The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t go into the 2020 NFL Draft looking for a position as much as they were looking for players that could make a difference on their football team. So when Chase Claypool was still on the board when the Steelers made their first pick, making the former Notre Dame star their first selection of the draft was an easy choice.
“"We never go into it looking for a position. We have ideas where strengths are, we have ideas where our wants are, and if they match up at a certain point great,” explained Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert after he selected Claypool. “In the case of a wide receiver, we were excited that that player was available to us. That player, not that position. Chase Claypool the player was available to us.
“… He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong, he’s physical,” continued Colbert. “He can make the contested catch. When a player like that was available, it was easy.”
The Steelers were able to evaluate Claypool up close during the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and the former Irish wideout made a strong impression beyond his ability to catch the football.
"He's got great size, great speed, he's got great competitiveness,” explained the long-time Steelers executive. “We really got up close to him down at the Senior Bowl and the work he did on the special teams really stood out in the practices. Of course we knew about his receiving abilities but when you saw him up close, working the way he did in the special teams in parts of practices, it really showed the competitiveness that this young man has; to go along with his size, his speed, and his receiving abilities.”
When the offseason began there were analysts that knocked Claypool for a perceived lack of speed. Although the Steelers were surprised at just how fast Claypool timed at the NFL Scouting Combine, they knew he could run.
"We know he ran (a 4.42 40-yard). At that size, I could say I was a little surprised that he did run that fast, but we certainly didn't think he was a 4.6 or anything of that nature,” said Colbert. “He ran an exceptional time and he plays fast for his size. He's probably usually right around 230 (pounds); 228, 230. Until we actually time him you never know. Sometimes the bigger guys with the long strides, they're deceptive. I've seen it throughout my career, and again, this didn't disappoint us. But when it was verified we thought this could be pretty special."
To listen to Claypool's introductory press conference with the Pittsburgh media click HERE.
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