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Chase Claypool Proves Draft Speed Comes in All Sizes

Bears could solve need for a speed in Round 2 with Notre Dame's 6-foot-4, 238-pound wide receiver

Sometimes speed can be found in the NFL draft in the strangest places.

Teams looking for track athlete types or smurfs who run all over the place can be startled when they find someone with size posting wildly fast times.

Anyone would.

Last year it was Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf, the son of former Bears offensive lineman Terrance Metcalf who shocked the NFL Scouting Combine with a physique like he came off the set of the Terminator, from the bad guys side and not the humans. Then he ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash after a nondescript college career and went on to 55 catches and seven touchdowns with the Seahawks.

So the Bears need a player to replace cap cut and concussion victim Taylor Gabriel, who has the kind of speed to stretch the field. No one says it has to be a Jalen Reagor or KJ Hamler, smaller guys who have moves like Tarik Cohen and great quickness.

There is a Terminator 2 this year and he played at Notre Dame. Irish wide receiver Chase Claypool outperformed his own projections at the NFL combine after a career in which he also outperformed Metcalf as a collegiate receiver. Yet he created little buzz until recently and could even be available to the Bears at No 43 or No 50 in Round 2.

"I think it's just people see me actually being able to do things against top talent," Claypool said. "I knew that I could do those things; I just had to show that I could do it."

Claypool had 66 receptions for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. The 13 TDs tied him for seventh in the nation. The British Columbia native caught 150 for 2,159 yards and 19 TDs in all for the Fighting Irish.

Metcalf had only 39 catches for 646 yards and seven TDs in his best college career.

The numbers really standing out for Claypool were turned in or measured at the combine. At 6-foot-4, 238, he's bigger than the 6-3 3/8, 228-pound Metcalf.

While he didn't get a clocking of 4.33, or 18.89 miles per hour, like Metcalf, Claypool did blast his own projection of 4.5 by running 4.42. Then he matched Metcalf's vertical leap at 40 1/2 inches, the fourth-best vertical leap of all wide receivers this year. His 126-inch broad jump also landed in the top 10 for wide receivers.

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The size, speed and athleticism sent some scouts to thinking he might actually be a tight end, maybe an ideal U-tight end like the Bears have in Trey Burton. He's the same weight as Burton but taller

"I really haven't put a lot of thought into that because I've been a receiver this whole time," Claypool said. "But it's something that I think could add versatility to my game. But right now I'm just focused on being the best receiver I can be."

In college, he moved around within the offense. It could prove he has the potential to play both the tight end and wide receiver spots.

"So I think I can be one of those rare guys who can line up at all positions on the field and do well, especially because I did that in my college career," he added.

The Bears obviously don't need another tight end. They have 10 on the roster currently and some mock drafter seem obsessed with giving them the 11th.

Who's to say they can't use a big, fast wide receiver who can actually catch the ball downfield?

Claypool ran the exact same 40 time as Cordarrelle Patterson, who is shorter at 6-2, weighs the same, but has a 5-inch shorter vertical leap.

There are others at this size at receiver, but not many.

"I'm not the only receiver in the league who's my weight or my size," Claypool said. "I think I'll try to model my game after those guys."

Claypool could not only help the Bears as a speed receiver or a tight end, he'd help them at every position in their passing attack.

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