For months I've wondered what I was missing when it came to former Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool. When I watched him play this season I saw a big, athletic, physical and dominant wide receiver, and that was before his brilliant performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Based on recent mock drafts it seems more and more analysts are coming around, and for the second time I've now seen Claypool in the first round of a mock draft. This time it came from ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., who has Claypool going in the first round (No. 30 overall) to the Green Bay Packers.
"Green Bay cut Jimmy Graham and hasn't added any receiving help this offseason, so I'm sticking with a wide receiver for its pick, though it's the third different wideout in my three mock drafts. Like Denzel Mims, Claypool had an electrifying combine, running a 4.42 40 and putting up a 40.5-inch vertical at 6-foot-4, 238 pounds. This might be a slight reach, but a team could fall in love with his traits, and he produced last season, catching 66 passes for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns. He could be a matchup nightmare for Aaron Rodgers."
I don't agree with Kiper that this is a reach. Claypool has a rare combination of tools, and only Mims can rival Claypool when it comes to size, athleticism and production. Claypool is bigger (6-4 1/4, 238 pounds to 6-2 7/8, 207 pounds), Mims was faster (4.38 to 4.42) and Claypool jumped higher (40.5" to 38.5").
Everything about Claypool from a size, athleticism and production standpoint grades out as first-round talent. As I wrote in my draft profile for Claypool, the areas where Claypool's game lags behind other top prospects are correctable with continued work and good coaching.
A team with a good wide receivers coach and a smart offensive coordinator should drool over the chances of getting Claypool late in the first round due to the potential he possesses and the wide variety of matchup opportunities he presents as an inside and outside receiver.
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