Combine Reaction: Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet and Chris Finke Weigh In
The workout portion of the NFL Scouting Combine begins Thursday, but there is already plenty going on in Indianapolis.
Quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends were the first group to arrive, and they were first up to get measured and weighed. Three former Notre Dame players - Cole Kmet, Chase Claypool and Chris Finke - all checked in on day one.
Here’s what we learned and what it means for the Irish players.
Here are Claypool’s measurements:
Height: 6-4 1/4
Hands: 9 7/8”
Arms: 32 1/2”
There are 55 receivers in attendance, and Claypool was the third tallest, weighed the most, tied for the fifth-long wingspan, had the seventh biggest hands and tied for the 19th longest arms.
Claypool was 229 pounds at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which was his listed weight at Notre Dame. He showed up today at the NFL Scouting Combine at 238 pounds. According to Jim Nagy, the Executive Director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, there’s a reason for the additional weight.
This is an intriguing development. I personally believe with good coaching Claypool could play wide receiver in the National Football League. But if he’s willing to transition to tight end it would give him even more position flexibility, which only adds to his draft value. The key is him accepting that potential move, and it sounds like Claypool is actually willing to do that.
What Claypool has done is set up his testing extremely well. If he runs in the high 4.5 or low 4.6 range then he’ll stack up extremely well against the other tight ends and he won’t be evaluated as a wide receiver. If Claypool runs in the high 4.4s then all of a sudden he is running like a wide receiver in a hybrid tight end body. Anything in the high 4.4s or very low 4.5s at 238 pounds with the length he showed could result in Claypool skyrocketing up draft boards.
Either way, Claypool is now protected a bit from dropping in value should he not perform as well as hoped for.
If Claypool is evaluated as a tight end then there are 21 at the combine, and he would check in as the ninth tallest, tied for the ninth biggest hands and would have the 12th best arm length. Claypool would still be the lightest tight end, but his wingspan would be third.
I think comparing Claypool to Noah Fant - a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft - will be interesting to see.
Height: 6-4 1/8
Hands: 9 3/4
Arms: 33 1/2
Fant ran a 4.5, leaped 39.5 inches, had a 127.0” broad jump, had a 6.81 in the three-cone drill, had a 4.22 in the pro shuttle and had an 11.49 in the 60-yard shuttle. Want did 20 reps on the bench press. Claypool’s testing and on-field workouts will be Thursday (bench press is Wednesday).
Here are Kmet’s measurements:
Height: 6-5 3/4
Hands: 10 1/2”
There are 20 tight ends at the combine (not including Claypool), and Kmet stacked up quite well. He’s the second tallest, he is the heaviest, he is tied for the biggest hands, he’s sixth with wingspan and eighth in arm length.
I expected Kmet to show up as one of the biggest tight ends and he didn’t disappoint. He’s 12 pounds heavier than what he was listed by Notre Dame, which makes me very interested to see how he runs. If Kmet tests in the middle of the tight end pack it won’t hurt his draft stock when you consider his size and the fact many analysts don’t seem to think he’s a top athlete.
If Kmet tests near the top of the tight end board, with that size, it not only solidifies his standing as the top tight end in the class, it would provide a major boost to his overall draft stock. If Kmet can get into the 4.6 range and have strong testing numbers I am going to find it hard to believe he falls out of the first round.
Last year, TJ Hockenson (Iowa) was the No. 8 overall pick of the Detroit Lions. I don’t expect Kmet to get picked that high, but I do think the more Kmet can measure in and test on the same level, or better, the greater value you’ll see with his draft stock.
Here were Hockenson’s combine results.
Height: 6-4 3/4
Hands: 9 1/2”
Arms: 32 1/4”
Wingspan: 77 7/8”
Kmet is taller, thicker and longer than Hockenson. At last year’s combine, Hockenson ran a 4.7, had a 37.5” vertical and a 123” broad jump. He had a 7.02 in the 3-cone drill, a 4.18 in the pro shuttle and an 11.55 in the 60-yard shuttle. He did 17 reps on the bench.
I’m very curious to see how Kmet’s testing numbers ultimately compare to Hockenson.
Here are Finke’s measurements:
Height: 5-9 1/2
Wingspan: 69 5/8”
Finke was expected to be one of the smallest wideouts, and he as. Among 55 wide receivers, he was tied for the third shortest, he ranked 50th in weight, 41st in hand size and he was last in arm length and wingspan.
I don’t think any of this hurts Finke anymore than his lack of size already was going to be a knock on him. I highly doubt any NFL scout expected him to be bigger than he was. I’ve written before that Hunter Renfrow from Clemson (fifth round pick in 2019) is the ideal comp for Finke.
Renfrow was 5-10 1/2 and 184 pounds at least year’s combine. His arms were just 1/8” longer than Finke and his wingspan was just 1 3/4” longer than Finke. Finke had significantly bigger hands than Renfrow, who has very small hands (7 7/8”).
The key for Finke was always going to be how fast he ran, how quick he moved and how high he jumps.