The Steelers will have another player in the wide receiver room this fall after drafting Notre Dame wide out Chase Claypool in the second round (No. 49 overall) in the NFL draft last week. It’s the second time in three years the Steelers have used a second-round pick on a wide receiver having selected former Oklahoma State star James Washington in 2018.
Washington has 60 catches for 952 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his two-year NFL career, but how will Claypool impact Washington’s playing time going forward Cowboys Ride For Free reached out to Jeff Hartman (@BnGBlitz) of SB Nation’s Steelers website, Behind The Steel Curtain, to learn more.
CRFF: Claypool adds some speed and size to the Steelers wide receiver group. How much will Claypool’s skillset change the type of routes Washington will run?
JH: Claypool’s skill set is similar to Washington’s, but not the same. Washington doesn’t have the size of Claypool, but the battle heading into 2020 will be between Claypool and Washington for the WR3 spot on the depth chart. Washington has experience, and had a very good 2019 season where he led the team in receiving yards, but Claypool has the look of a monster on the field. Will be a tough battle for all involved.
CRFF: Which areas and situations do you see Washington getting the majority of his catches and why?
JH: Washington has shown a unique ability to get open deep, but he showed off his ability to catch the tough pass over the middle last season, and his ability after the catch was something most fans overlooked. The biggest knock on Washington has been his inability to gel with Ben Roethlisberger. Washington’s best season came with Mason Rudolph/Devlin Hodges at QB. Will Washington be able to show his worth with No. 7 behind center is a big question.
CRFF: What are the expectations for Washington in 2020?
JH: I expect Washington be have an integral part of the 2020 offense. Washington, combined with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Claypool make a very good 4 WR set. He will fight for reps, but if he continues to improve, as he has for the first two years of his professional career, he will be making big plays again in 2020.