“That sixth (round pick) might be Antonio Brown,” Colbert said, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. “A seventh, you say just throw in a seventh, well that might have been Brett Keisel. You never want to say it’s a pick. You try to associate a player that you could get with those picks.”
However, Brown’s departure is a significant blow to the lineup. The team can’t automatically replace six straight years of 100-plus catches and at least 1,284 receiving yards.
Smith-Schuster will experience an expanded role after his breakout 111-catch, 1,426-yard sophomore campaign. But he won’t benefit any longer from defenses concentrating on Brown. He’ll now be the No. 1 option and need help from James Washington. Last year’s second-round pick is a vertical threat, but he struggled to carve out a niche with 38 receptions for 217 yards.
Another option is needed, particularly working outside the numbers and the deep to intermediate zones. A combination of Smith-Schuster, Washington, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers and the recently signed Donte Moncrief, who has never had more than 64 receptions for 733 receiving yards in a single season, isn’t quite good enough.