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Better Steelers rookie receiver: Martavis Bryant or Chase Claypool

The Martavis Bryant vs Chase Claypool comparisons have been popping up more and more lately.  The similarities between the two are striking to say the least.  One person who is certainly not a fan of this is good old Martavis himself.  Never one to shy away from social media, this is what he had to say earlier this week

 

So which player is actually the better rookie receiver?  Before we start, full disclosure this site is a certified Martavis Bryant fan boy page.  We have been on record several times hoping and praying for his return to the Steelers.  Its time for the Steelers to bring back Martavis Bryant Having said that, Chase Claypool is making it harder and harder to deny he may actually be better.

Let’s start with the numbers.  Looking at their testing at the combine, both players scored almost identically.  When checking them both out on Mockdraftable, it’s almost like looking at the same player: https://www.mockdraftable.com/

Other than Claypool being significantly heavier, these numbers are nearly identical.  Ok, so no help there in the Martavis Bryant vs Chase Claypool debate.  How about on the field?  Both Players had significant impacts, and highlight reel plays during their rookie campaigns.

Check out Martavis here..https://youtu.be/DosMJYglPzQ

And now here is Claypool…….https://youtu.be/hYeMuX2KkJw

Still no help determining  a clear favorite, so let’s go to the stats.  Keeping in mind we are only nine games into the 2020 season.   As it stands right now, Chase Claypool  has 35 receptions for 500 yards and 7 touchdowns as a receiver.  He has two touchdowns rushing as well.  Bryant finished his rookie season with 26 receptions for 549 yards and 8 touchdowns.  We can expect  Claypool to easily eclipse any stat category between these two with so much remaining in the season.  So that’s it right, Chase Claypool wins the debate hands down.  Well…. not so fast.

A closer look at the stats shows Bryant had an average yards per catch of over 21.  That’s significantly better than the 14.3 his competitor now has.  Comparing total yards and touchdowns can also be deceiving when you look at total targets.  Claypool has already surpassed Bryant in targets, (57-48), and that’s in roughly half the games.  Which bings us to the context argument of this debate.

Martavis Bryant played on a team with the likes of Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Heath Miller to name just a few.  All established stars who needed their share of touches in the offense.  The fact that any rookie was able to carve out a role on that offense was a feat in itself.

The 2020 version of the Steelers wide receiver group is impressive, but nowhere near where it was in 2014.  Ju Ju Smith Schuster is the only established star in this group, and even he has regressed a bit since the departure of Antonio Brown.  There was a clear path to targets, and therefore success for another receiver in this current offense.  That’s no slight on Chase Claypool who has taken that opportunity and ran with it.

The Verdict:

This is close, I mean really close.  Both players are extraordinary athletes who took their respective teams by storm.  Here is the best way we can describe it…..Chase Claypool is Martavis Bryant without the marijuana haze.  If you take a long term view of these two, you’d chose Claypool and it wouldn’t be close.  There is none of the drugs, overconfidence, and lackadaisical attitude that plagued Martavis Bryant.  But still, if we are talking just one season, we go with Martavis Bryant.   He had the nickname “The Alien” for a reason.   There was really no one else like him before, or since for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  

 

 

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