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The greatest reaction to a Steelers draft pick, ever

How did you react to the Steelers selection of Chase Claypool in the second round (49th, overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft? I witnessed one reaction that was pathetic but also comedic gold.

NCAA Football: Navy at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The anticipation for the annual NFL Draft is often like torture.

At least it is if you’re into that kind of torture, of course, which a lot of Steelers fans are this time of year. I’m not in the camp of “It’s like my Christmas morning” when it comes to how I feel about the NFL Draft, so I’m not one who does much “anticipating.”

But if you are in that camp, imagine having to wait an extra day for your Christmas morning to arrive. Talk about your cruel and unusual punishment, right?

This was the case for millions upon millions of Steelers fans three springs ago when Pittsburgh had to wait an extra day to pick its very-first player in the 2020 NFL Draft.

This delay was the result of a trade with the Dolphins at the beginning of the 2019 regular season where Pittsburgh acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in exchange for its 2020 first-round pick.

The second the Steelers lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the remainder of the 2019 campaign with a serious elbow injury, there's no doubt countless black-and-gold-clad draft zealots began foaming at the mouth at the thought of the Steelers having a bad enough season to pick near the very top of the 2020 NFL Draft. “It’s actually happening!” they probably said to one another during some draft zealot text chain. “Our Super Bowl is finally here!”

Speaking of foaming at the mouth, the Dolphins were likely exhibiting the same behavior in the wake of Pittsburgh’s predicament; this was why they had no problem parting with the discontented Fitzpatrick, a player they just selected in the first round one year earlier.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick’s addition made Pittsburgh’s defense just good enough to keep the Steelers in the playoff race until the final week before ultimately missing out with an 8-8 record.

So, by making that trade, the Steelers not only initially disappointed their mouth-foaming fans but also the mouth-foaming Dolphins in the end.

What’s worse than not having a top-five pick if you’re a black-and-gold-clad draft zealot? How about not having a first-round pick at all?

Making matters worse was the COVID pandemic that shut the world down in March 2020.

No games were being played anywhere, and sports-talk radio hosts could do nothing that spring but hold daily drafts involving Easter candy, movies and television shows. (They also created tournament brackets involving Easter candy, movies and television shows.)

A Tiger was king on Netflix, while the 1998 Chicago Bulls won yet another championship on ESPN’s 30 for 30.

The anticipation for the league’s annual player selection process was more palpable than ever before (and that’s saying something).

But Steelers fans had to wait an extra day for their “day” to arrive, which meant the excitement level for whoever would be selected in the second round was on par with that of your traditional first-round pick.

This brings me to the night of Friday, April 24, 2020.

Steelers fans had to sit through a whole evening of first-round picks on Thursday, as commissioner Roger Goodell presided over a “zoom” draft, while socially-distanced players and fans got to take turns celebrating in their living rooms for all the world to see.

It would finally be the Steelers' turn in the second round (49th, overall) around 10 p.m. EST. Who would they take? Would it be a receiver? How about an offensive tackle? How about a guard? How about a quarterback? Running back? Cornerback?

The possibilities were endless.

And this poor soul who was about to be the Steelers' first pick (but in the second round)? You had to feel sorry for him.

What if it was the wrong receiver, offensive tackle, guard, quarterback, running back or cornerback (at least in the eyes of these pick-starved Steelers fans)?

What would the reaction be?

I got to find out for myself, thanks to Twitter and those insiders who are always so eager to let the cat out of the bag before I can see the pick on my very own television.

I try not to look at Twitter when the Steelers are on the clock, but I accidentally stumbled upon a long “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Tweet while trying to avoid finding out before I found out.

Was someone crying out for help on Twitter? Were they being attacked by a wild animal? Were they being chased by Michael Myers? (He does walk with a slow, deliberate pace which would allow a person to send out a quick Tweet.)

No, this person was reacting to the news that the Steelers were about to select Chase Claypool, receiver, Notre Dame, in the second round (49th, overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Who reacts that way to a draft pick? I’ve called draft reactions gross and unseemly before, but that’s next-level cringe.

People have been arrested for calling 9-1-1 because their food order was messed up at the drive-thru. That person was lucky someone didn’t send the cops to their home to do a wellness check.

Anyway, Claypool actually had a good rookie season in 2020, catching 62 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns, while adding two more scores on Matt Canada’s famed jet-sweep.

Claypool was drawing comparisons to D.K. Metcalf and looked primed to become one of the league’s next great superstars. He was also extremely popular in Pittsburgh for almost an entire year which is saying something for a Steelers receiver.

Being from Canada, Claypool was even given a cool nickname: Mapletron.

Claypool ultimately didn’t become a star in Pittsburgh, and, being a receiver, he quickly fell out of favor among Steelers fans.

But he did surprisingly fetch a second-round pick from the Bears during the 2022 campaign, and thanks to Chicago’s decision to tank the remainder of the season, Pittsburgh will now get the first pick (32nd, overall) in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

All things considered, not a bad return on investment for the 49th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Lastly, while the NOOOOOOOOO! reaction to the Claypool pick was next-level cringe, it was also comedic gold.

It is a reaction I use whenever the Steelers lose a Ray-Ray McCloud to free agency “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” or re-sign James Pierre “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

So, thank you, 2020 Steelers draft zealot from Twitter. Much like Chase Claypool, you provided a service to the football world that was much better than you originally thought.