The Pittsburgh Steelers lost a big chunk of production at the wide receiver position when Antonio Brown decided to leave town, but they also added some experience that could help the passing game moving forward.
When quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked this week who was standing out so far through OTAs, he chose one of his newest targets.
“Boy, it’d be hard to pick one,” said Roethlisberger, via DK Pittsburgh Sports. “I’d probably go with Donte Moncrief, just because he’s new. I kind of know what to expect from some of the other guys but I wasn’t really sure what to expect when he came in.”
The Steelers’ defense is at least a little familiar with what Moncrief can do out on the football field. He actually caught his first NFL touchdown against Pittsburgh in 2014. Through his first four NFL seasons playing with quarterback Andrew Luck, Moncrief caught 152 passes for 1,875 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Indianapolis Colts. He caught 48 passes for 668 yards and three scores during his lone season with the Jacksonville Jaguars last year.
“I didn’t know him, obviously, and now just getting to see his work ethic, the type of person he is, his desire to be great, his knowledge of the offense already,” Roethlisberger continued. “I’ll ask him, we’ll do no-huddle stuff and I’ll give him a signal and I’ll be like, ‘You good?’ and he’ll be like, ‘Yeah.’ So he’s in with [Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake] every single morning, pretty much all day.”
“You see the desire and the want to be great, so I’ve really enjoyed to opportunity to know him and to work with him so far.”
Along with providing Roethlisberger with a new big-play weapon, Moncrief is also excited to serve as a mentor to the young Steelers receivers. With Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter and Brown no longer on the team, Moncrief and Eli Rogers are the Steelers’ oldest receivers on roster.
“It’s kinda weird just being 25 and you’re the oldest guy in the room,” Moncrief said in April. “Just thinking about that. Like I said, I’ll guess I’ll have to be the mentor guy, the guy that pushes guys and makes sure people do things right. Like coach already said, it’s a great room. You have guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster whose doing things that a lot of young guys can’t do. You have a lot of other guys that’s hard working, young guys who are gonna keep me young and push me and motivate me and make me go fast every day. It’s going to be a fun room, fun time, and I’m getting ready to get with those guys and show them what I can do.”
Moncrief probably won’t lead the Steelers in yards in 2019, but his experience and ability should help this passing attack in 2019.