Chase Claypool keeps generating buzz and praise in Pittsburgh
Ten receivers were drafted before him. Ten of them. But the eleventh receiver, and 49th player, taken in the 2020 draft is generating as much buzz as any of the rest.
Steelers receiver Chase Claypool has constantly turned heads in Pittsburgh throughout training camp. Veteran cornerback Joe Haden last week and veteran tight end Eric Ebron on Monday have each called Claypool an all-caps PROBLEM in recent days. Simms has been singing the praises of the former Notre Dame standout since before the draft.
Mark Kaboly of TheAthletic.com wrote about Claypool’s exploits on Monday, saying that Claypool is “making non-rookie-like plays after running non-rookie-like routes and making non-rookie-like catches.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin tried to be somewhat muted in his praise of Claypool when asked about a touchdown catch the rookie made in practice on Monday, via Kaboly: “I really don’t know which specific play you are talking about because he made a couple of them, which is a good thing.”
So if the kid is that good, why did he last so long in the draft? Regardless of the reason for 10 receiver to be taken before Claypool, his performance could be a product of the Michael Thomas Effect. Thomas, like Claypool, slid to round two. Claypool, like Thomas, possibly is using that slight -- which costs the player significant dollars on his rookie deal -- as motivation to unlock a higher level of performance and to never be satisfied with any type of success.
If it works, the Steelers’ quest for a new No. 1 receiver could be moving quickly toward a conclusion. After the departure of Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster tried to step into the role, but he lacks the speed and separation to be anything more than a No. 2 who can produce at team MVP levels.