What should be expected from Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief?
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Donte Moncrief, Steelers

What should be expected from Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief?

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense will look different in 2019 than it has in previous seasons. One of the new additions to the offense is Donte Moncrief, who the Steelers signed in free agency.

Last season didn’t go as expected for Pittsburgh, who ended the year with a record of 9-6-1. The Steelers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013, but things didn’t end well in their locker room either.

First, there was the saga between Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers organization. Bell wanted a new contract with the team but both sides couldn’t come to an agreement. Instead, the dynamic running back sat out the entire 2018 season.

This offseason, Bell signed with the New York Jets in free agency, spelling the end of his time in Pittsburgh. Then, of course, Antonio Brown had a rift with Ben Roethlisberger to end the season.

According to reports, Brown and the Steelers quarterback had a disagreement during a practice before the Steelers took on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. As a result, Brown sat out of the last game of the season.

Earlier this offseason, Brown requested a trade from Pittsburgh and the Steelers granted his wish. The Steelers sent Brown to the Oakland Raiders—officially ending the era of the “Triple B’s” in Pittsburgh.

Donte Moncrief, Steelers

With the departure of Brown, that leaves a boulder-sized hole on the Steelers offense. Pittsburgh decided to sign Donte Moncrief in hopes that he could shoulder part of the production that Brown had for nine seasons for the franchise.

JuJu Smith-Schuster figures to step into the number one spot on the depth chart but you need more than one guy to make up for the loss of Brown. Smith-Schuster is talented, but Moncrief is going to have to be heavily involved in the offense as well.

So what should fans in Pittsburgh expect from their new wideout? Moncrief is heading into his sixth season in the NFL and his third different team. Before the Steelers, Moncrief played with the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

First, with the Colts, Moncrief became a decent option alongside T.Y. Hilton. Andrew Luck loved to look Moncrief’s way in the red zone with the wide receiver catching 18 touchdowns with Indianapolis.

Why did the Colts decide to move on from Moncrief? All in all, inconsistency and drops have been constant trends in Moncrief’s career. Moncrief absolutely has the talent but he has yet to put it all together at the highest level.

Last season with the Jaguars, Moncrief had his best season since his impressive campaign in 2015. The sixth-year wideout had 48 receptions, 688 yards, and three scores with Jacksonville. Although, the Jaguars decided to not bring him back which led to the Steelers signing him.

Pittsburgh needs a veteran wide receiver on the team who can help the younger guys develop. Moncrief figures to slot in next to Smith-Schuster and James Washington out wide. Maybe playing with a Super Bowl-winning quarterback like Roethlisberger can elevate Moncrief’s game.

Undoubtedly, the Steelers offense will look different in 2019 but that doesn’t mean that it will be less effective. Moncrief provides the Steelers with a receiver who is capable of being physical and is able to go up and catch a “50-50” ball.

In 2018, the Steelers were phenomenal when it came to converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Furthermore, Pittsburgh led the entire NFL by scoring a touchdown on nearly 73.5% of their red zone trips.

That is something that the Steelers want to repeat during the 2019 season. Adding someone like Moncrief can help accomplish that goal, as he’s been used in that sort of role before.

Pittsburgh has lost two of the best offensive weapons in the NFL this offseason but guys like Moncrief are going to be required to produce. The veteran wideout is up for the challenge and ready to prove the people who believe the offense will struggle, wrong.