Claypool Should Think He's A Top Receiver...Until Contract Time

(USA Today)

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Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver, Chase Claypool, was on the I Am Athlete podcast recently.  While on, he said, "I know I'm a Top-3 receiver."  Based on the context, it was interpreted that Claypool was saying he was a Top 3 wide receiver in the entire NFL.  This quote received a ton of media and fan attention. 
Most were quick to point out that Claypool is, in fact, not a Top 3 wide receiver in the NFL.  The statistics show it clearly that he is not.  There are also plenty of talent evaluators that would also point out that Claypool does not have the skill, beyond the numbers, to be deemed a top wide receiver.  Plain and simple, he isn't.  He may even be the just the third best on his own team.

However, as a Steeler fan, I want Claypool to feel this way.  And so should you.  I've never seen a top athlete that did not exude confidence.  Arrogance is not such a bad trait if it translates to success on the field.  Look at Terrell Owens, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, and Deion Sanders.  Sure, these guys come off as arrogant to some, but the results speak for themselves.  One of the best baseball players of all-time, Rickey Henderson, was known for his arrogance.

To become truly great in any professional sport you must first believe you are the best and have the ability to achieve it.  This attitude, in my opinion, is much preferred to players having a lack of confidence in themselves.  You see it with players who are afraid to go over the middle or quarterbacks who check down too often.  Arrogance is preferred to a lack of confidence.

The one thing I'm worried about is the increase of players, especially wide receivers, holding out for more money.  Pittsburgh Steeler fans first experienced this with running back Le'Veon Bell.  Neither party won in that case as the Steelers went a full season without their star running back and Bell was never the same after sitting out a year.  

The Seattle Seahawks are currently going through this with DK Metcalf.  The Kansas City Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill and the Green Bay Packers traded Davante Adams because receivers nowadays are demanding top dollar.  It is a great time to be a top wide receiver in the NFL.

However, this is when Chase Claypool's confidence in himself needs to be tampered.  While guys like Metcalf, Hill, Adams, and even teammate Diontae Johnson, should get top dollar for the numbers they've turned in the past couple of seasons, Claypool most certainly should not.  

To reach Chase Claypool in any receiving stats list, you need to click "Next Page" quite a few times.  He finds himself in some categories among backup running backs playing only on passing downs.  He had just 59 receptions, 860 receiving yards, and two touchdowns last season.  

Claypool also continues to have costly drops while making bonehead plays.  The famous one came against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football in front of a primetime audience.  Instead of rushing back to the line of scrimmage while the clock was running out, Claypool took a knee for a first down pose, wasting crucial time.  The Steelers failed to complete the comeback and a lot of the blame was placed on Claypool.

So sure, I want my teams' players to have confidence.  I don't even mind when the great ones border on arrogance.  But when it comes to contract time, Claypool needs to check that arrogance at the door.  

If he wants to hold out, let him.  If he want to leave for more money, let him do that too.  Claypool is not the guy that the Steelers should be emptying the pocket books for whether he thinks he's a top wide receiver or not.  And if he learned anything from Bell, he'd be best suited to take an average receiver's pay instead of a "top" receiver's pay.