The Steelers were able to land a receiver with unmatched physical tools in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Here’s my player profile on Chase Claypool.
Chase Claypool is a player that is easy for Steelers fans to get excited about. At 6’4” and 238 pounds, the former Notre Dame standout moves like a wide receiver but has the size and build of a ‘move’ tight end.
Some believe Claypool was drafted a bit too high at pick 49 overall, but with a run on receivers early in the second round, Pittsburgh grabbed a player they think can do big things for them – especially in the red zone. Here is my player profile on the new Steelers wide receiver:
WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
- Fantastic frame and catch radius (6’4” and 238 pounds with an 80” wingspan)
- Freak athlete, especially considering size (4.42 40-yard dash, 40.5” vertical, 126” broad jump)
- Excellent at adjusting for the ball in the air
- Competitive by nature
- Soft, natural hands as a receiver
- Build-up speed allows him to gain steps on a defender down the field
- Contested catch specialist who knows how to high-point the football
- Uses muscular frame to box out defenders
- Willing, physical run blocker
- Terrific in special teams coverage
- A more linear athlete who doesn’t make defenders miss in the open field
- Rarely plays as fast as his tested speed would indicate
- Routes need a lot of refinement, doesn’t snap out of them
- Needs to work on creating more separation at the top of his routes
- May always face contested-catch situations in the NFL
- Needs to clean up some technique issues as a receiver
- Maybe a better option from the slot than on the outside
Chase Claypool’s fit in Pittsburgh:
For the Steelers, Claypool slides right in as their fourth wide receiver with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington ahead of him on the depth chart. However, it’s entirely possible that Pittsburgh could use him in some sort of hybrid role as a ‘move’ tight end as well.
Claypool does a lot of his damage from the slot where he can use his speed to take a drag route and turn upfield or win down the seam. He will get a handful of offensive snaps from day one, but Claypool will have a chance to split starting snaps with the top three receivers as early as the end of his rookie season.
Pro Comparision: Miles Boykin
It’s not hard to draw comparisons between these two players, and not only because they played together at Norte Dame. Claypool and Miles Boykin are both big-bodied receivers who tested excellent at the NFL Combine. However, their athleticism is sneaky and they don’t always appear to be playing up to their speed.
Both Boykin and Claypool are willing blockers who have the focus and strength to hang onto the ball with defenders draped all over them. While Boykin may be a little more polished in his routes, Claypool has more versatility to kick inside and offers a bit more after the catch. Boykin was taken in the 3rd round by the Ravens in 2019, and both receivers could have similar career paths.
How Chase Claypool will impact the Steelers as a rookie still remains to be seen. However, with his size, physicality, special teams ability, and versatility to line up in multiple spots, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Claypool doesn’t find the field early in his first NFL season.