New England Patriots wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster had a forgettable Week 1 performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. He totaled just 33 receiving yards on four receptions and zero receiving touchdowns in a game the Patriots went on to lose by a final score of 25-20 at home.
A recent report indicates that multiple Patriots sources believe that Smith-Schuster isn’t even a top-five pass catcher on the team right now.
“The problem is his increasingly shaky standing on the depth chart,” Andrew Callahan wrote. “Multiple team sources believe Smith-Schuster is not presently among the team’s five most effective pass-catchers. According to those same sources, his place in the offense has been complicated by a variety of factors.”
Smith-Schuster was selected with the No. 62 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft after a three-season stint playing college football at the University of Southern Carolina. He finished with 700-plus receiving yards and five-plus receiving touchdowns in each of his three seasons as a Trojan.
Arguably Smith-Schuster’s best season of college football came during his sophomore season, the 2015 season. He accumulated 1,454 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in 14 appearances with the Trojans.
The 6-foot-1 wide receiver has played for three teams — the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Patriots — across his seven seasons in the NFL. He totaled 933 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in 16 games played with the Chiefs during the 2022 regular season (14 starts).
Smith-Schuster’s best season in the pros came during the 2018 season when he was still a member of the Steelers. He was one of the top players at his position in the NFL, as he finished with 1,426 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns across 16 regular-season appearances (13 starts).
Additionally, the 26-year-old’s longest reception that season was for an incredible 97 yards, the longest reception made by any player in the league.
Those numbers were good enough for Smith-Schuster to earn the only Pro Bowl nod of his career to this point.
Smith-Schuster may no longer be the same player he was a few seasons ago when he starred with the Steelers, but as his numbers with the Chiefs during the 2022 regular season indicate, he’s still capable of playing productive football at the NFL level. Here’s to hoping that he puts his lackluster Week 1 performance behind him and has a more productive game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.