Get To Know Pittsburgh’s Canadian Gem, Chase Claypool
Updated: Feb 9
(Photo by Karl Roser)
Robert Stewart // Staff Writer // @drstew32
Six weeks into the 2020 National Football League season, the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to have struck gold with their second-round draft choice, wide receiver Chase Claypool of Abbotsford, British Columbia.
The Steelers’ receiving corps has been banged up this year, with top dog JuJu Smith-Schuster and second-year Diontae Johnson headlining both injury reports since Pittsburgh’s Week 4 bye. Johnson has been held out of both contests, but the 5-0 Steelers have hardly missed him.
Claypool has gone above and beyond filling in for the ailing veterans, posting a monster four-touchdown performance Week 5 against Philadelphia, and an admirable 81-yard outing with a score against Cleveland last week.
After establishing a name for himself just a handful of weeks into his rookie campaign, let’s dive into Claypool’s dazzling history on the gridiron.
At Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, about 44 miles east of Vancouver, Claypool “held the following school records: career and single-season TDs, career and single-season receiving yards, career and single-season receptions, single-season tackles, career and single-season interceptions and longest receiving TD,” according to his profile on the Notre Dame Athletics webpage.
He received 12 offers from FBS programs, including four from Pac-12 schools, three in the Big Ten and Notre Dame, where he ended up signing.
As a pass catcher for the Fighting Irish, Claypool set personal bests in each of his four seasons. After a relatively uninvolved freshman season with just eight games and five catches, he caught 29 balls for more than 400 yards and a pair of scores during the 2017 campaign. These numbers were good for second among Notre Dame receivers.
In 2018, when the Irish made the College Football Playoff, he played in all 13 games and reached the 50-reception plateau with 639 yards and four touchdowns, once again good for second-best on the team.
Claypool broke out as a senior, starting every game and averaging over five grabs per contest. He went for more than 1,000 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, four of which came in one game against Navy. He earned Camping World Bowl MVP honors with a seven-catch, 146-yard, one-touchdown day against Iowa State.
Claypool made headlines at the 2020 NFL Combine, when he ran a 4.42 40-yard dash. As a 6’4”, 238-pounder, this put him in some pretty exclusive company.
Despite the feat and a strong senior campaign at Notre Dame, Claypool was not among the first 10 wide receivers selected in the 2020 Draft. Pittsburgh took him 49th overall, making him the highest-drafted Canadian player since 2011.
He debuted Week 1 with a couple of receptions against the Giants, but he only needed one more game to show his superstar potential. When the Broncos came to the Steel City, Claypool burned their defense for an 84-yard touchdown, which is the longest pass play to date this season.
Since then, he has seen his snap count skyrocket, and with more than 60 fantasy points over the last couple weeks, he has become a legitimate option for managers. In the last two games alone, Claypool has been on the receiving end of nearly 27% of Ben Roethlisberger’s completions.
He has scored the 15th-most fantasy points among wide receivers this year, and after his recent flashes of brilliance, the Steelers have no reason to bottle him up even if Diontae Johnson gets healthy.
If you happen to be in one of the few leagues that Chase Claypool is unrostered, you will need to add him. He is trending in the right direction, and he has already observed a bye week. He is in for a juicy matchup with the Titans this week, who have allowed three 100-plus-yard receiving performances in as many games.