Smith-Schuster says he'll play more snaps outside this season, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Smith-Schuster has taken more than half his snaps from the slot in each of four NFL seasons, slowly increasing from 57.8 percent (2017) to 61.0 percent (2018) to 66.7 percent (2019), before leaping to 84.7 percent in 2020, per PFF. He's arguably at his best working inside, but a 5.8 aDOT last season didn't give him many opportunities for long gains. While more work outside could help Smith-Schuster get a few deep looks, he may also face tougher target/touch/snap competition this year after the Steelers improved their backfield in the first round of the 2021 draft (with Najee Harris) and used their second-round pick on a tight end (Pat Freiermuth) who could encourage more multi-TE looks. The team also still has Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and James Washington at wide receiver, all of whom will compete for targets from 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger.