By any measure, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool had a very successful rookie season in 2020, catching 62 passes on the season for 873 yards and 11 total touchdowns, including nine receiving touchdowns. He added another two receiving touchdowns in the team’s lone playoff game on five catches for 59 yards.
Now, of course, he is in offseason mode, along with the members of 29 other teams, sitting around preparing to watch the final game of the 2020 season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ‘host’ the Kansas City Chiefs for the neutral-site Super Bowl festivities—in Tampa.
Pittsburgh is a long way off from Tampa, though it has been good to them in the past. The Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII in that stadium back in 2008, long before Claypool had professional football aspirations—in fact, it’s more likely he was playing hockey.
The Canadian native would eventually connect with Notre Dame for a college scholarship, and parlayed that into an NFL career, which as we have noted, began promisingly with his 2020 campaign. But he has his sights set much higher for himself, as he recently told Complex.
“I just think it’s going to be a big improvement from the previous year and making an impact as hopefully a top receiver in the NFL”, he told the outlet during an interview with Liam Fox. “Showing the maturity and the growth that has come following year one”.
There were many remarkable things about his rookie year, including his become the fourth rookie in NFL history to score 10 touchdowns in his first 10 career games. He set or tied multiple Steelers rookie records for receptions, receiving touchdowns, and scrimmage touchdowns.
But there is still plenty of untapped potential for the big-bodied receiver, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in the ballpark of about 234 pounds, which as far as I know was his weight the last time that he stated it on-record, after he was drafted.
One area in which he can improve is in finishing plays down the field with greater frequency. He had a couple of drops on deep passes, but also other plays where he could have made the catch even though it would have been difficult.
He was a second-round pick because he is known to a combat catcher, making difficult plays in traffic. He needs to do a better job of using his body to win the catch point, and then finishing when he does. I’m sure the coaches will find numerous other ways in which he can take his game to the next level, as he looks to become one of the next great young wideouts in the NFL, and perhaps the greatest Canadian athlete in the NFL.