The Pittsburgh Steelers have several candidates who could emerge as the top receiving option for the team. Here’s why fans believe it will be Chase Claypool.
I know what you’re thinking: Chase Claypool has had one amazing game so far. It’s time to pump the brakes a bit. Though you may not be wrong, Steelers fans are pleasantly optimistic about the upside he brings to the table moving forward.
I recently posted a poll asking fans who they believe will emerge as the Steelers number one receiver in by the 2021 season. They wasted no time casting their vote for the rookie speedster, Chase Claypool:
Which receiver will be #Steelers WR1 in 2021?
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) October 12, 2020
Though the sample size of voters was relatively small, 58.6 percent of fans believe that Claypool will be the future WR1 in Pittsburgh.
Typically, I would find this as a bit of a stretch for a second-round rookie who recently finished just his 4th career NFL game, but Claypool clearly has some special qualities. In addition to being a 6’4”, 238-pound field stretcher, the former Norte Dame product has the ability to win at every level of the football field.
This was on display against the Eagles in Week 5 as Claypool made plays on a number of different routes at each level of the field. Much like former Steelers receiver, Martavis Bryant, Claypool has can do anything from bodying up cornerbacks in the red zone to taking a simple slant for a 30-yard score and everything in between. He even excels on reverses in the running game.
Is it too early to declare Claypool as a future WR1 for the Steelers?
While Claypool has been thoroughly impressive in the early going, it’s a bit premature to declare him Pittsburgh’s number one receiver for next year.
It’s true that we don’t know where JuJu Smith-Schuster will be at this time next year, and unless the salary cap miraculously increases next season amidst the pandemic, it’s very unlikely the Steelers are able to retain his services beyond this season. However, even if they do, there’s no guarantee that JuJu would be the go-to guy in Pittsburgh (he hasn’t even been this year).
Diontae Johnson is another legitimate candidate that could potentially take over this role. Despite leaving the game early in the first quarter in each of his past two contests against the Texans and Eagles, Johnson still leads the team in targets, and Ben Roethlisberger really seems to like throwing his direction (23 targets over his first two full games).
Johnson is a slippery receiver who does the work for you after the catch. Based on what we’ve seen, there’s a solid chance he could lead the team in targets in 2021.
While we don’t know how this situation will play out, we do know that Pittsburgh has three potential candidates for this role as of now. Chase Claypool may be very early into his professional football career, but he is certainly starting to look the part of a future WR1 in the NFL. We will find out soon enough if he will be that guy for the Steelers.