Something that we just talked about on the site recently is the fact that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool is tied for the league lead in the number of defensive pass interference penalties that he has drawn in 2020, and also leads the league in yards attributed to defensive pass interference calls.
Perhaps what is most significant about that is the fact that there have actually been a number of other plays on deep passes in particular in which a very strong case could be made that the officials missed additional defensive pass interference penalties. There was one a couple of weeks ago in particular that sticks out, and he had one bounce off of his facemask recently.
“It’s something that I’m trying to work on, just getting through some of those PI calls”, he told reporters earlier this week. “But some of them, as you could see from yesterday’s game, you just can’t fight through a tackle sometimes”.
He also knows that sometimes you need to do a little extra to get what you’re entitled to—and that it also helps if you are an established player, though sometimes the quarterback is just as important. That’s why Tom Brady has two of the league’s top wide receivers in terms of defensive pass interference penalties drawn.
Claypool was asked if he feels as though his status as a rookie who hasn’t accomplished a lot (relatively speaking, of course) and has not built up a reputation yet affects whether or not he gets calls that other more established wide receivers might get.
“Yeah, I definitely watch some of these games, and I see these guys get PI-ed and then the flag doesn’t come out and then if like a Pro Bowl receiver just like, throws their hands up, they can get a call here or there”, he said. “I’m gonna try that—probably not this year, but maybe down the road there a little bit”.
At 22 years old and 10 games into his NFL career, it must be said, of course, that Claypool is already doing rather well for himself. He has 10 touchdowns, the most by any wide receiver at this point in his career since 1960, which is pretty notable. He is roughly on track to record a 1000-yard season, which would be a first for a wide receiver in team history.
But he’s still the second-round pick from April. There are probably officiating crews out there who still haven’t even seen him yet. He hasn’t played on the national stage too many times, even if he does get some highlights on Sports Center.