The 2021 season hasn’t been an overly great one for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, as the former second-round draft pick out of Note Dame certainly didn’t make the huge jump in his second season that many people hoped he would. Even so, Claypool needs just nine receptions and just 51 yards receiving on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens to top his rookie season numbers in those two statistical categories.
On Friday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was a guest on DVE Radio, and during his interview he was asked about Claypool and what he believes the young wide receiver needs to do moving forward in his career to become a more elite player.
“Yeah, Chase has all the tools,” Roethlisberger said of Claypool. “He really does. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong and I think when you burst on the scene in year-one, teams now know about you. So, it’s going to be a little trickier in year two. And listen, I don’t think that he’s had a bad year, I think that he’s learning and he’s growing. I mean, he’s going to continue to grow and take steps and I think that he’s going to be a really good football player for this team.”
That certainly is high praise for Claypool, who enters Week 18 with 54 receptions for 823 yards and one touchdown. He does have 13 receptions good for 20 yards or longer on the season and that’s just one fewer than he had in 2020. The most notable aspect when it comes to Claypool’s production in his second season is his touchdown amount. In 2020 he had 11 total touchdowns and this year he has only one. Claypool also hasn’t registered the same amount of drawn pass interference penalties in 2021 as he did in 2020, either.
Once again, Claypool has a shot on Sunday to top his 2020 numbers in catches and receiving yards. In short, it hasn’t been a disastrous season for him. That said, Claypool certainly didn’t seem to progress any as a player in 2021.
Sunday in Baltimore figures to be the last game of Roethlisberger’s NFL career, and thus probably the last time that Claypool gets a chance to catch a pass from the future Hall of Fame quarterback. With that, it will be interesting to see who the Steelers’ quarterback will be moving forward past the end of Roethlisberger’s career and what kind of rapport Claypool will be able to quickly develop with that player. Whoever that quarterback winds up being, Roethlisberger believes that Claypool has what it takes to ultimately become a much better player than he is right now.
“And I think that, like he has a chance to be one of the great receivers in this league,” Roethlisberger said of Claypool.