Pittsburgh Steelers veteran cornerback Joe Haden has seen a lot of different kinds of wide receivers so far during his long career so it’s important to take notice whenever he comments on the abilities of one of them. Haden did just that on Tuesday during his Zoom media session when he was asked to comment on Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool.
“He’s impressed me for sure,” Haden said of Claypool. “Just his size, his speed, his ability to adjust to the ball in the air, and then he doesn’t really say too much. He’s just out there every day. I’ve seen him just working hard, asking questions on offense just getting the routes. And he’s been doing a really good job.
According to the Steelers Monday pool practice report, Claypool, who has talked quite a bit about being a red zone target for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during his rookie season since he was drafted, made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone with Haden in coverage during the seven-shots portion of practice. Haden was asked about that play on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t even just that play, he’s had a couple of plays on me this camp,” Haden admitted on Tuesday. “So, I’ve been lined up against him pretty often. He’s just a big, fast receiver and he’s able to adjust to the ball in the air. So, he hasn’t shown me anything too bad. You know, he’s been able to be a big body, a big deep threat with soft hands and can jump up and get it. So, I mean, as long as he just keeps going, staying healthy, I think he’s going to be a problem.”
While he is a rookie and while the cancelled offseason program probably hindered the growth and development of Claypool, the Notre Dame product should be able to see the field with Roethlisberger and company right out of the chute at the start of the regular season and especially whenever the offense is in the red zone. After all, Claypool had 13 red zone touchdown receptions during his career at Notre Dame.
As for Claypool getting more than just red zone playing time as his rookie season progresses, Haden said on Tuesday he can see that happening and especially if the young wide receiver can quickly gain the trust of Roethlisberger and the offensive coaches by completely learning the entire scheme.
“But I think he’s a great, young talent and his work ethic shows that he wants to be great,” Haden said of Claypool on Tuesday. “He doesn’t do too much talking; he just gets after it. So, as long as he knows the playbook and as long as he and Ben [Roethlisberger] are on the accord of the checks and everything, I mean, I think he has all the physical attributes to be a baller.”
That’s some high praise from Haden for sure and the kind you love to hear from veteran players when it comes to rookies.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2020