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: Even
Reasoning: The second-year wide receiver has battled some minor health issues this season, but has struggled to come up with consistent performances and live up to his draft pedigree.
It’s hard at times to get a read on Chase Claypool and exactly the kind of player he is. He’s put up over 80 yards in each of the last two games, and he’s done that largely through explosive plays, with five receptions in one game and three in the other. But he’s only caught eight out of 17 targets—under 50 percent. Even for a pure deep ball threat, which he’s not, that’s not good.
That’s why I find it hard to have him trending up or down. He’s pretty much been consistent in his consistency, making plays here and there, while equally failing to come up with them in other instances. While he does have a few drops this year, including one last week, it’s not as though he’s constantly putting the ball down. Rather, it’s more about finishing plays, either in contested circumstances or with body positioning and adjustments.
Claypool is capable of making some really fine catches. He’s not like Eric Ebron or anything where it’s offset by too many easy drops, but there are enough plays you’d like to see him make given his size and purported speed that frustrate you when he doesn’t come down with them, and allows a defender to break it up.
That and the fact that he doesn’t get enough separation with regularity to actually have more opportunities that aren’t contested. He may have timed well in the 40, but he rarely plays to his timed speed.
And he’s not the scoring threat he was last year. In fact, he has just one single touchdown all season, even if he has put up over 600 receiving yards on 37 receptions. He does have three receptions of 40-plus yards, and 10 explosive-play receptions overall. But frankly, he should have twice that by now when his average depth of target, across 69 targets, is 12.6.