Teams draft players not to help those players receive accolades over the course of their career, but for those players to help the organization achieve its ultimate goal, which is winning a championship. So, ideally, the players that you draft are driven first and foremost by the desire to be a champion over being recognized as one of the greatest individual players.
Now, that’s not to say that there is anything wrong with wanting to be recognized for your skills and accomplishments. I don’t know that there’s a player out there in the NFL who would be able to tell you sincerely that they wouldn’t like to be a first-team All-Pro.
But the ideal is for the individual accolades that a player receives be earned within the effort to assist the team in winning games, and ultimately winning the final game of the season, which is the Super Bowl. That is where rookie Chase Claypool for the Pittsburgh Steelers has set his sights as he takes the long view at the start of his NFL career.
“You want to be a guy who wants to win a Super Bowl, and that’s me. That tops my list”, he told Mark Sanchez while appearing on the 4th and Forever podcast earlier this week. “I don’t have to be in the Hall of Fame, or I don’t have to be a Pro Bowler. Although those are my goals, my number one goal is to win a Super Bowl”.
“I would just think that would kind of put a stamp on the journey that I have been through”, the rookie went on. “Having watched like every Super Bowl growing up as a kid and then being able to play in one and win one would kind of put the exclamation point on my journey as a football player. And then Like I said, Hall of Fame would be awesome. A Bro Bowler would be awesome”.
Without a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Claypool was the Steelers’ earliest draft pick this year, taken 49th-overall in the second round. The 6’4”, 234-pound wide receiver out of Notre Dame has a lot of talent, but it is yet to be determined what his role will be as the team gets underway this year.
He is, of course, the fourth wide receiver that the team has taken in the second day of the draft in as many years, beginning with JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2017, followed by James Washington in 2018, and then Diontae Johnson in 2019. All three of them have already achieved some level of success, and figure to retain their roles from the previous year as the top three receiving targets.
But even with a stunted offseason, the coaching staff will be looking to find creative ways to allow Claypool to contribute as a rookie. After all, there aren’t too many 6’4”, 234-pound men who can run a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. If you can’t find ways to make that work on the football field without a lot of coaching up, then that’s on the play-calling and design.