The Pittsburgh Steelers selected the 6’4”, 238 lb WR from Notre Dame with the 49th pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Here’s what some different draft sites thought about him.
Sports Illustrated’s Bryan Driskell
Claypool’s combination of height and wingspan give him one of the widest catch radius’s in the draft. Even when coverage is tight, Claypool’s length allows him to still make plays on the football. It requires a more accurate quarterback, but Claypool is a hard player to stop because of his size.
Claypool’s overall route technique is average to below average, and that affects his playing speed. He came to Notre Dame incredibly raw, and while he’s come a long way there is still plenty of room for improvement.
NFL PLAYER COMP: Mike Evans, Tamp Bay Buccaneers
NFL DRAFT RANGE: Rounds 2-3
Driskell’s article is a great breakdown of Claypool, it’s one of the longer ones and has a good amount of detail and clips to support his thoughts.
Spotrs Illustrated’s Bill Huber
Claypool simply overpowered defensive backs in college. He made 15 contested catches and had a contested-catch rate of 57.7 percent that ranked sixth among our top 32 receiver prospects. He tied for fourth in the nation with 16 receptions on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield. And he broke 14 tackles, giving him a rate of one missed tackle for every 4.7 receptions – seventh-best in our top 32.
Claypool never looked like a player with 4.42 speed in the 40. Like many big receivers, it takes a while to get up to full speed. While his hands measured a robust 9 7/8 inches, he had a drop rate of 9.6 percent that ranked 29th of our top 32.
Chase Claypool was Huber’s 11th ranked WR, he was the 11th WR drafted.
CBS Sports’ Dave Richard
Claypool ran a bunch of different routes and lined up everywhere at Notre Dame but specialized along the outside. Six of his touchdowns in 2019 came on deep throws. He’s a good blocker with some highlight-reel pancake blocks on his resume. He also appears to be an athlete of high character, which will buy brownie points with some front offices.
There are times where he stops on a dime and turns back toward the ball with the grace of a 5-10 receiver, and there are times where he needs a new set of brakes when decelerating, taking way too many steps to change directions. But perhaps the diciest part of Claypool’s game is his hands. Though he’s nailed the over-the-shoulder catch and is unafraid to cross the field, there are many moments where it appears Claypool fights the ball before securing it.
When comparing Claypool, two big, rangy receivers of the past come to mind: Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess. Both were large titans who overcame speed-related issues to put up good numbers.
Dave Richards writes from a fantasy football angle, and like other writers, sees great production if Claypool is not the top target and the QB is accurate.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
He has size/strength/speed to bedevil singled up cornerbacks on 50/50 deep balls. He’s a vertical challenger outside, a possession receiver as a big slot, an outstanding run blocker and immediate coverage ace on special teams. His elite traits and diverse skill set could allow him to create a unique footprint as a pro.
Very little wiggle or juice after the catch
Pedestrian release to challenge press
Average getting in and out at the break point
Inconsistent balance out of intermediate breaks
The comparison to former teammate Miles Boykin is an easy one since both have elite size and explosiveness, but Claypool has a higher ceiling and is a little more pro-ready.
As a person who liked Boykin last year, I like that comp.
The Draft Network’s Joe Marino
Height, weight, speed, physical specimen. Won’t get bumped off his spot as a route runner or at the catch point and he embraces the physical components of the position.
Invites a lot of contact while offering plenty of surface area and him beating press coverage with consistency is an area of concern. Lacks ideal agility to truly create separation at the top of routes and he has considerably more success when runways are created for him to gain leverage.
Claypool has limitations to be mindful of, but he can fulfill a niche role as a big slot that provides a complementary weapon for an offense that features speed and separation specialists to draw coverage away from Claypool and provide spacing for him to work.
A pretty consistent scouting report about Chase Claypool. He’s a big fast freak of an athlete with big hands, big catch radius and a lot of big catches. Like most big WRs he isn’t agile or quick, and he has a lot to learn about technique, from route running to releases to consistent hands.
Almost everyone agrees Claypool is a great fit for a team with WRs that will pull attention away from him and a QB that will give him some accurate shots deep. That sounds like the Steelers are the perfect place for Chase Claypool.
The question that remains? Is Chase Claypool the right fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers?