NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund isn’t a believer in the young Pittsburgh Steelers receiver.
For the first time since 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to use a top 50 draft selection on a wide receiver this year. With pick No. 49 in last April’s NFL Draft, the Steelers added former Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool to their roster.
With some question marks behind JuJu Smith-Schuster on Pittsburgh’s receiving depth chart, there’s a chance Claypool could make a significant impact for the black and gold in 2020.
However, not everyone is a believer in the Steelers rookie making any sort of meaningful noise during the upcoming season.
NFL.com’s top rookie receiver projections fail to include the Pittsburgh Steelers new pass-catcher.
Recently, NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund revealed who she thinks will be the 10 most productive rookie receivers in 2020. Frelund is the analytics expert for NFL Network and to come up with this list she used, “contextualized data,” and, “computer-vision models.”
Of the 10 rookie pass-catchers who were included, four were drafted in the second round this year like Claypool. However, the Pittsburgh receiver was not a part of this list compiled by Frelund.
Instead, the 2020 second-round selections she included were Michael Pittman Jr., Denzel Mims, Laviska Shenault Jr., and Tee Higgins. Of this group, three of them will be playing with a quarterback who has less than three years of NFL experience.
For Claypool, he’ll be catching passes from a signal-caller in Ben Roethlisberger who has been in the league since 2004. The Steelers rookie receiver should have a bunch of opportunities to make plays in 2020.
Smith-Schuster will be the Roethlisberger’s No. 1 guy next season. But after him, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Claypool was able to emerge as the second receiver on Pittsburgh’s depth chart by the middle of the year.
If the Steelers’ rushing attack is unreliable like it was last season, it will likely result in additional passing attempts for Roethlisberger. With more passes comes more targets for Claypool and the rest of Pittsburgh’s receivers.
Some of Frelund’s selections for her list are understandable, like the six first-round picks she included. But it just seems extremely odd that guys who will be catching passes from quarterbacks like Gardner Minshew and Sam Darnold were picked before someone who gets to play with a future Hall-of-Fame like Claypool.