The Pittsburgh Steelers traded away their 2020 first round pick when they traded for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, but when the Steelers landed Notre Dame wide receiver they landed a player with first round size, athleticism and production.
Much has been made of what Claypool isn't good at, but when you look at what Claypool can do there is little doubt he has a chance to be a special player, which I discussed in the video above.
Here is what the Steelers brass and some outsiders are saying about the Steelers selection of Claypool:
Kevin Colbert, Steelers GM — Chase Claypool the player was available to us for all the reasons we stated. He's big, he's fast, he's strong, he's physical. He can make a contested catch. Again, when a player like him is available, it was easy.
Randy Fichtner, Steelers Offensive Coordinator — He's one of those rare combinations of size and speed. His wingspan is greater than 80 inches. He's got big hands. His production this past season was off the charts, and it's been growing every season for him. He's one of those guys who scores the ball all the time, and there are ways to do it, and he finds ways to basically average a touchdown in every game he plays. He's a point scorer.
Fichtner — There is no job too small. He will block. He volunteers for special teams. This guy is a football player. He has a lot of unique traits for the position. A lot of things to be really excited about. Gives you a potential red zone threat. He is an outside position player first and gives you the option of playing in the slot as well. He wins an awful lot of one-on-ones. I have never seen him not win a one-on-one type play.
NFL.com — The Steelers have a knack for finding receivers. Claypool is a freak at the position with a rare combination of size, strength and speed. He isn't a polished route runner, but he's tough and productive as an outside pass catcher. The Notre Dame standout also brings some special teams ability.
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com — There was talk among draftniks of moving Notre Dame wideout Chase Claypool to tight end because of his size (238 pounds), but the Steelers made it clear that's not the plan for him in Pittsburgh. Like Martavis Bryant with more size and less drama, Claypool fits right in with a tradition of Steelers wideouts alongside Ben Roethlisberger who do their best work down the field.
Pro Football Focus — There was a lot of discussion of the Steelers going running back with their Round 2 selection, but they made the right call here by going with a player who can win downfield instead. Claypool has a freakish physical profile at 6-foot-4 and nearly 240 pounds with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and a vertical jump over 40 inches. He also made plenty of plays down the football field at Notre Dame in 2019, pulling in 16 receptions on passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield (tied most in the class).
Sporting News — This is an interesting pick to boost the offense at wide receiver rather than running back with J.K. Dobbins still on the board. Given the Steelers’ inconsistency and size issues behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, it does make some sense to give Big Ben a bigger target. Claypool (6-4, 238 pounds) matches his size with great speed and downfield burst. He is not the most technically sound route-runner, but he often wins with physical domination.
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