The Smartest Pick the Steelers Made in the 2020 NFL Draft

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert added an explosive athlete on offense with the team's second-round pick.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert added an explosive athlete on offense with the team's second-round pick. | Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a rocky 2019 season, finishing an impressive 8-8 despite injuries to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back James Conner, and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, but ultimately missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

However, even after trading a first-round pick early in the season to the Miami Dolphins for All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers added a quality player with their first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, adding the extremely athletic Chase Claypool to the receiving corps.

Claypool's combination of size and athleticism is rare. Even at 6-4 and 238 pounds, the wideout ran a 4.42 second 40-yard dash, a feat that only legendary Lions wideout Calvin Johnson had achieved in the past with such a body type, per NFL Research.

While Claypool's stats at Notre Dame were often underwhelming (only one 1,000-yard receiving season), his physical abilities should translate well to the NFL. His 40.5-inch vertical leap was one of the best in the wide receiver class, and should make him an attractive goal-line target for Ben Roethlisberger.

Claypool's combine numbers are somewhat reminiscent of Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf's from a year ago. While both players tested exceedingly well at the combine, questions about their lateral quickness and separation abilities caused them both to fall to the second round.

If Claypool can replicate Metcalf's success in his rookie season, the Steelers will be thrilled with their choice. The Seahawks wideout caught 58 balls for 900 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, in addition to posting a monster playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Claypool has the size and speed to do the same, and should pair well with Smith-Schuster, the team's top target.