With 10 touchdowns through his first 10 career games, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool has done something that no other rookie at his position has done in 60 years, which is rather remarkable. In fact, since 1970, there are only 12 wide receivers who have even scored 10 touchdowns in their rookie season, period.
With Claypool adding his name to the list, the Steelers are now one of three teams with two wide receivers to have done it. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of them. Mike Williams had 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 2010, and Mike Evans had 12 in 2014.
For the Steelers, the record holder is Louis Lipps, who is tied with running back Franco Harris with the overall franchise rookie record for the most touchdowns, at 11. Claypool needs to score just two more times over the next six games in order to break that record.
But even though he is the only wide receiver to record 10 touchdowns in his first 10 games during the Super Bowl era, he is not actually on pace to break the NFL’s rookie touchdown record for wide receivers. That is where the other team with two names on the list comes into play.
That would be the Minnesota Vikings, who had Sammy White catch 10 touchdowns as a rookie in 1974, a 14-game season (including three in the finale). White caught three more touchdowns during a playoff run that ended in a Super Bowl loss.
But it’s the other name, the name you know, that is the caveat here. That’s Randy Moss, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest wide receivers to play the game, quite easily, rivaled only by the likes of Jerry Rice.
Moss caught seven touchdowns passes over the course of his first 10 career games. Then he went absolutely crazy. He finished the season recording at least one receiving touchdown in each of his final seven games, including scoring three times in back-to-back weeks, finishing the year with 17 touchdowns, four more than any other rookie wide receiver since at least 1970 recorded during their rookie year.
In other words, he needs to average more than a touchdown per game if he wants to aim for the all-time wide receiver rookie record for touchdowns scored. He needs to find the end zone every week. He has two multiple-touchdown games so far, but he also has four games without a score.
Do I think he particularly cares about the record? No, I don’t. I think he just wants to win. And he’s done a nice job of that, as well. A Super Bowl ring would be the best souvenir you could ask for to remember your rookie season by.