Steelers WR Chase Claypool is having a Martavis Bryant-like start to his NFL career

Chase Claypool #11 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Chase Claypool #11 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have found a diamond in the rough in a wide receiver, Chase Claypool. Here’s why he’s having a Martavis Bryant-like start to his career.

The Steelers have an impressive history when it comes to drafting the wide receiver position. Dating back to the days of head coach Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh hit on players like Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress, and Santonio Holmes.

Under the direction of Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert and the Steelers have been even better at drafting the position. Despite not spending a first-round pick on a wide receiver since Tomlin has been with the team in 2007, Pittsburgh managed to steal players like Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

One of those players the Steelers initially struck gold on was Martavis Bryant.

Bryant was an incredibly rare mold of receiver coming out of Clemson in 2014. At 6’4”, he had blazing speed to torch cornerbacks down the field as well as the ability to make combated catches outside the framework of his body. Bryant was also deceitfully elusive after the catch, and Pittsburgh had the ability to use him on reverses. In addition, his catch radius in the red zone made him a threat to opposing defenses.

Though Bryant didn’t see the field until Week 7 of his rookie season, his first career catch was a 35-yard touchdown reception against the Houston Texans. He followed up this showing with 5 catches, 83 yards, and 2 touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts in his second NFL game – a game in which Pittsburgh scored 51 points on offense.

Why Steelers found a new Martavis in Chase Claypool

Martavis Bryant would go on to catch 6 touchdown passes in the first four games on his NFL career. Sadly, we know how the rest of the story goes. Bryant was suspended multiple times for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and eventually, the Steelers would dump him to the Raiders for a third-round draft choice.

Before suspensions derailed his career, however, Bryant was a force to be reckoned with. Chase Claypool could now be that player for the Steelers.

Though we are just four games into Claypool’s NFL career, he has shown plenty of promise as to why he can be an X-factor for the team moving forward. At 6’4” and 238 pounds, Claypool has an incredibly rare combination of size and speed (4.42 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine). In addition to testing as an insane athlete, Claypool also possesses very good ball skills and a massive catch radius.

So far in his NFL career, Claypool has shown that there is very little he cannot do. The rookie wide receiver has been a threat deep down the field and along the sidelines with his speed and ability to go up and get the ball. He’s also been used as a possession receiver across the middle of the field and a gadget player on reverses.

Much like Byrant, Claypool has taken the world by storm in his first four games. Though he has only received 20 targets, Claypool has managed 261 receiving yards, 20.1 yards per reception, and 5 total touchdowns (4 receiving, 1 rushing). This start rivals the one Martavis had to begin his career.

What’s most impressive, however, is the single-game performance Claypool saw against the Eagles – going off for 7 receptions, 110 yards, and 4 total touchdowns.

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It’s unreasonable to think that Claypool will continue at this remarkable pace, but he certainly is showing us every reason why he could end up being Martavis Byrant 2.0 for this team. Claypool has a chance to be a superstar with continued growth and development.