Potential Steelers Draft Target’s Ceiling Compared to Antonio Brown

pittsburgh steelers ladd mcconkey antonio brown

Getty Ladd McConkey's ceiling was compared former Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown

Since the start of this year’s pre-draft process, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been looking at some interesting prospects at wide receiver.

At the start of the process, they already had a pair of strong options, but they have since made the position a major need by trading Diontae Johnson.

That has made it a possibility that the team could be looking at some prospects who they would need to spend the 20th pick to land.

One of those prospects is Ladd McConkey, who was recently compared to one of the most talented receivers to ever put on a Steelers jersey.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler appeared on the April 15 episode of the “Disguised Coverage” podcast. During his appearance, Brugler said that McConkey’s ceiling in the NFL is for him to be like Antonio Brown.

“This is gonna be unfair, but I’m gonna say his ceiling is like an Antonio Brown. The inside-outside versatility. The ability to catch and run. Again, we’re talking ceiling. We’re talking everything goes right, he stays healthy, he hits. Everything goes right that’s the type of player we’re talking about. I understand that’s lofty, but that’s ceiling. The chances of hitting that ceiling? Probably not super high, but I at least think that he has that type of ability because he’s super talented.”

Comparing Brown and McConkey

The ceiling that Brugler is talking about would make McConkey a true difference-maker for any team that drafts him.

Brown was the best receiver in the NFL over a six year stretch from 2013 to 2018.

During that time, Brown racked up 686 catches for 9145 yards and 67 touchdowns.

He made the Pro Bowl in each of those seasons, was named an All-Pro in five of the six seasons, and finished top three in the Offensive Player of the Year voting in three of the seasons.

As far as ceilings go in the NFL, it doesn’t get much better than being Brown at his best.

There are some pretty big differences McConkey and Brown as prospects, though.

Brown was much more productive during his time at Central Michigan than McConkey was for Georgia.

Over three years with the Chippewas, Brown made 305 catches for 3199 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, McConkey spent four years at Georgia, redshirting as a freshman. In the three years where he played, McConkey only made 119 catches for 1687 yards and 14 touchdowns.

McConkey had better pre-draft measurables. He is two inches taller than Brown and also ran the 40-yard dash in just 4.39 seconds compared to 4.47 seconds for Brown.

Brown wasn’t selected until the sixth round of his draft and was actually the second receiver the Steelers drafted that year.

Meanwhile, McConkey is expected to be taken somewhere in the first two rounds. In the draft guide he released on April 10, Brugler ranked the former Georgia receiver as the 31st prospect in this year’s draft and had this to say about McConkey:

“He is a quarterback-friendly target with the inside-outside versatility to be a quality No. 2 option for an NFL offense.”

They are two very different prospects, but there is the potential that could end up having the same team draft them.

Steelers’ Success Drafting Receivers

There is no team in the NFL that has been as successful as the Steelers since 1998 when it comes to drafting wide receivers.

That year, they landed Hines Ward in the third round.

Since then, they have landed a bunch of players that have put together great seasons for them at the position.

Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, Johnson, George Pickens, Plaxico Burress, and Santonio Holmes have all posted at least one 1000-yard season in the NFl after being drafted by the Steelers.

This year, they’ve at least taken a look at McConkey potentially being the next standout receiver they find in the draft.

The Steelers got the chance to see McConkey at the Senior Bowl. They also attended Georgia’s Pro Day, although McConkey probably wasn’t the only reason for that.

Pittsburgh must have been impressed with what they saw from the Georgia receiver as they later brought him in for a pre-draft visit.

There are a lot of other options available in this year’s draft, but the Steelers’ draft history tells us that there’s a good chance whoever they take at the position is going to perform well at the NFL level.

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