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Chase Claypool: I know I’m a top-three receiver in the NFL

With a whole summer of no NFL games ahead of them, Mike Florio and Charean Williams discuss what they plan to watch during the football drought.

The Steelers have become somewhat of a receiver factory over the years, developing some of the best players at the position.

But there’s one Pittsburgh player who thinks he should be among the highest-rated receivers going into Year Three — though he knows he still has plenty to prove.

Chase Claypool made an appearance on the latest episode of the I Am Athlete podcast and told hosts Brandon Marshall, LeSean McCoy, and Adam “Pacman” Jones just how confident he is in his ability.

“I’m going to say, my second year, I was a better player than I was my first year,” Claypool said. “The plays just didn’t work out, right? Some of the plays just didn’t go my way. I didn’t make some plays I need to make. But as a football player, understanding the game, knowing what to do, knowing where to be, I was better. So I’m going to be better this year.

“And just like you said, understanding I’m not normal — I feel that way when I’m on the field. I know for a fact I am not like the rest of the guys in the NFL. I know I’m a top-five receiver. I know I’m a top-three receiver.”

Claypool continued that he feels that way in large part because of how he’s able to execute when he’s on the field.

“When I’m working, I’m like, ‘I’m a dog.’ I’m gonna dog people that are lining up across from me, too,” Claypool said. “And I’ve just got to bring that confidence and I’ve got to bring that spirit and I’ve just got to show people. And it’s going to happen. And we’re going to rewind this and we’re going to see this clip in a little bit and they’re going to be like, ‘Damn, he was right.’”

Claypool has displayed plenty of ability in his first two seasons. He caught 62 passes for 873 yards with nine touchdowns as a rookie. But he only had a pair of TDs in 2021, catching 59 passes for 860 yards.

After Claypool made his lofty statement, McCoy wanted to hear numbers — what kind of stats does Claypool anticipate having in 2022? The receiver said 1,300 yards and 10-plus touchdowns.

That could be difficult to do with either Mitchell Trubisky, rookie Kenny Pickett, or Mason Rudolph as his quarterback in the coming season. But if Claypool isn’t confident in himself, who will be?