Former Abbotsford Panthers star Chase Claypool has been drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. (NFL Twitter photo)

Abbotsford’s Claypool drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers

Former Panther selected selected in round two, 49th overall by the black and yellow

Chase Claypool is officially a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The storied franchise chose the former Abbotsford Panthers star in the second round, 49th overall.

Claypool celebrated the announcement with his family at their home and was identified as the “pride of Abbotsford” by the broadcasters.

Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner told the Steelers website that he’s looking forward to having Claypool on his roster.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to work with him,” he said. “He is one of those rare types of a combination of size and speed. His production this past season was off the charts. He finds ways to average a touchdown in every game he plays. He is a point scorer.

“There is no job too small. He will block. He volunteers for special teams. This guy is a football player. He has a lot of unique traits for the position. A lot of things to be really excited about. Gives you a potential red zone threat. He is an outside position player first and gives you the option of playing in the slot as well.

“He wins an awful lot of one-on-ones. I have never seen him not win a one-on-one type play.”

His former head coach at Notre Dame Brian Kelly stated on Twitter that Pittsburgh is getting a steal with the talented wide reciever.

“He is going to make an immediate impact on offense and special teams and will continue the legacy he started at Notre Dame,” he stated.

NBC analyst Chris Simms said he sees big things for Claypool.

“Seen this kid in person a lot. As impressive as a athlete I have ever seen,” he stated. “Raw. I am betting super star.”

He joins an offence in search of another playmaker following an eventful 2019 when the Steelers finished 8-8 after losing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a right elbow injury at halftime of Week 2.

Roethlisberger, who turned 38 last month, is on schedule for a full recovery from surgery. Claypool gives Pittsburgh a big target on the outside to complement JuJu Smith-Schuster. This is the third time in four years the Steelers have used their second-round selection on a wide receiver. They took Smith-Schuster in 2017 and James Washington in 2018.

Pittsburgh’s passing game struggled in 2019 with Roethlisberger sidelined. The Steelers finished 28th in yards passing and 28th in touchdown passes while bouncing between Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. Diontae Johnson led the team with 59 receptions as a rookie and no player caught more than five touchdowns.

More to come.

With files from: Canadian Press

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