The Pittsburgh Steelers have only played 1 preseason game, but they already have a top draft pick wanting out. The rookie quarterback, drafted in the 1st round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, gives us a glimpse of what the team has in store for the upcoming season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of their first preseason game of the season. The two teams have already met in practice and appear to be getting along fine, so I’m sure they’ll be kicking the ball around in a friendly way before kickoff. Luckily, it’s only the preseason and there will be no game-related injuries. The Steelers will get a chance to evaluate the rookies and second-year players who have been unable to crack the starting lineup. If the first preseason game is any indication, the Steelers may have a few players that can contribute to the team this year if they can beat out a few players with more experience.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to play a single game during the preseason, but that hasn’t stopped them from already playing the blame game. Head coach Mike Tomlin has come under fire for the Steelers’ struggles, and the latest to step up and call out Tomlin is a draft pick who is likely to be playing for the Steelers this fall.

In the Hall of Fame Game, the first NFL preseason game of the year, the Pittsburgh Steelers looked impressive. They defeated the Cowboys 16-3 and escaped Canton, Ohio, with no major casualties. However, it was a different scenario after the game, when fourth-year wide receiver James Washington demanded a trade right afterwards.

James Washington is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ outstanding wide receiver corps.

James Washington of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

James Washington of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action on December 1, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images/Justin K. Aller/Getty Images James Washington

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Oklahoma State’s 5-foot-11, 213-pound Washington in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. As a Cowboy, the tiny Texan dominated. He finished his Oklahoma State career as the school’s all-time top receiver with 4,472 career yards and 39 touchdown receptions, and he led all FBS pass catchers in receiving yards (4,472) and touchdown catches (39) in 2017.

Washington had just 217 yards and a score on six receptions in his first season, despite having two 1,000-yard receivers in Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. When Brown departed and Smith-Schuster was hurt in 2019, Washington stepped up. With 735 yards on 44 receptions, he became the team’s top receiver.

Despite his apparent upward trajectory with the organization, Washington’s 2020 campaign was a letdown. His snaps dropped from 634 (64%) in 2019 to 486 in 2020. (44 percent ). His receiving yards and touchdowns also fell to 392 yards on 30 receptions, lowering him to the team’s fifth-leading receiver.

To go along with a healthy Smith-Schuster, most of this drop-off can be credited to the emergence of second-year receiver Dionte Johnson and rookie Chase Claypool. Washington is already unhappy with these three receivers as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s undisputed primary targets in 2021.

Washington has asked for a trade deal.

According to a source, Steelers WR James Washington, a former second-round selection in 2018, has contacted the team and sought a trade due to his minimal playing time last season and thus far this preseason.

August 6, 2021 β€” Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter)

To start off the 2021 season, Washington dressed in black and yellow for the Hall of Fame Game. Throughout the night, he only spotted two targets.

The next day, ESPN’s Adam Schefter claimed that Washington had formally sought a trade out of Pittsburgh, citing sources:

Washington, who is in the last year of his rookie contract, is dissatisfied with his limited playing time last season and so far this preseason, according to the source.

James Washington has requested a trade, according to ESPN.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers are relying on Washington, so this trade request is a setback. The club lacks depth at wide receiver behind Claypool, Johnson, and Smith-Schuster. Aside from Ray-Ray McCloud, who has 113 career receiving yards in three seasons, the Steelers have six undrafted free-agent rookies on their depth chart at wide receiver.

This may be a big issue for new offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who comes from a college football spread system background where heavy receiver rotation is the norm.

Takeaways from the Hall of Fame Game for the Pittsburgh Steelers

You can only get so much out of any preseason game, let alone the first one. There may be even less to learn from a Pittsburgh Steelers game when Ben Roethlisberger isn’t on the field and most of the starters don’t last more than a few series.

All of that being said, if you’re a Steelers fan, there were some good and intriguing events throughout this game that may hint at what the next season could bring.

The first impression is that Najee Harris, the first-round selection, and the rebuilt offensive line looked excellent. On his first-ever NFL carry, Harris bulldozed his way to a solid run and a first down. In its brief time on the field, the offensive line did not allow a sack to starter Mason Rudolph. Despite the fact that the Pittsburgh offensive accomplished this against a poor Cowboys defense, it’s a positive indication.

Another interesting aspect of the game is who won the backup quarterback competition. Rudolph, the incumbent, was given the ball first. Former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, who selfie-ed his way out of Washington, seemed to be the better of the two.

Haskins led the squad on two spectacular scoring drives, while Rudolph had slightly better numbers.

Because Roethlisberger is 39 years old and has only played 16 games once in the previous six seasons, this fight is crucial.

Pro Football Reference provided all stats.


This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • when does nfl preseason start
  • steelers draft pick 2021
  • steelers record 2020
  • steelers 2021 opponents
  • pittsburgh steelers
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