I for one was glad to see Pittsburgh pick up Chase Claypool in the second round given the success they have had at the WR position in recent years (Juju, Antonio Brown, Sanders & Wallace to name a few). Juju, Washington and Johnson performed below par in 2019 even if much was to do with the QB carousel. A new man in town with these metrics will not only push Claypool but also his fellow WR’s.
Chase Claypool has all the makings of being the next in a long line of successes.
Claypool was drafted in the second round of the 2020 draft out of Notre Dame where he spent four years. It was a slow start for from the British Colombian Native, he was predominately on special teams in his true freshman year. In his next two seasons (junior year first as starter) he started 20 games catching 79 receptions for 1041 yards and six touchdowns.
It was in 2019 that Claypool took the jump up to the next level and became a bigger name in the college scene, starting 13 games bringing in 66 passes for 1037 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 2019 performance was enough to put him in the top 10 nationally in terms of wide receivers and increased his draft stock significantly.
His standout game in 2019 was the Bowl game where he came away as MVP finishing with seven catches for 146 yards and a touchdown against Iowa State.
Claypool is a big bodied wide receiver standing at 6’4” and 238lbs but what sets him apart from the other prototypical big wide receiver is his impressive 4.42 40 yard dash.
He has elite size and explosiveness to jump straight into the NFL and allows him to compete for the 50/50 deep balls and a significant vertical threat against corners. Claypool’s height and arm length gives him an impressive catch radius and he is forceful in the jump catches against defenders out powering and out-jumping them. His 4.42 speed makes him deceptive downfield with the potential to catch secondary’s off guard.
His final pro is his ability in the run block game and on special teams and is nasty in his blocking looking to dominate his opponents.
Some negatives currently in his game are he can be lackadaisical with his hands at times and is not a natural ball catcher on the run, he can lose concentration for yards after the catch. His size will make him a target for a big chunk of contested catches. He can at times flap at the ball once caught before securing it into his body.
Footwork will be one of the key points to develop once he gets into camp as he can take time to correct due to his size.
Claypool looks massive on the screen and you can be sure he will use his size first at the next level.
An extravagant comparison made by some in the industry is that to the great Megatron Calvin Johnson given the similar size and speed. If Claypool can be half of Megatron, the Steeler’s would be onto a winner here. Calvin Johnson was a freak of nature and very very few can truly compare to him.
A more recent comparison is his former teammate now rival in the Baltimore Ravens Miles Boykin who shares a similar size and speed. Pittsburgh will be hoping for a more productive first year from Claypool than Boykin showed in Baltimore.
A final and likely the most accurate comparison is Mike Evans another freak with impressive speed and size. Claypool and Evans share many similarities in size and play style aswell as similar yards per catch in college. If Claypool can work out in the NFL I see a similar career to Evans.
Rookie Year Impact
Prior to the combine many in the industry expected Chase Claypool to transition to Tight End due to the concern around his speed, this was largely answered with his 4.42 showing.
One prediction would be the Steeler’s lining Claypool up inside the majority of the time causing a mismatch against linebackers and provides another impact player alongside Vance McDonald with a mixture of JuJu, Johnson and Washington on the outside.
Claypool is known for his blocking another key attribute which Steeler’s will look to use in the run game and he will be more than happy to contribute from the off however he can.
In terms of numbers I predict Claypool will end the year between 500-700 yards and at least four touchdowns. There is the possibility for him to have one or two 100 yard games against the right opposition.
Claypool has all the tools to be a versatile weapon in the Steeler’s offence straight from the outset but the hope is that he provides an additional threat for a healthy Ben Roethlisberger.
Rookie wide receivers have had a rough time in the fantasy world coming into their first season the argument for Claypool to make an immediate impact is strong. However he is a polished player already possessing the tools to contribute straight away.
Lining up alongside Juju Smith-Schuster will open the field for Claypool and take away double teams leaving an already dominate Claypool free to roam the field.
A lot will come down to the health of Big Ben after the showing of Steeler’s backups quarterbacks and there lacklustre performances under centre.
I have mentioned early that I see Claypool ending the season between 500-700 yards and four touchdowns but there is a real possibility that sees him ending the year close to 1000 yards and eight to nine touchdowns if he can establish himself as the number two receiver behind JuJu.
There is much less hype surrounding Chase Claypool compared to the wide receivers drafted before him (Lamb to Dallas, Jeudy to Denver & Ruggs to Las Vegas) but there is a significant possibility that within the in the Steeler’s offence Claypool ends out on top of the rookie WR in year one whilst flying under the radar.
So there we have it, Can Claypool become the next big thing at wide receiver for The Steeler’s. Only time and development will tell but he has the makings of a typical Steeler’s pick. And we all know the track record from Pittsburgh for their wide receivers picked outside of the first round. I for one am a believer which is easy from my fan point of view.
Until Next Time Rush Nation, Keep On Rushing.
- Ash Goddard (@Addicted2_FF)