Ranking Pittsburgh Steelers best options at outside receiver in 2021

JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

1.  Chase Claypool

Rarely do I praise second-year players as much as I have done with Chase Claypool, but he just has almost everything you could want in an outside receiver. Though many incorrectly predicted the former Notre Dame star would be a ‘move’ tight end or a heavy slot in the NFL due to his size (6’4”, 238 pounds) Claypool showed why he has the potential to be one of the better outside receivers in the NFL.

Claypool has an unusual combination of size and speed that most quarterbacks could only dream of. Despite Ben Roethlisberger’s inability to connect down the field with Claypool last season, he’s the only receiver on this list that didn’t allow his quarterback to throw an interception last year when targeted.

Like JuJu, Claypool isn’t overly impressive as a route runner at this stage in his NFL career, but he’s arguably even better after the catch thanks to his superior speed and overall athletic traits. In addition, Claypool is the fastest receiver on the team and the only one who is truly a threat to take the top off the defense. Yes, Chase Claypool could be a quality slot receiver because of his well-rounded skill set, but there’s no question in my mind that he is their most valuable receiver on the outside.

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It will be interesting to see where Pittsburgh’s young wide receivers will lineup in 2021. If it were up to me, JuJu Smith-Schuster would primarily be used as the team’s top slot option with a healthy dose of Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington on the outside this year.