The Steelers selected Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Here’s what FanSided’s Notre Dame expert has nothing but high praise for him.
The Pittsburgh Steelers typically know what they are doing when it comes to drafting the wide receiver position. Under the direction of Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin since 2007, the team has landed a number of Pro Bowl and even All-Pro-caliber players at the position in Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Go back a bit further, and Colbert was responsible for adding eventual Super Bowl MVP, Santonio Homles, in addition to hitting on players like Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randle El. So when it came time for the Steelers to draft another talented wide receiver, there is reason to believe that Chase Claypool has a chance to be the next in line among a long line of successful players.
I recently spoke with FanSided’s Notre Dame sight expert of Slapthesign.com, Matt Clark. He explained to me why he believes Claypool was a steal for Pittsburgh in the middle of the second round. Here’s some of what he had to say in an article following the draft:
"The Pittsburgh Steelers managed to steal draft former Notre Dame star receiver Chase Claypool in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 49th overall selection. The fact that Claypool lasted until the second round of the draft is less of an indictment of his abilities and more of a testament to how deep the 2020 NFL Draft was with elite wide receiver talent.In most drafts, Claypool would have been a surefire first-round pick. Given his elite size (6’4″ and 238-pounds) and athleticism (4.42-second 40-yard dash, 126.0″ broad jump, and 40.5″ vertical leap).Given his combine performance and the results that he had during his time at South Bend (66 receptions, 1,037 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns in 2019), it is still a bit difficult to believe that he wasn’t selected in the first round."
Clark, an avid Notre Dame football follower and fan of the team for more than 35 years, continued with his praise of Claypool in a conversation I had with him on Wednesday. When I asked how Claypool compared to past Notre Dame alumni like Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, Will Fuller, and Myles Boykin, Clark said that they are different styles of receivers, but insisted that Claypool as well-rounded as any receiver he has seen come out of Notre Dame.
In his closing remarks in our conversation, Clark said that he thinks Claypool is a better prospect coming out of Notre Dame than Floyd, Tate, and Boykin. He even went as far as to say that Claypool was the best receiver to be drafted by the Fighting Irish since Tim Brown all the way back in 1988.
Claypool has a number of characteristics that the Steelers no doubt loved about him. Obviously, he’s extremely big and athletic for the position (6’4” and 238 pounds with 4.42 speed), but his traits are noticed beyond his testing numbers. Claypool was a productive, durable player with great hands. He was also prolific as a blocker and special teams contributor, and his ability to win down the field was uncanny.
Obviously, Claypool hasn’t proven anything yet in the NFL, and he will have his work cut out for him if he wants to assert his name among the long list of successful receivers drafted by Kevin Colbert. Still, it’s encouraging to hear such positive things from a Notre Dame football expert. Let’s hope Claypool becomes as good as advertised.