JuJu Smith-Schuster can see Canadian rookie receiver Chase Claypool having a giant 12 months with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh chosen the six-foot-four, 238-pound Claypool, a local of Abbotsford, B.C. within the second spherical, No. 49 general, on this 12 months’s NFL draft. Smith-Schuster, coming into his fourth 12 months with Pittsburgh as a receiver, stated it hasn’t taken the previous Notre Dame star lengthy to suit into the Steelers’ offensive scheme.

“He is extra of a deep menace, a man who can go down the sphere, run, and catch the deep balls,” Smith-Schuster stated not too long ago throughout a videoconference. “That is one thing we have been utilizing him as.

“He will match completely into our offensive scheme.”

Claypool was Notre Dame’s main receiver in 2019 with 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 TDs. He registered 150 profession receptions for two,159 yards and 19 touchdowns however actually raised eyebrows on the NFL mix when he posted a 40-yard sprint time of 4.42 seconds.

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Claypool joined former Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson as the one receivers measuring six foot 4 and 235 kilos or larger to run below 4.45 seconds on the mix.

As soon as the Steelers opened coaching camp, Claypool confirmed he can do extra than simply catch the soccer.

“One factor I did not know . . . apparently he was an all special-teams participant his sophomore 12 months at Notre Dame,” stated Smith-Schuster, who’s additionally serving as a spokesman this 12 months for DAZN, selling its protection of NFL video games in Canada. “That is one thing he brings to the desk taking part in for us and it is actually superior to see him ball out on offence and particular groups.

“He is a terrific child, he is superior. He is a child who’s keen to study, to be coached and he goes on the market and does what he is imagined to do. He does loads for our workforce.”

The largest distinction this season for Pittsburgh is the return of a wholesome Ben Roethlisberger. The 38-year-old quarterback missed most of final season with an elbow harm and the Steelers (8-8) didn’t make the NFL playoffs.

Pittsburgh was final general in red-zone TD manufacturing (35 per cent) final 12 months and the lone NFL workforce to not rating 30 or extra factors in a recreation.

“Man, Ben might be the perfect quarterback I’ve ever performed with,” Smith-Schuster stated. “He is a professional, he is a Corridor of Fame quarterback.

“He makes our job simpler, not only for the offensive aspect however the defence and all people else.”

New NFL season underway

The 2020 NFL season kicked off Thursday night time with the reigning Tremendous Bowl-champion Kansas Metropolis Chiefs defeating the Houston Texans 34-20. Pittsburgh opens its marketing campaign Monday night time on the street versus the New York Giants.

The NFL shall be one of many few soccer shops for Canadian followers because the COVID-19 pandemic has pressured each U Sports activities and the CFL to cancel their 2020 seasons. However some groups south of the border should take care of no followers within the stands, one thing Smith-Schuster stated may affect the Steelers, who’ve a powerful following.

“It is going to be very completely different,” he stated. “Our fanbase is so large that after we journey to play the [L.A.] Chargers, 90 per cent of the followers are Steelers followers and it is like a house recreation for us and now we have a bonus.

“This 12 months, although, it is mainly going to be even for many each workforce. It is undoubtedly going to be bizarre as a result of there isn’t any momentum change with the group noise and the joy. However on the finish of the day we’ll exit and play soccer.”

Smith-Schuster stated the absence of followers — or drastic reductions within the numbers allowed into some stadiums — will present advantages for these tuning in.

“For certain, you are going to hear numerous gamers speaking trash, their actual true colors [will show],” he stated with a chuckle. “However you might also hear numerous teaching occurring and particular person teamwork and all that stuff.”

Smith-Schuster is assured the NFL has applied ample measures to maintain gamers, coaches and assist staffs secure in 2020.

“We get examined day by day and it’s totally, very skilled,” he stated. “They [NFL] are simply doing it the correct approach.

“I really feel 100 per cent, there’s nothing holding me again. I simply cannot wait to begin taking part in.”

This 12 months, AFC groups will not need to take care of Tom Brady main the New England Patriots in direction of yet one more Tremendous Bowl. The veteran quarterback is now within the NFC with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith-Schuster sees each Kansas Metropolis and the Baltimore Ravens (who posted an AFC-leading 14-2 document final 12 months) being sturdy throughout the convention once more in 2020. However he cautions individuals in opposition to wanting previous Pittsburgh.

“We’re on the rise, man,” he stated. “We’re simply staying humble, staying low and when it is our time to make strikes we’ll.”

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