CBS Sports unveiled their list of the 25 best players under the age of 25 on Thursday, and it included a pair of Pittsburgh Steelers playmakers.
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Chase Claypool both appeared in the rankings at No. 13 and 24, respectively.
Fitzpatrick has demonstrated a knack for generating takeaways since arriving in Pittsburgh in 2019, a trait which has solidified him as one of the best safeties in all of football.
“A handful of experts scoffed when the Steelers traded a first-rounder to land Fitzpatrick during the 2020 season, but since then, he’s done nothing but establish himself as maybe the game’s top ball hawk on the back end,” CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin writes. “Nine picks and 20 pass deflections in 30 games with Pittsburgh? When isn’t this guy around the ball? He’s an ideal center-field-style leader.”
A First-Team All-Pro selection each of the last two seasons, Fitzpatrick has recorded 79 total tackles and three fumble recoveries to go along with those nine interceptions. He has scored three defensive touchdowns.
As for Claypool, Benjamin has high expectations for what the 22-year-old can become in Pittsburgh given his elite combination of size and speed. Standing at an imposing 6-foot-4, 238 pounds, Claypool also ran a 4.42 40-yard dash.
“There are so many young wideouts to choose from, but Claypool brings so much to the table long term,” Benjamin writes. “He’s got size you can’t teach. He was an instant big-play weapon in Pittsburgh. And he’s got Steelers WR history on his side; no one drafts pass catchers like Steel City, and he’s already showcased the tools to be a future No. 1.”
Selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, Claypool caught 62 passes for 873 yards and and eleven total touchdowns. He paced the Steelers averaging 14.1 yards per reception.
Another Pittsburgh wideout, JuJu Smith-Schuster was considered, but was ultimately included in the “just missed” category.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took the top spot in the rankings, while Cincinnati Bengals passer Joe Burrow clocked in at No. 8. Bengals safety Jessie Bates III snagged the 16th spot in the list.