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WR Allen Robinson expects mix of young talent, veterans to help Steelers offense 'take that next step'

Wide receiver Allen Robinson has been effusive in his praise of quarterback Kenny Pickett since joining the Steelers through a trade earlier this offseason.

Now he's giving the whole offense its due.

"When you kind of look at some of the weapons that we have, I think that we're in a position to be a well-rounded offensive group, with a lot of young talent that isn't so young anymore," Robinson said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Also some vets. That's really when you see some offenses start to take that next step.

"You have a Kenny Pickett coming into Year 2. You have a George Pickens coming into Year 2. You have Pat (Freiermuth) at the tight end spot going into Year 3. You have a Najee Harris. You bring myself in. We have a lot of guys across the board who can make plays. Especially on third down, when you look at red zone, when you look at creating explosive plays. You have guys to be able to bring some of that to the table at each and every situation."

Robinson's confidence is high, considering he's joining an offensive unit that ranked 26th in points and 23rd in yards last season, but all of the players he mentioned have exhibited flashes of difference-making while acclimating to the NFL game.

Harris, as a running back, is the farthest along with the lowest learning curve from college to the pros, which is evidenced by his two 1,000-yard rushing campaigns in as many tries. He has 579 carries and 14 rushing touchdowns through two seasons, plus another 115 receptions for 696 yards and six scores.

Although Harris' career 3.9 yards-per-carry mark is subpar, the other young talents Robinson mentioned making a leap in 2023 could open up better opportunities for the Pittsburgh workhorse.

Freiermuth is already a sturdy contributor entering Year 3 -- a sweet spot where tight ends often begin to blossom. He was sixth among TEs last year with 732 receiving yards while boosting his 8.3 yards per reception from his rookie campaign to 11.6.

Pickens was inconsistent as a rookie but brought in the Steelers' most receiving scores (four), second-most yards (801) and third-most receptions (52). He showcased the ability to form a dynamic pairing with WR Diontae Johnson, one of the veterans from the other half of Robinson's proposed equation.

There's plenty of room for growth, plus evidence to suggest it can take place.

The rest of the offensive weapons' ability to showcase it, though, will be largely contingent on Pickett's continued maturation. The 2022 first-rounder did not wow with his stat line last season, throwing seven TDs and nine picks, but he showed a certain degree of "it" factor by leading four game-winning drives and finding victories in five of his final six starts down the stretch.

As for Robinson, Pittsburgh will be hoping it acquired him to fulfill a role beyond a simple mentor. He has plenty of wisdom to contribute entering his 10th season, but he's managed just 71 receptions for 749 yards and four scores across 22 games since 2021.

Robinson's seeking a late-career resurgence in Black and Gold. If he achieves that alongside a young cast of improving talent, Pittsburgh could end up stepping back into the playoffs.

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