Being selected by the Steelers, however, surprised Claypool, who said he hadn’t had much interaction with Pittsburgh before the draft.
“It was very cool, very unexpected,” Claypool told TSN’s Farhan Lalji shortly after being drafted. “The Steelers were a team I didn’t talk to much during the whole process, so it definitely caught me off guard but definitely a surreal moment. “
In the Steelers, Claypool joins one of the most legendary franchises in the NFL. The organization’s six Super Bowl championships are tied for the most part in the league, and the current team is led by the probable future Hall of Fame quarterback. Ben roethlisberger, who has been the Steelers starter since 2004, and head coach Mike Tomlin, who has been on the team since 2007 and helped guide them to a Super Bowl victory in 2008.
“They were very welcoming, which is super cool to see my future teammates right away, right off the bat,” said Claypool of the welcome he received from the Steelers. “It’s super reassuring, super comforting and I’m even more excited to join the team. “
Before the repechage, there was a lot of buzz over the teams who might want to hide the six foot four inch 238 pound Claypool at the close end. He apparently calmed down these discussions by running a 4.4-meter 40-meter dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Maybe in Claypool, the Steelers may have found a running mate for another catcher JuJu Smith-Schuster, something the team has been missing since its sudden break with Antonio brown.
“I think I am adjusting very well,” said Claypool of his compatibility with the Steelers. “I’m now looking deeper into their offense and seeing how they work, and the more I see, the more I like and think they see the same thing.
“They see me exactly the way I see myself, so I think it’s super cool. Whether it’s the tight side or the receiver, I was open but at least playing the receiver, I have nothing to learn new. “
Being written as high as Claypool by the Steelers is not something many people would have predicted a year ago. Prior to his 2019 campaign with Notre Dame, where he broke with 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns, Claypool’s previous season’s best total was 637 yards and four touchdowns.
Claypool said it was not lost to him to know how far he was.
“I think you see all of the great players who have gone through so many different journeys and just want to think about yourself and see how unique your own journey is.” So it’s pretty cool to take that into perspective and sort of see this growth in such a short time. “
Claypool says reaching the NFL also brings a bit of closure to his life after losing his older sister Ashley to suicide in 2011.
“I think this mission is sort of over and a new journey begins, of course, but I finally think I can say that I know 100% that [my sister] is really proud. “
Regarding next steps, most recent member of Steelers says he will stay in Canada for the next few weeks before hoping to head to Steelers if they reopen after being forced to close due of the COVID-19 pandemic. Otherwise, Claypool says he will be going to California soon to train.