The Steelers didn’t have a first-round pick in 2020, but they got a guy in round two who in other years quite possibly would have been taken in round one.
Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool remained on the board at No. 49, and the Steelers pounced.
“We’ve been watching Chase for two seasons because as a junior there was a chance that maybe he’d come out a year early and there was some talk about that,” Colbert recently told the #PFTPM podcast. “He decided to stay. We had, I believe, three reports on him as a junior. We had more reports this year. Same thing, he had improved. We had good grades going into the Senior Bowl. When we got down to the Senior Bowl and Coach Tomlin and I got up close on the practice field and watched his physicality and blocking drills, his physicality and special-teams drills, it really stood out.
“Plus he’s a 6’4”, 230-pound receiver that can get deep, and quite honestly we didn’t have that threat last year. We didn’t have that tall receiver that can just outrun coverage. We’ve always had that in the past with Nate Washington, Mike Wallace, or Martavis Bryant. Again, that was very attractive to us in the long term. In the short term we know Chase will be a special-teams contributor right out of the gate.”
The Steelers tried to make JuJu Smith-Schuster into a No. 1 receiver last year, but he struggled with stretching the field — a key attribute of being a true top option. So the Steelers need that presence, someone who can attract extra coverage and open the rest of the offense. Claypool eventually could be that guy.