It's never a bad thing to be compared to Hines Ward, a fearless, physical receiver who parlayed his unique skill set into a Hall of Fame career (he isn't in yet, but that's for another day). Roman Wilson, the former Michigan standout, was compared to Pittsburgh's legendary receiver shortly after the Steelers drafted him. 

"In the third round, the Steelers grabbed two players who harken back to the great Hines Ward," wrote Jim Wexell, the founder of Steel City Insider and a Steelers beat reporter since 1995. "In WR Roman Wilson, the Steelers got a starter with inside/outside capability and 4.39 40 speed. They also got a relentless team player and blocker, and a player with a huge chip on his shoulder for being drafted so late. Just like Ward.

"And with the next pick, they drafted an ILB with 4.43 speed even though he's absent an ACL. Just like Ward. Payton Wilson was even drafted 98th overall. Ward was drafted 92nd in 1998."

The fact that Wexell also compared Payton Wilson to Ward is ironic given that Wilson plays the position (linebacker) that Ward so tormented during his 14-year career. In fact, his jaw-breaking hit on then-Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers in 2008 nearly remembered as much as Ward's MVP performance in Super Bowl XL. 

Ward very much played receiver with a linebacker's mentality, which is one of the things that quickly endeared himself to Steelers fans. Ward has the unofficial title as the greatest blocking receiver of all time, a distinction he wore with a badge of honor. 

Along with his physical presence, Ward could also catch. He's one of eight players in NFL history with at least 1,000 career catches, 12,000 yards receiving and 85 touchdowns. 

Given Ward's brilliant career, comparing anyone to him is saying something. That's why when someone of Wexell's magnitude does exactly that, it shouldn't be taken lightly. Now, Wexell isn't saying that Wilson will end up being as good as Ward, but he obviously thinks that Wilson possesses aspects of Ward's makeup, which could lead to good things for both Wilson and the Steelers. 

Anyone who watched Wilson at Michigan and also watched Ward's career saw those parallels. Like Ward, Wilson is a somewhat undersized receiver who makes up for his size with athleticism and relentless physicality. He was often able to come up with a big play when the Wolverines most needed it, such as his two big catches late in regulation in Michigan's eventual win over Alabama in this past year's College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl. 

Also like Ward, Wilson was known at Michigan for his crushing blocks, his prowess for getting in the end zone and his team-first attitude. Given those characteristics, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Wilson played an integral role in Michigan's best season in well over 60 years. 

Wilson should fit in perfectly into what the Steelers are trying to do on offense under new coordinator Arthur Smith. Pittsburgh, in Mike Tomlin's words, want to "roll people" on the offensive side of the ball in 2024. If that's the case, Pittsburgh drafted the right receiver to help them accomplish that goal. In the process, Wilson may carve out a role that will continue to draw comparisons to Ward, arguably the greatest Steelers wideout of them all.