All Chase Claypool does is score touchdowns. The second-round rookie draft pick now has six on the season—four receiving, and two rushing—which ties the record for the most scored by a rookie wide receiver in the first five games of his career in NFL history, dating back to at least 1970, tied with, among others, Randy Moss and Martavis Bryant.
He nearly broke the record, as well, turning a short pass into a long game late in Sunday’s victory over the Cleveland Browns. He stretched out his arm to give for the pylon, and he got there—only his elbow had touched down at the one-yard line before he crossed the plane.
Of course that does not diminish the excellent play that he has shown so far this season. He has caught 17 passes on just 24 targets to date, going for 335 yards, with the mentioned four receiving touchdowns, averaging 19.7 yards per reception. He has 21 rushing yards on six attempts with two additional scores. And he blocks, as well.
It’s all enough for Pro Football Focus to, uncontroversially I might add, name him one of the top rookies so far during the 2020 season, ranking him third on a list behind only New England Patriots lineman Michael Onwenu and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Anthony Treash writes:
Claypool wasn’t able to come close to topping his four-touchdown Week 5 performance, but he still had a decent game this past week against the Cleveland Browns. He picked up 3.36 yards per route run and added a touchdown on the ground en route to a PFF grade of 75.0 — the ninth-best of the week at the position. After that outing, Claypool still holds his spot as the most productive wide receiver in the league on a per route basis, with an average of 3.49 yards per route run on the year. There’s a pretty sizable gap between Claypool and Jefferson, but he has firmly been the second-best rookie wide receiver of 2020 so far.
The Notre Dame product already has seven explosive plays on the season, which is tied for the 10th-most in the NFL, in spite of the fact that the Steelers’ passing game hasn’t been very explosive overall, they have played one fewer game than most teams, and he has fewer receptions—substantially fewer in most cases—than everybody who has more.
Claypool’s 19.7 yards per reception also ranks second in the league among qualified players, behind only D.J. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks, who is averaging 22.5 yards per reception, catching 22 passes for 496 yards and five touchdowns. His 14 yards per target ranks third, behind Allen Lazard and Jefferson.