JuJu Smith-Schuster rookie season was perhaps the best of all rookie receivers and perhaps the best of all offensive first-year players. For instance, Smith-Schuster was targeted 79 times and caught 58 passes for 917 yards, 15.8 yards per catch, and seven scores. He even put together a nice yard-after-the-catch average of 6.8, per Pro Football Focus.
Six of catches went for over 40-yards, which was more than anyone outside of players named Antonio Brown, Tyreek Hill, and Brandin Cooks. He was a key cog in the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and made a disappearing act out of Martavis Bryant. The Steelers felt confident enough in Smith-Schuster’s ability to trade Bryant away to the Oakland Raiders.
He also posted six catches of 40-plus yards, more than anyone but Tyreek Hill, Brandin Cooks and Antonio Brown, and a healthy Smith-Schuster proved himself to be an important part of the Steelers’ offense, and his ceiling is as an All-Pro.
He did get banged up a bit in 2017. His first injury came in the preseason opener (August 11th) when he left near the end of the 1st quarter with a concussion. The rookie wideout collided with a teammate while attempting to make a tackle after an interception by Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Smith-Schuster would not play the following week. It was also the first concussion of his college or pro playing career.
Three months later Smith-Schuster would again have a concussion (week seven). The Steelers would go on to win that game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Smith-Schuster would enter the concussion protocol and miss minimal time. He was ready to go the following week against the Detroit Lions.
Less than a month later Smith-Schuster would again suffer another injury (week 11) against the Tennessee Titans. This time a thigh hamstring sprain/pull. He would miss the following week in Green Bay. A ten-day separation between ball games. An injury that was nagging him for a few weeks even though he did not miss any more games.
It does not appear any of his injuries will keep him from having another opportunity to explode in his second season. Draft him with confidence.
Update: Smith-Schuster did not finish practice Sunday, July 29, because of an undisclosed injury. He returned to practice on Thursday, August 2.