The Steelers may not have their starting running back on Sunday, but they will likely be equipped with improved wide receiver depth.
Eli Rogers is in line to make his 2018 debut after the Steelers activated him Saturday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Rogers tore his ACL in last season’s divisional round and has resided on the reserve/PUP list all season. He returned to practice in late November.
Pittsburgh’s primary slot receiver in 2016, Rogers was not used as frequently last year. The addition of JuJu Smith-Schuster and the return of Martavis Bryant relegated Rogers to part-time cog, and he recorded 18 receptions for 149 yards. In ’16, the former UDFA caught 48 passes for 594 yards and three TDs.
Rogers’ role probably will not be extensive this season, either. Ryan Switzer and second-round rookie James Washington have functioned as Pittsburgh’s auxiliary wideouts. Neither, though, has been as productive as Rogers was two years ago. The Steelers non-tendered Rogers as an RFA in March, and the wideout rehabbed on his own. He visited the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns but wound up re-signing with the Steelers over the summer.
Up by merely a half-game in the AFC North after a three-game losing streak, and likely to be without top running back James Conner against the Patriots, the Steelers can use all the help they can get in a big game Sunday. Following their Patriots clash, the Steelers have to travel to New Orleans, amplifying the stakes for their home game against the Pats.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.