Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Santonio Holmes understands more than most what it takes to be a top wide receiver in the NFL.
Holmes scored the winning touchdown as the Steelers clinched the 2008 Super Bowl and deservedly scooped the MVP award at the end of the game.
He went on to play for the New York Jets and Chicago Bears, before ending his nine-year NFL career with more than 6,000 receiving yards, 389 receptions and 36 touchdowns.
Holmes now pays a keen interest in the latest crop of wide receivers and is well-placed to give his verdict on their respective talents.
The 38-year-old’s undisputed number one is Deebo Samuel – a player whose efforts nearly fired the San Francisco to the Super Bowl last season.
With several key 49ers players suffering injuries, Samuel carried the team to an unlikely appearance in the NFC Championship game.
“The NFL is full speed, so for someone to be able to do what Deebo did, to play multiple positions, to shift the ball different ways in the NFL – I’ve witnessed it with Hines Ward, but to do it the way this kid did last season was remarkable,” said Holmes.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him perform this season and have fun doing it.
Another receiver who has impressed Holmes in the NFL is Cooper Kupp. The Los Angeles Rams star emulated Holmes by winning the Super Bowl MVP award last season.
He received the accolade after recording eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was the decisive score in overtime.
The 29-year-old often goes under the radar when pundits discuss wide receivers, but Kupp is undoubtedly one of the most reliable players in his position.
He has recorded 5,797 receiving yards, 461 and 43 touchdowns in just over five years as a professional and is firmly established as a key part of the Rams’ offensive unit.
“His performance last year was one for the books, and to cap it off with a remarkable finish as a Super Bowl MVP, I tip my hat to him for having such a great season,” Holmes added.
“Also, his quarterback and his staff for finding him and allowing him to do that. The guys around him made him so much better, getting him open and taking the pressure away from him.”
Holmes understandably pays close attention to the Steelers’ progress and picked out one of their receivers as a potential future superstar in the NFL.
The 21-year-old was drafted in the second round this year after starring for the University of Georgia in college football.
There has been plenty of hype surrounding Pickens and he has already showcased his talents during the early part of the season.
He made a remarkable one-handed 36-yard reception against the Cleveland Browns, sparking an outpouring of positive comments on social media.
Holmes is excited by what Pickens brings to the table and is looking forward to watching him progress with the Steelers.
“Obviously, his name has been talked about, and for good reason,” he said. “I’m excited to see what he brings to the table this year.
“There’s a lot of weapons on the field, but keeping guys healthy, starting with the O-line up front, being able to protect (Mitch) Trubisky, giving him a chance to read his targets.
“Each of those guys has to play off each other’s back. Don’t go in with the mindset of being selfish, it’s all about playing together as a group.Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.