• Matt Oehl

Following the Rookies: AFC North Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been the best team in the NFL through 10 weeks. In the 2020 NFL Draft, they did not have a 1st round pick since they traded it to the Miami Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick which has been a fantastic move so far. So with their 2nd round pick, they rook wide receiver Chase Claypool who I did not like coming out of college. He has done everything to prove my doubts wrong.

Through 9 games played he has started in 2 of them, making 35 receptions on 57 targets for 500 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has also taken 9 rushes for 22 yards and 2 touchdowns. My issue with him coming out of college was that I didn't see him create a lot of separation and I thought he was going to end up like a faster N'keal Harry who can make contested catches and win on deep routes due to his speed. Claypool's fit in the Steelers offense is perfect as they don't have a true number 1 receiver but instead have 3-4 receivers who can all take a big workload depending on the game plan. Between JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dionte Johnson, James Washington, and Chase Claypool, on top of a solid running game led by James Connor they have become the most balanced team in the NFL. I do believe that much of Claypool's success is due to scheme, but on the other hand, he has shown an improved ability to create separation, and a very good ability to beat defenders deep. He has always had good hands and is very good after the catch to create plays. I'm still not completely sold on Claypool as a player but he is definitely playing better than I would've ever expected.

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