I don’t know if you guys have heard about this, but Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool had a pretty good game for his fourth outing on Sunday in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He reportedly caught seven passes for 110 yards with three touchdowns, and added a fourth touchdown on a running play.
That has been about the most popular topic in the NFL for the past few days, at least for stories not involving viruses—though Claypool’s social media game has also gone viral with some admittedly pretty solid memes.
For as much attention as he is now likely to get on the field the next time he steps onto the grass, however, it will pale in comparison to the spotlight he’s been under nonstop in the media since his big performance. He has been getting attention from everywhere, and recently topped Pro Football Focus’ Rookie Studs list, which is only a slightly lesser honor (I’m joking, of course) than earning Offensive player of the Week.
This one was pretty obvious, right? Steelers rookie receiver Chase Claypool was a one-man touchdown machine against the Philadelphia Eagles, scoring four touchdowns — three receiving and one rushing — and having a fifth nullified by a dubious pass interference call.. Claypool’s blend of size and speed was already formidable, but after just a few weeks with the Steelers, he has a clear array of nuanced route-running moves and releases off the line that make him a nightmare for defenses to cover.
That the Steelers then move him into the slot to give him a free release and matchups against linebackers just borders on unfair. For this game, Claypool averaged 5 yards every time he ran a pass pattern and was arguably the difference in the battle of Pennsylvania.
After the game, head coach Mike Tomlin was quick to deflect some credit away from his budding new star. “The strength of the pack is the pack”, he said about his four- to five-deep wide receiver room, adding that the matchups in-game simply dictated that it was his turn to be making the plays—and he did exceedingly well with the opportunities that presented themselves.
Of course, it’s likely that he won’t see that many opportunities again, as every defense he faces from now on is going to be keenly aware of that he is able to do to them if they do not take him seriously as a dynamic threat who can work both in short yardage and over the top, and even on jet sweeps.
Claypool is a rare physical specimen that has the height, the weight, and the speed that you would use to make a wide receiver in a video game. He is striving each week to ensure that he is making the most of those natural abilities and putting it to good use in his career.