Is Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool the most overlooked top pick in the 2020 rookie class?
The Pittsburgh Steelers could have gone to the interior defensive line to replace Javon Hargrave. They could have potentially taken a quarterback of the future to develop behind Ben Roethlisberger.
They could have gone with pretty much any other position and it might have made a bit more sense in the heat of the moment compared to the splash of cold water that was the selection of Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool.
Claypool is joining a Steelers wide receiver group that already had three young guys with the potential to be the core group moving forward, but the Steelers always seem to find great value at the wide receiver position every year and there’s no reason to believe Claypool can’t be the latest example of that.
Claypool, a ridiculous athlete at the wide receiver position with tight end size and elite track speed, is a unique type of playmaker in the Steelers’ wide receiver group with a very different skill set than the rest of the group.
Steelers young receiver trio
The Steelers boast one of the most talented wide receiver trios in the NFL in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington. All three of those players have proven themselves to be legitimate options in the Steelers’ passing game moving forward, especially with Ben Roethlisberger returning to the lineup.
These three receivers were the top three on Pittsburgh’s roster last year in total targets in the passing game, and even with a revolving door at quarterback, they put a lot of good things on tape and combined for 11 receiving touchdowns.
With Roethlisberger coming back healthy, the value of everyone in that receiver group and everyone on the Steelers’ offense is elevated significantly.
With Smith-Schuster being limited a bit last year and the wide receivers such a critical piece of Pittsburgh’s offense, the selection of Claypool makes a lot more sense having had time to look back on their 2019 season and everything that went down.
If you were to take a poll of 100 NFL analysts, asking them to rank every team’s top draft pick impact from 1-32, you might not get anyone ranking Claypool’s impact on the Steelers above the 30s.
I have a feeling he’s going to surprise a lot of people.
The Steelers haven’t really had an athlete like this at receiver since they had Martavis Bryant, a big, long receiver with speed and a huge catch radius who lit it up his rookie season in limited reps.
Claypool, like Bryant, can be a highly efficient target on deep throws and in red zone work.
Bryant, in his rookie season (2014), caught a career-high eight touchdowns on just 26 total receptions. Claypool may not be able to match that type of crazy efficiency, but he could certainly have a high percentage of his receptions in 2020 going for either big plays or touchdowns.
Because of the amount the Steelers like to throw the ball, there will be plenty of opportunities going Claypool’s way, and I think the overall fit of him with the Steelers could make him one of the most overlooked rookies in the 2020 class.
He might not be in line for any rookie of the year awards, but Claypool is going to be a huge difference-maker for the Steelers.