, under contractual control for four accrued seasons
2019 outlook: Skipper made the training camp roster after impressing during a tryout at rookie camp in May. He has the qualities of an under-the-radar prospect, coming from junior college and missing a season because of a major injury before a breakout 2018 in which he had 8½ sacks for Toledo. He has good size and with that playmaking background, he’s something of a sleeper for an undrafted player who was unsigned for two weeks after the draft. There are openings this summer for an outside linebacker on the roster and practice squad.
Tuzar Skipper’s best shot at 2019 is probably to make the Steelers practice squad at a position that includes starters T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree and veteran backup Anthony Chickillo https://t.co/LWPGFh7u3p
— Tribune-ReviewSports (@TribSports) July 14, 2019
WR JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER
Experience: 3rd season
Contract status: $1.14 million cap hit in 2019, signed through next season
2019 outlook: It was only two training camps ago Smith-Schuster was an oft-injured and mostly-overlooked 20-year-old rookie who was competing with journeyman Justin Hunter to be the No. 4 receiver. Almost overnight, he became one of the franchise’s most recognizable players, an international influencer on social media who stars in national television ad campaigns. Smith-Schuster’s play has warranted the attention, too: Over his past 23 games, Smith-Schuster has 152 catches, 2,112 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s not taking over the No. 1 receiver role solely because of the Antonio Brown trade; Smith-Schuster earned it by way of a 2018 in which he had more catches and yards than Brown. At 22, the proverbial sky is the limit for Smith-Schuster. If he replicates last season’s production in 2019, he’ll be in line for a massive contract extension by this time next year.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .