Chase Claypool has high expectations for this third season of the NFL.
How big? The Steelers wideout is forecasting 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022, on the heels of a season that saw him 59 catches for 860 yards and a couple of scores.
“I will say that in my second year, I was a better player than I was in my first year,” Claypool said on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast this week. “The pieces just didn’t work out, right? Some of the pieces just didn’t go my way. I haven’t made some plays that I need to make. But as a football player, understanding the game, knowing what to do, knowing where to be, I was better. So I’m going to be better this year.
“And like you said, understanding that I’m not normal – I feel that way when I’m on the field. I know for a fact that I’m not like the rest of the NFL guys. I know I’m one of the top five receivers. I know I am one of the top three receivers.”
That should come as a relief to whoever ends up snapping first-team photos in Pittsburgh this season. Ben Roethlisberger has retired, leaving a three-man competition to see who will replace him at center.
Mitchell Trubisky looks to be the favorite to guide the offense this season, although the team is giving first-round pick Kenny Pickett and longtime Big Ben backup Mason Rudolph a chance to be the top QB.
Having Claypool, currently No. 2 on the Steelers’ receiving depth chart, behind Diontae Johnson – with rookie George Pickens threatening to steal some attention – should ease the burden on whoever the new upper arm is.
If Claypool’s grand predictions come true, it’s sure to be a boon for his new quarterback – and the 23-year-old is certainly working to make that happen.
“When I’m working, I’m like, ‘I’m a dog.’ I’m going to chase people who are lining up in front of me too,” Claypool said. “And I have to bring that confidence and I have to bring that spirit and I have to show people. And it will happen. And we’re going to rewind that and we’re going to see this clip in a little while and they’re going to be like, ‘Damn, he was right.’”