Steelers WR coach’s bold claim on Chase Claypool’s potential
Will JuJu Smith-Schuster have some unexpected help on the other side of the ball in the receiving corps this season? He very well might if new wide receiver coach Ike Hilliard is to be believed. Speaking with The Athletic, Hilliard heaped great praise on Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Chase Claypool off of just his Zoom call with the second round pick.
“You can’t teach 6-4, 238, 4.41 time,” Hilliard said. “That’s something that doesn’t fall off of a tree.”
Hilliard spoke further on how it doesn’t matter where a player gets drafted — as long as they put in the work they can become a star player.
“Last year opened my eyes more than anything else,” Hilliard said. “When you put the time in, you put the work in, and you are put in position to make plays and you make them, it doesn’t matter where you were drafted. If Chase does what we expect him to do — and that’s make plays early and often — Chase is going to play a lot, he’s going to be really good. That’s what we expect from a lot of those guys. I learned that about Terry McLaurin last year. The world expected him to be a special teams player and he ended up being our No. 1 last year for the Washington Football Team. And we expect the same or more if not more from Chase.”
While with Washington last season, Hilliard helped in the development of McLaurin, who was drafted in the third round. McLaurin would rise to the top of the depth chart, accumulating 919 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Hilliard looks to do the same with Claypool, who comes onto a Steelers team that needs help with the receiving corp. The Steelers only accumulated 2,981 receiving yards, which was second-worst in the NFL behind only Washington. One thing that will help the Steelers this season will be having a healthy Ben Roethlisberger and Ju Ju Smith-Schuster to shore up the passing game. With those two healthy and Claypool looking to have a breakout rookie season, the Steelers could look to get back to their winning ways.