Steelers Try Out 3 WRs, Including a Kenny Pickett ‘Favorite’

Taysir Mack Pitt Panthers

Justin Berl/Getty Images Taysir Mack of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs into the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown reception in against the Clemson Tigers on October 23, 2021.

If the current crop of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers continues to struggle to catch passes, the team may elect to sign a receiver who has demonstrated an “awesome connection” with Kenny Pickett in the recent past.

On Tuesday the Steelers worked out a trio of wideouts, including Taysir Mack, who has been described by Amanda Godsey of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat as “probably Kenny Pickett’s second-favorite receiver at Pitt.”

Taysir Mack Signed With the 49ers After the Draft

Mack — who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 190 pounds — ran a 4.47 40-yard dash coming out of college. The rookie undrafted free agent signed with the San Francisco 49ers on May 13 but was released on August 5, 2022, and hasn’t received another NFL opportunity since.

Yet he was very productive at Pitt, catching 138 passes for 2,059 yards and nine touchdowns in 40 games between 2018-21, with 27 receptions for 461 yards and three TDs during Pickett’s last collegiate season. He averaged 14.9 yards per reception at Pitt, with a 17.1 yards per catch average in 2021.

Josh Malone is a Former 4th-Round Pick of the Bengals

But if the Steelers want to go with a receiver who has something of track record in the NFL, they could choose Josh Malone, 26, who was a 4th-round pick of the Bengals (2017) out of Tennessee. Malone — 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds — played in Cincinnati for two seasons before catching on with the Jets at the beginning of the 2019 season and spending two years in New York.

All told Malone has played in 28 regular-season games (with seven starts, all with the Bengals), during which time he has recorded 11 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. He also has a limited amount of kickoff return experience, all of which was acquired with the Jets in 2020.

Malone spent much of this year with the Tennessee Titans before getting waived on August 16, 2022.

Ja’Marcus Bradley (Louisiana-Lafayette)

As for the third wide receiver under consideration, that would be Ja’Marcus Bradley, 25, a Mississippi native who entered the NFL in 2020, signing with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette. Bradley accumulated eight games of NFL experience with the Browns, during which time he recorded nine receptions for 124 yards. Like Malone, he has limited NFL experience as a kickoff returner and has also contributed elsewhere on special teams.

Of course, if the Steelers want to promote a receiver from within, they still have Cody White on the team’s practice squad. Cody is the son of Sheldon White, who is the team’s director of pro scouting. He originally signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad on August 24, 2020 after a successful tryout two days earlier.

White, 23, went on to spend all of his first season in Pittsburgh on the practice squad. In 2021 he appeared in 15 games and caught five passes for 33 yards over the course of 77 offensive snaps. He also played 105 snaps on special teams, according to Pro Football Reference.

Meanwhile, rookie fourth-round pick Calvin Austin III could make his NFL debut relatively soon, as he was designated for return from injured reserve on Aug. 4. He needs to be added to the team’s 53-man roster within the next two weeks or he must spend the remainder of the season on injured reserve.

Austin suffered a foot injury just prior to Pittsburgh’s preseason opener, but the “day 3 draft steal” looked like a standout in practice before being placed on injured reserve.

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