When Chase Claypool weighed in at 238 pounds at the NFL Combine, his fit with the Pittsburgh Steelers become overwhelmingly strong. The Notre Dame standout who's played every receiver position imaginable could add another spot to his career if the rumors of him moving to tight end become true.
Claypool, who finished his Notre Dame career with 150 receptions, 2,159 yards and 19 touchdowns, is considered a middle of the pack receiver who isn't certain where he'll play at the next level.
The Steelers head into the draft with a need at tight end, but could use a player like Claypool as the perfect piece to their offensive puzzle.
Claypool's critism at the receiver position is pointed towards his larger frame and inability to create true separation with his speed. Therefore, it's difficult to rely on him as an outside threat with even better cornerbacks guarding him in the NFL.
Sport Illustrated's Irish Breakdown senior writer, Bryan Driskell, pointed out that Claypool's lack of speed may not be because of his extra baggage but rather lack of technique.
One of the criticisms about Claypool that I have read is that he lacks speed and explosiveness. It is often said he struggles to get separation, something I think is partially true, but I don’t believe it’s due to a lack of speed and explosiveness. I’m of the belief it’s more of a technique issue.
He’s never going to be able to use raw speed to separate the way players like Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy from Alabama are able to do, but they also can’t use a 6-4, 230-pound body to get open and make plays like Claypool. A player like Claypool must be more refined.
How he fits so well with the Steelers
Claypool isn't a player someone will take a chance with in the first two rounds. Anyone who has question marks at their position like the receiver does makes him a risk to take with a draft pick teams need to use on immediate impact players.
However, Claypool could make an impact in Pittsburgh. If the Steelers remain uncertain with the future of the tight end position - unknowing how they'll handle Vance McDonald or Nick Vannett - adding a possible tight end could benefit them.
Then, they add another option to use as a slot receiver. It was no secret fans were displeased with the production of Ryan Switzer in 2019 and many hope there's a new face playing the inside role in 2020.
Claypool doesn't have the normal, smaller sized receiver body that the Steelers are used to having on the inside, but adding a bulky talent with strong hands wouldn't be a poor move.
The Notre Dame star needs to show he's capable of running with receiver speed to force his way into the top three rounds. Driskell pointed out that he's had a better career than former teammate and current Baltimore Raven, Miles Boykin, who dropped the the 30th pick in the third-round.
The Steelers are expected to receive a compensatory pick in the third-round for Le'Veon Bell. The 104th overall pick could be a perfect landing spot for Claypool, and allows Pittsburgh to search for a defender with their first pick.
He's a risk/reward draft pick but one that could be a major problem solver in Pittsburgh. If he can come in and learn two roles, he's an immediate void filler. If he can only learn one, either way, he's adding depth to a position the Steelers could use help with.
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