We are living in a time of “if last year you told me…” with just about everything in the world right now. But most of those are negative and, understandably, somehow relating to the pandemic.
However, last year if you told me one of the heroes of the Steelers’ historic 2020 season thus far would have been a guy from Abbotsford, British Columbia, I would not have known who you were talking about. This season, the Steelers selected wide receiver Chase Claypool, aka “Mapletron” as their #1 overall pick. The rookie out of Notre Dame has not only complemented a very young and talented group of receivers, but he has stepped up as a leader.
Mapletron at the Draft
Standing at 6’4 and weighing just under 240 lbs., Claypool has the ideal physique of an NFL wide receiver. These are roughly the basic attributes I choose if I’m creating myself as a receiver in Madden.
Not only is he huge, but he’s also fast. His 40 yard dash time was better than guys who were drafted ahead of him, like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Reagor, Justin Jefferson, and Brandon Aiyuk. He also ranked in the top 10 in touchdowns during his senior season at Notre Dame. Matching his physique with his stats, drafting him as your #1 overall wide receiver seems like a no brainer. How did he fall this far in the draft?
Mapletron Meets the Steel City
It took just two games for Claypool to win the heart of Yinzers with an 84-yard touchdown in Week 2 against the Broncos. From that point on, he’s done nothing but dominate opposing teams. What put him on the radar of the entire league was his performance against the Eagles in Week 5. Claypool had 7 catches for 110 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a rushing touchdown to add to the mix as well. Fantasy owners scrambled to get him in their lineups as his connection with Ben Roethlisberger only seemed to be strengthening.
Since those two games, he has added 5 more touchdowns to his total and currently is 6th overall (non-QB) in total touchdowns. His emergence has allowed other Steelers receivers like Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster to thrive as well. Every week, each one of those guys could be a WR1 on another team, but they are given the opportunity on the Steelers because of Claypool’s emergence. It also helps to have your future Hall of Fame quarterback throwing an average of 38 times per game.
When JuJu & James Washington are the oldest wide receivers on the Steelers at 24 years old, you know the rest of the league will have a hard time dealing with these young guns for years to come. The Steelers hit the jackpot with Claypool at #49 in the draft. I don’t think he’ll suprass Randy Moss’ rookie WR stats, but he’s off to a fine start with Pittsburgh. As he grows and matures in this league, he will consistently find himself at the top of the NFL receiving leaderboards.
I think it’s time for Roots to reach out for a sponsorship opportunity.
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