Smith-Schuster led the Steelers in receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426) in 2018, the first time Brown did not lead Pittsburgh in catches or yards since 2012.
The question for Pittsburgh is whether Smith-Schuster can remain prolific without Brown on the field to take away the bulk of the coverage.
Without Brown playing the outside receiver role, will the Steelers be able to keep JuJu in the slot, where he feasted last season?
The confidence that the 22-year-old Smith-Schuster can continue his ascent toward the upper echelon likely played a role in the Steelers' willingness to trade Brown for a third- and a fifth-round draft pick.
The bigger issue for Pittsburgh is less that JuJu will continue to produce, but rather the rest of the supporting cast. Second-round pick James Washington struggled mightily as a rookie last year, and several times caught the ire of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Ryan Switzer is a solid slot receiver, but not a player that will garner defensive attention.