Rookie Rundown: WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

Rookie Rundown: WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

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Rookie Rundown: WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

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Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Claypool grew up in British Columbia, Canada and committed to Notre Dame after an impressive high school career. He played in 12 games as a freshman but was limited to only five receptions. Claypool improved as a sophomore and then became a true starter in his junior season when he caught 50 passes. His best showing was in 2019 when he took over as the No. 1 receiver for Notre Dame after Charles Boykin left. Claypool ended with 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns. He doubled the production of any other receiver on his team for 2019.

Notre Dame did not have a great passing offense and it was mostly limited to Claypool who stepped up to catching seven or more passes over his final six games played. Most of his previous production was limited to only three or four receptions in most games. Claypool was red hot down the stretch in 2019 with eight touchdowns over his last five games. It helped his draft stock dramatically and showed what he could do when he was relied on heavily.

Height: 6-4
Weight: 238 pounds
40 time: 4.42 seconds

The first natural comparison for Claypool would be ex-teammate Miles Boykin who was the 3.29 pick by the Ravens last season. The pair are both 6-4 and ran sub 4.45 40-times, but Claypool is 18 pounds heavier. And Boykin only had one season with more than 12 catches when he caught 59 passes for 872 yards and eight scores as a senior. Claypool has been much more productive and for more seasons than Boykin.

Year Games Catch Yards Avg. TD Runs Yards. TD Total Yards Total TDs
2016 8 5 81 16.2 0 1 9 0 90 0
2017 11 29 402 13.9 2 2 -3 0 399 2
2018 13 50 639 12.8 4 0 0 0 639 4
2019 13 66 1037 15.7 13 0 0 0 1037 13

Pros

  • Elite size/speed ratio
  • Huge catch radius and an imposing target downfield
  • Uses size to snare most contested passes
  • Valuable asset as a run blocker
  • Can play both sides for special teams
  • Very competitive to the  point of bullying defenders
  • Won’t get bumped off his route
  • Succeeded with marginal quarterbacks – made them better
  • Could be a consistent threat as a slot receiver

Cons

  • Lacks elusiveness after the catch
  • Not very creative
  • Durable so far but doesn’t shy from contact
  • Lacks quickness in separation from defenders

Fantasy outlook

There has been some speculation that he could be turned into a tight end depending on where he went, and he has all the characteristics of a valuable receiver from that position. His blocking skills are highly desirable no matter which position he plays. In NFL Combine history, the only other player that recorded a sub-4.45 40-time while weighing more than 235 pounds was Calvin Johnson right at the same size.

While Claypool isn’t as quick as many other receivers and doesn’t offer eye-popping open-field moves, he has plenty to offer an NFL team and is likely to end up selected in the second round. He may even be drafted near the end of the first round.

Most wideouts come out of college as a liability as a blocker – not Claypool. That counts big in keeping him on the field and offering help even as a rookie.

His size suggests a valuable target in the end zone and securing first downs over the middle. His speed is good enough that he can also play the “X” on the outside but he has more to offer as a big target in short to intermediate levels than just running down the sideline.

Since he is likely to last through the first round, he could be taken by any team. He could become an excellent complement to an elite wideout already established in the league. He’s shown the ability to handle a heavy workload and should offer at least some fantasy value even as a rookie. On a dynasty team, his stock is even higher since he’ll need the first season to integrate himself into his new offense but could end up with a higher volume of targets on a pass-heavy team.

 

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