The Steelers went to the offensive side of the ball for their second round pick, their first of the draft, and selected Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool with the 49th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Claypool had 66 receptions for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season while playing in 13 games. He finished his Notre Dame career with 150 receptions, seventh in Notre Dame history.
"I am very excited about this opportunity to work with him," said offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. "He is one of those rare types of a combination of size and speed. His production this past season was off the charts. He finds ways to average a touchdown in every game he plays. He is a point scorer.
"There is no job too small. He will block. He volunteers for special teams. This guy is a football player. He has a lot of unique traits for the position. A lot of things to be really excited about. Gives you a potential red zone threat. He is an outside position player first and gives you the option of playing in the slot as well.
"He wins an awful lot of one-on-ones. I have never seen him not win a one-on-one type play."
That combination of size and speed, with Claypool being a big-body receiver at 6-4, 238 pounds and running a 4.42 at the Combine, gives the Steelers a nice weapon in the passing game.
"I think that is something a lot of teams talked about with me, the combination of size and speed," said Claypool. "It allows offenses to do a lot of different things. I am excited to bring that to the table. I think there are a lot of things I can do. We will have to see how it plays out."
Claypool said part of the reason for his breakout season in 2019 was gaining confidence, something you can never underestimate.
"A big part of that was confidence," said Claypool. "Being in the situation and knowing you can make the play helps you do it again and again. That came with hard work and practice. And once I got that confidence it was something that really helped. That was pretty big and also just putting in extra work before and after practice."
Claypool, who is from British Columbia, is the first Canadian player who ever played for Notre Dame.
The Steelers took a wide receiver in the second round in both 2017 with JuJu Smith-Schuster and 2018 with James Washington. They selected receiver Diontae Johnson in the third round in 2019.
HEARING FROM HIS TEAMMATES: It didn't take long for Claypool to hear from his teammates, and his new quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was the first one to reach out.
"Ben Roethlisberger called me right after I got off the phone with the Steelers," said Claypool. "He introduced himself and congratulated me. And then JuJu [Smith-Schuster] texted me. They have been really good so far reaching out and making it pretty special."
FUN FACT: Claypool caught the attention of Notre Dame after putting his high school highlights on Facebook and it caught some attention.
"It was just something I wanted to do," said Claypool. "It wasn't for recruiting purposes. I went to a bunch of different camps. I went to Notre Dame's camp that summer and it led me there in a roundabout way."
6-4 3/8, 238
Abbotsford, British Columbia
Abbotsford High School
2nd Round – 49th Overall
Led the team with 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns while playing in all 13 games … left Notre Dame seventh in career receptions with 150 ... 13 TD receptions were the sixth most in a season by an Irish player ... earned the game ball with four TD receptions in the win over Navy ... named Camping World Bowl MVP after making seven catches for 146 yards and a score in win against Iowa State.
Played in all 13 games, starting 12 of those contests … finished the season second on the team with 639 receiving yards on 50 receptions and four TDs ... made TD grabs in consecutive games against Wake Forest and No. 7 Stanford ... had a season-best eight catches for 130 yards at Northwestern ... made six grabs for 98 yards and a TD win win over No. 12 Syracuse.
Take a look at photos of Pittsburgh Steelers 2nd round pick, WR, Chase Claypool
Saw action in 12 games and started eight contests ... ranked second on the Irish in both receptions (29) and receiving yards (402) ... caught nine passes for 180 yards, including a career-long 44-yard grab, and a TD vs. Wake Forest (Nov. 4) ... registered four receptions of at least 20 yards … hauled in a seven-yard TD grab vs. Miami, Ohio (Sept.30).
*2016 SEASON *
Became the eighth player from Canada to appear in varsity action for Notre Dame ... played in all 12 games … one of 10 true freshmen who played in at least eight games … one of seven true freshmen (Troy Pride Jr., Devin Studstill, Donte Vaughn, Jalen Elliott, Daelin Hayes and Julian Love) to register at least 11 tackles … led the Irish in special teams tackles with 11 and punt-return tackles with eight … registered eight of Notre Dame's 19 tackles on punt coverage … recorded six receptions for 81 yards, good for an average of 13.5 yards per reception … amassed 90 all-purpose yards, including a career-best 33 against Michigan State (Sept. 17) … had one catch for 33 yards against the Spartans … registered a nine-yard rush in the win vs. Nevada (Sept. 10).
One of the top players ever to come out of British Columbia and an elite wide receiver prospect ... helped Abbotsford reach the 2015 British Columbia High School Football AA Championship game (first such berth since 1984) ... in 2015, versatile athlete caught 58 passes for 1,473 yards and 18 TDs; rushed for 567 yards and eight TDs on 47 carries; completed six of eight passes for 103 yards and three TDs; added 74 tackles, including two sacks, two fumble recoveries and five interceptions; returned four punts for 195 yards (two TDs) and seven kickoffs for 176 yards (one TD) ... held the following school records: career and single-season TDs, career and single-season receiving yards, career and single-season receptions, single-season tackles, career and single-season interceptions and longest receiving TD ... one of three finalists for the Sports BC 50th annual Athlete of the Year ... selected to participate in Nike's 2015 "The Opening" in Beaverton, Oregon and the 2016 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida … No. 280-ranked player nationally and No. 12-ranked tight end on Scout.com 300 list ... No. 159-ranked player in the nation and No. 12-ranked wide receiver on ESPN 300 list … No. 170-ranked player in the nation and No. 33-ranked wide receiver on 247Sports.com Top 247 … No. 109-ranked player in the nation and No. 22-ranked wide receiver on Rivals.com 250 list … No. 262-ranked player on the Tom Lemming Prep Football Report … played for head coach Jay Fujimura at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School.