Connect with us

Steelers

Chase Claypool is Having an Elite Season; But is He the Best Rookie WR in the NFL?

Published

on

If you’re to believe ESPN’s list of the best rookies in the NFL, Steelers 2nd round selection Chase Claypool isn’t one of them. He’s not in their top 10, nor was he one of their four just missed picks. Where’s Claypool? All the way down in the “also receiving votes” list along with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Julian Blackmon, CeeDee Lamb and Damien Lewis. That makes him between the 15th and 19th best rookie in the NFL this season. Which, all things considered, isn’t bad for the 49th overall selection.

Claypool would have to have a monster year to beat out Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, and receivers rarely win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, especially compared to quarterbacks and running backs. Since 2000, Anquan Boldin, Percy Harvin and Odell Beckham Jr. are the only wideouts to win it.

So where does Claypool rank on the season? Here’s ESPN’s entire list of top rookies.

  1. QB Justin Herbert
  2. QB Joe Burrow
  3. WR Justin Jefferson
  4. OT Tristan Wirfs
  5. DE Chase Young
  6. RB James Robinson
  7. WR Tee Higgins
  8. RB Antonio Gibson
  9. OT Mekhi Becton
  10. S Antoine Winfield Jr.

Just missed: T Jedrick Wills Jr., OL Mike Onwenu, CB Jaylon Johnson, S Jeremy Chinn

If you take out the defense and non-skill offensive players, Claypool would fall behind only Herbert and Burrow, Justin Jefferson, James Robinson, Tee Higgins and Antonio Gibson and on the same level as CeeDee Lamb. At worst ESPN is saying he’s the 4th best rookie receiver in the league.

So is he? Here’s Claypool’s numbers compared with his WR peers.

Chase Claypool – 35 receptions on 57 targets / 500 yards / 14.3 yards per reception / 9 tds / 28 total 1st downs / 129.4 QBR when targeted
Justin Jefferson – 42 receptions on 54 targets / 752 yards / 18.1 yards per reception / 3 tds / 29 1st downs / 106.4 QBR when targeted
Tee Higgins – 40 receptions on 61 targets / 603 yards / 15.1 yards per reception / 4 tds / 32 1st downs / 119.8 QBR when targeted
CeeDee Lamb – 44 receptions on 68 targets / 595 yards / 13.5 yards per reception / 3 tds / 29 1st downs / 101.0 QBR when targeted

The 11th receiver taken in the NFL draft, Claypool falls behind the competition based on receptions and yards, but dwarfs them in touchdowns (seven receiving plus two on the ground) and QBR when targeted. Based on those numbers, it’s pretty much a draw. What’s undoubtedly hurting Claypool is his perceived value to the offense. Claypool started out the season behind Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster on the depth chart and has only played in 64% of the team’s offensive snaps on the season, well behind Jefferson (74%) and Higgins (70%). Although Claypool has seen those numbers increase as the season has progressed.

While Claypool’s overall numbers are impressive, he’s still 3rd on the team in receptions, second in receiving yards and 2nd in total yards from scrimmage. On such a balanced offense, it’s harder to stand out.

Higgins has turned himself into the Bengals’ de facto number two receiver behind Tyler Boyd and is 2nd on the team in receptions, yards and tied for first with four touchdowns. Is Higgins having a better season than Claypool? That’s definitely up for debate.

Lamb started the season off hot, but without a real starting quarterback in Dallas, he’s seen his numbers slump in recent weeks. It would be a surprise if he ended up with better numbers than Claypool when it’s all said and done.

Then there’s Jefferson. Playing on a Minnesota team that lost Stefon Diggs, he has more receiving yards as the team’s 2nd and 3rd leading receiving combined (762 for Jefferson, 761 for Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph) as well as a gaudy 18.1 yards per reception, which is 4th in the NFL. Jefferson also has four games with over 100 yards receiving , is 7th in the entire NFL in yards and is 8th in the league in YAC amongst receivers. It would be hard to argue that Jefferson hasn’t been the best rookie receiver in the league this year.

So Claypool is at worst the 4th best receiver and is possibly the current runner-up behind Justin Jefferson. Despite being the 11th receiver off the board and drafted to a team loaded with offensive talent, Claypool has risen to (near) the top of the rookie rankings just nine weeks into the season. Pretty good for a player that some thought was more of a project (or a tight end) than a polished NFL-ready receiver.

Poll

Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

Published

on

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

Do you still believe in Zach Banner?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Continue Reading

Steelers

Zach Banner Announces Self-imposed Social Media Ban Until he Signs New Deal

Published

on

Zach Banner is sending a clear message about his priorities ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Banner, who is a free agent and looking for a new deal with the Steelers, tweeted that he is going to stay off social media until he officially signs on the dotted line.

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault. He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. Banner now hopes to return to Pittsburgh and be the missing piece the Steelers offensive line desperately needs.

Continue Reading

Steelers

Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp

Published

on

There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.

“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.

Continue Reading

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe and get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Moon Golf Club

Copyright © 2020 Pittsburgh Sports Now / Steelers Now. In no way affiliated with or endorsed by the Pittsburgh Steelers or NFL.

Steelers Now in your Inbox

Sign up and get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox!

Thank you!

Oops!

Send this to a friend