With Antonio Brown's departure, JuJu Smith-Schuster is the Steelers unquestioned number one wide receiver. Who's going to take the reins as the Steelers number two? Second year player James Washington, rookie Diontae Johnson, and veteran Donte Moncrief will be battling it out at St. Vincent college at the end of the month.
I think 'Crief, as Ben Roethlisberger calls him, has the inside track. I expect growth from James Washington from year one to year two. After all, the Steelers saw a huge jump in production from JuJu, T.J. Watt, and James Conner last year. That being said, Moncrief is a five year veteran who has had some success in the league.
He's been through five years of training camps. He knows what to expect. He's played in 16 games three times in his five years. He had 600+ yards last year, and 700+ yards with Andrew Luck in 2015. He's never lived up to his draft slot, but he's been serviceable. He's a more proven commodity than Washington or Johnson.
If you are looking for Diontae Johnson to make an immediate impact this year...don't. In his rookie year, JuJu Smith-Schuster had 41 of his 58 catches in the last seven weeks. Martavis Bryant didn't even play in the first six games in 2014. Johnson will have a chance to be the punt/kick returner, but I wouldn't count on much more from him until later on in the year.
James Washington was better at the end of the year than he was at the beginning. He will need to play, and the Steelers need him to play well. But, because of the experience factor I think that Moncrief will be the number two receiver when camp breaks in August.