Pittsburgh Steelers’ Chase Claypool believes he’s a ‘top-three receiver’ in the NFL

Photo: AP/Ron Schwane

Canadian receiver Chase Claypool has always had a high level of self-confidence and that clearly hasn’t changed heading into his third NFL season.

“I know I’m a top-five receiver, I know I’m a top-three receiver,” Claypool told the I AM ATHLETE Podcast. “I’m gonna dog people lining up across from me and I’ve just gotta bring that confidence and I’ve gotta bring that spirit and I’ve just gotta show the people. It’s going to happen and we’re going to rewind this and we’re gonna see this clip in a little bit and they’re gonna be like, ‘Damn, he was right.'”

Claypool indicated that he’s expecting to reach 1,300 receiving yards this year, which would far surpass what he produced in either of his two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He made 62 catches for 873 yards as a rookie in 2020 before making 59 receptions this past year for 860 yards.

The native of Abbotsford, B.C. scored 11 touchdowns as a rookie — nine through the air and two on the ground — including a four-touchdown performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5. He scored only two touchdowns this past season, though he believes he was actually a better player in 2021.

“You take every year as a learning experience. My second year, I was a better football player than I was my first year. The plays just didn’t work out — some of the plays didn’t go my way, I didn’t make some plays 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,” said Claypool.

The Steelers finished second in the AFC North with a 9-7-1 record in 2021, though they were eliminated in the first round of the postseason following a 42-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Claypool denied that the team is rebuilding following the retirement of longtime franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Former first-round draft pick Mitch Trubisky signed a two-year contract worth a little over $14 million in free agency, while University of Pittsburgh product Kenny Pickett was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. It remains unclear who the day-one starter will be under centre but Claypool appears to have confidence in both.

“We got a quarterback. We got the pieces for that quarterback. We got receivers. We got the defence, so I think we’re winning 13 (games),” said Claypool.

The Notre Dame product showcases his personality on social media and indicated that his online following has helped him attract key endorsement deals. His most prominent account is on TikTok where he has 1.8 million followers, though he has produced less content over the past year as a result of criticism from the media.

“In the locker room we were having fun, we were having a good time,” said Claypool. “Everyone was hopping in the TikToks and people started making their own accounts. It wasn’t a distraction, but the media will tell you it was.”

The Steelers are set to open the 2022 NFL regular season visiting the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, September 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET.