As the calendar turns to March, NFL thoughts turn to the beginning of free agency and the Pro Day circuit, the latter of which begins this week when the Kansas Jayhawks hold their Pro Day on March 5th. It’s also the time when the Pittsburgh Steelers—and all other NFL teams—ramp up their interviews with draft prospects.
According to Justin Melo of The Draft Network, one of the players of particular interest to the Steelers is Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, who will meet/has met with the team, which Schwartz seemed to confirm via retweet.
Anthony Schwartz: @therealf1ash
Schwartz—who is six feet tall and 179 pounds—is known for his blazing speed. He arrived at Auburn with the nickname Flash, and according to the university he was “the national high school track and field athlete of the year in 2018 [and] set a world youth record in 2017 with a 10.15 100-meter dash, a time he trimmed even further as a high school senior, running a 10.07.”
He has since been referred to as the fastest player in college football, and former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has noted that “he’s just as fast in pads as he is without.”
Schwartz finished his college career with 117 catches for 1,433 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns (including 54 catches for 636 yards and three TD receptions as a junior). He also added 42 rushing attempts for 323 yards and seven touchdowns, and appears to excel on jet sweeps, which could play a prominent role in the offense of new offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Schwartz also fits the mold that the Steelers look for in wide receivers in the sense that he is coming out early and still has room to grow, both physically and from a football perspective.
What’s Next For ‘Flash’?
Some draft prognosticators predict that Schwartz will be selected as early as the third round, but Pro Football Focus currently has him ranked No. 171 among this year’s prospects, which would make him a fifth/sixth-round selection.
No doubt Schwartz will be among the most intriguing Tigers players at Auburn’s Pro Day, which is scheduled for Thursday March 18th.
Schwartz declared for the 2021 NFL Draft in early January.
The Steelers Have a Need at Wide Receiver
Notably, the Steelers have selected at least one receiver in all but three drafts since Kevin Colbert became general manager in 2000.
If JuJu Smith-Schuster leaves via free agency, as expected, the Steelers will still have a capable trio in Chase Clayool, Diontae Johnson and James Washington, but little in the way of depth. Being that this is a strong/deep class of wide receivers, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the team drafts a pair of wideouts, much like 2010 when the Steelers selected Emmanuel Sanders in the third round and Antonio Brown in round six.
Even if Smith-Schuster signs an extension with Pittsburgh, the Steelers might still add a receiver in the later rounds of the draft, as there would still be a roster spot available for a No. 5 wide receiver.
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