The Pittsburgh Steelers have begun announcing throughout the day the jersey numbers for players new to the team in 2020. Already highlighting their free-agent and trade acquisitions, the latest release has tarted the announcement of the 2020 rookie class.
The first stop for Steelers are the top two draft selections, second-round pick Chase Claypool and third-round pick Alex Highsmith.
Last week, Chase Claypool announced on Twitter he would be wearing number 11 for the black and gold. Wearing number 83 throughout college, many felt Claypool would keep the same number as it was available with the Steelers. Instead, Claypool was assigned the number 11.
Since the last player who wore number 83 for the black and gold was rookie Zach Gentry during the preseason of 2019, many felt Claypool was influenced in the same way as Gentry. It was reported Ben Roethlisberger asked Gentry to change numbers out of respect for former tight and Heath Miller. While this could be one explanation as to why Claypool went with number 11, the other could just as easily be the Steelers young receivers have all gone with number starting with “1” instead of the typical “8.”
As for third-round draft choice Alex Highsmith, sticking with his number from college is not permitted in the NFL. Highsmith wore number 5 to finish his career with UNC-Charlotte, but defensive players in the NFL are forced to wear double-digit numbers which fit into a certain category based on position. Highsmith will instead wear number 56 which will still sport his college digit. As many Steelers’ fans recall, number 56 was worn most recently by reserve outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, a player many feel Highsmith was drafted to replace.
UPDATE: According to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, the other numbers assigned to the Steelers rookie draft class are as follows:
26- Anthony McFarland
69- Kevin Dotson
25- Antoine Brooks
73- Carlos Davis
Kevin Dotson had previously conducted a Twitter poll for Steelers’ fans asking which available number he should choose. Sticking with the results, Dotson will start off with number 69 while not completely committing to the number for the regular season should his top choice become available.
If more rookie uniform numbers from UFA’s are announced, check back for this article at Behind The Steel Curtain as they will be updated here.