The Steelers managed to get some incredible production out of their rookies despite the lack of first-round pick this year.
When the Steelers traded a future first-round draft choice to acquire Dolphins safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick, many fans were very skeptical of this decision. At the time, Minkah clearly wasn’t playing like the All-Pro safety he would later become, and that seemed like a lot of draft capital to give up for a player who hadn’t yet proved anything in the NFL.
However, Kevin Colbert proved once again that he knew better than we did. Fitzpatrick obviously turned out to be a terrific steal at the cost of what equated to a mid-first-round draft choice, and he had yet another very good season in 2020. However, it appears the Steelers are even bigger winners of this trade now.
Pittsburgh showed that they didn’t need to have a first-round pick in order to have a thoroughly impressive draft. While nobody was exactly in awe of the Steelers selections back in April, it now appears that they have some of the biggest steals of the 2020 NFL Draft – particularly when it comes to three players. Here’s how these three guys overcame the lack of a first-round pick for the Steelers this year:
WR Chase Claypool
Looking back at it now, it’s almost impossible to believe that a whopping 10 receivers were drafted before Notre Dame star, Chase Claypool. Despite having a thoroughly impressive skillset to go with eye-popping measurables and very good production, somehow the 6’4” speedster didn’t come off the board until the 49th pick in the draft.
Claypool was so impressive, in fact, that he led all Steelers receivers in touchdowns, yards per reception, and yards per target. In addition, he led all Pittsburgh offensive players with an overall grade of 75.6 on the season, according to Pro Football Focus. Claypool had one of the best rookie seasons we had ever seen from a Steelers receiver, and there’s no doubt in my mind he would be a top 20 pick if this class was re-drafted right now.