(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Chase Claypool had a remarkable rookie year campaign in 2020, as he finished the season with 62 receptions for 873 yards (14.1 average) and nine touchdowns. He had two rushing touchdowns as well.
Claypool tied Franco Harris (1972) and Louis Lipps (1984) for the most touchdowns in franchise history during a rookie season with 11. Claypool's 62 receptions on the season were also the most ever for a Steelers rookie and his nine receiving touchdowns last year were the most among all rookies.
As he heads into his second year, Claypool is hoping to build off of his impressive rookie season, and he believes he can top 11 total touchdowns in 2021.
"We've got an extra game. Hopefully a faster start on the touchdown category," Claypool said on Monday's Inside Training Camp Live. "So I'm going to say 14 touchdowns."
Claypool's 14 touchdown prediction is plausible being that he'll have Ben Roethlisberger throwing him passes for at least one more season. And, according to Claypool, despite the national media narrative, Roethlisberger's arm looks just fine.
"He looks great. He's putting the ball where it needs to be, and that's all you can ever ask for," Claypool said of Roethlisberger. "I've never really understood why people always question his arm strength. I don't think he's ever displayed in a game where his arm strength was an issue. His timing's so good, even if his arm strength wasn't where it was, his timing's so good, he could time it up to where he doesn't have to throw a bullet into a tight gap."
The Steelers promoted Matt Canada as the new offensive coordinator this offseason after they didn't renew Randy Fichtner's contract. With Canada now calling the shots, it's expected that the offense will feature a lot more pre-snap motions, jet sweeps, play-action and misdirections. Even though Claypool is learning a new offense, he says that he feels comfortable being that he already has a season under his belt.
"Year 2 is a little bit about learning the new offense," Claypool said, "but it's a lot more about building on your previous year, so the game slows down a little bit in a good way, and you can really dissect some of the things that are about to happen, and then you can look back on what just happened."
As the game slows down for Claypool, he should be even more lethal as a route-runner and pass-catcher. Coupled with having a creative offensive coordinator like Canada, 2021 could be a Pro Bowl year for the second-year wide receiver out of Notre Dame.