Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: WR Chase Claypool
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While he was relatively quiet until the second half, the Steelers’ second-year wide receiver made several key plays in their comeback win, both as a receiver and a runner, in addition to drawing a penalty.
According to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers try to teach second-year wide receiver Chase Claypool that he is capable of being unstoppable. He is 6’4”, about 240 pounds, and he runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, so that generally checks out, and there were times on Sunday where he looked something close to it.
Claypool had four plays in particular that stood out, including two really good catches that highlighted his concentration, adjustment ability, and pure hand skills, plucking the ball out of the air cleanly. He also picked up a 25-yard gain that he came close to putting into the end zone when given the ball on a reverse.
As he did often enough last season, as well, in addition to his other contributions, the vertical threat was able to draw a defensive pass interference penalty that picked up 26 yards on a deep pass on which the defender never had the opportunity to turn to the ball.
Aside from all that, he also happily contributed to the blocking aspects of his position. Claypool is a wide receiver who can affect the game in a number of different ways, and we can see his impact expand even further as the game goes on.
The Steelers’ offense was very shaky for most of Sunday’s game, not entirely in sync, in rhythm, sure of itself. As they better find their footing through experience, it will provide Claypool and others an even better foundation upon which to make a difference.