Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds (83rd)
Vertical: 40.5” (93rd)
Broad: 126” (83rd)
20-yard shuttle: n/a
Hailing from British Columbia, Canada, Claypool racked up 1,473 yards and 18 TDs receiving, 567 yards and 8 TDs rushing and threw for 103 yards and 3 scores in his final high school season. He was considered a top-35 WR prospect in his recruiting class by multiple scouting services.
Claypool barely registered on offense as a freshman, although he did lead the Irish with 11 special-teams tackles. His 29 catches and 402 receiving yards in 2017 were both good for 2nd on a bad Notre Dame passing game that ranked 103rd in the country in yards per game and 78th in TDs per game.
Claypool boosted his numbers again as a junior, ranking 2nd in catches, yards and TDs behind only Miles Boykin. His market shares — 18.7% of the catches, 19.1% of the yards, 17.4% of the TDs — failed to qualify as a real breakout, though.
Claypool did break out this past season, accounting for 26.1% of Notre Dame’s receptions, 31.6% of the receiving yards and 35.1% of the receiving scores. Those marks rank 11th, 9th and 8th out of 23 of this year’s top WR prospects. Claypool’s 2.48 yards per route run ranked 13th among those 23 wideouts.
He got hot down the stretch, posting the following receiving lines in his final 5 games:
Courtesy of @WhatsOnDraftNFL
Games watched - Louisville, Georgia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Iowa State
After watching Claypool torch the Combine, I came away disappointed by his tape. Simply put, he doesn’t play as athletically as he tested.
He has build-up speed, but not the type of field-tilting juice that makes a receiver dangerous. And Claypool is a bit lumbering when changing direction, taking multiple steps to slow and gather himself before making a move.
Claypool also struggles creating separation in his routes, especially against press coverage. He’s lined up out wide at the bottom of your screen in both of the following clips:
On the plus side, Claypool is good in contested situations, hauling in 57.7% of his opportunities this past season, per Pro Football Focus. He knows how to shield defenders with his big frame and has the ability to contort his body to adjust to off-target throws.
Claypool’s combination of size, power and build-up speed gives him decent after-the-catch ability. He was especially effective on crossing routes for Notre Dame.
At least 1 team asked Claypool to work out at TE at the Combine.
Sign me up for that move. Claypool doesn’t seem to have the technique or movement skills to consistently create separation on the outside.
But he’d be a mismatch at TE — too athletic for LBs and too big for safeties. He could run those short and intermediate crossing routes that he was effective on at Notre Dame. And he’d be a threat down the seam with his contested-catch ability.
We’ll see where Claypool lands in the draft and how his new team plans to deploy him. He’ll be buried in a deep class if he sticks at WR. But at TE, he’d bubble up near the top of a weak group.