Fantasy Football 2020 NFL Draft Profile: Chase Claypool too big to be considered under the radar
It's hard to stand out in the absolutely loaded 2020 wide receiver draft class, but at 6-4 1/4, nearly 240 pounds and with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, Notre Dame's Chase Claypool is impossible to miss.
If it weren't for social media, Chase Claypool might not have had a chance at the NFL. Born and raised in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, Claypool was a two-sport star without much attention from the United States. At the suggestion of a relative, Claypool posted his highlight reel on social media and suddenly he was a sought-after talent. Ultimately becoming a 247Sports.com four-star composite prospect, Claypool settled on Notre Dame. He played sparingly until 2019, when he broke out as the team's No. 1 receiver and was named the Camping World Bowl MVP following a seven-catch, 146-yard, one-score performance over Iowa State. Claypool leaves Notre Dame ranked seventh in career receptions (150).
Numbers to Know
Height: 6-4 1/4
Weight: 238 pounds
Date of Birth: July 7, 1998 (Week 1 age: 22)
Hand: 9 7/8 inches
Arm: 32 1/2 inches
Wingspan: 80 inches
40 time: 4.42 seconds
Vertical leap: 40.5 inches
2019 stats: 13 games, 66 receptions, 1,037 yards (15.7 yards per catch), 13 touchdowns
In four games against top-25 ranked teams, Claypool had 21 grabs for 255 yards (12.1-yard average) and five touchdowns. That includes four touchdowns and 117 yards in one game against 23rd-ranked Navy.
Career stats: 45 games, 150 receptions, 2,159 yards (14.4 yards per catch), 19 touchdowns
Known Injury History
- Minor right ankle surgery, summer 2019
- Multiple torn shoulder ligaments, Dec. 2017
Claypool towers over defenders with his 6-foot-4-plus, 238-pound frame. He looks like a tight end but doesn't run like one. He has solid movement, from his get-off to his acceleration and top speed, all of which helps him get in position to jostle for contested catches, which he can win more times than not because of his gigantic size. He will undoubtedly be a matchup problem at the next level. Claypool ran a bunch of different routes and lined up everywhere at Notre Dame but specialized along the outside. Six of his touchdowns in 2019 came on deep throws. He's a good blocker with some highlight-reel pancake blocks on his resume. He also appears to be an athlete of high character, which will buy brownie points with some front offices.
You might have been attracted to Claypool's 4.42 speed in the 40-yard dash, but he simply does not play at that speed very often. Additionally, Claypool's footwork in his route running is inconsistent which may not be correctable given his size. There are times where he stops on a dime and turns back toward the ball with the grace of a 5-10 receiver, and there are times where he needs a new set of brakes when decelerating, taking way too many steps to change directions. But perhaps the diciest part of Claypool's game is his hands. Though he's nailed the over-the-shoulder catch and is unafraid to cross the field, there are many moments where it appears Claypool fights the ball before securing it. He had seven drops on 80 catchable targets according to Sports Info Solutions.
When comparing Claypool, two big, rangy receivers of the past come to mind: Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess. Both were large titans who overcame speed-related issues to put up good numbers. Heck, Benjamin had his only 1,000-yard season as a rookie (with nine touchdowns) while Funchess found 840 yards and eight touchdowns when pressed into a primary role in his third season. While it's true that both receivers declined starting in their fourth NFL campaigns, it's also true that Claypool is a little more athletic than both. Another big wideout from the past, Calvin Johnson, may compare physically, but on the field Johnson was an absolute freak. Claypool has a ways to go to be that good. It wouldn't be surprising to see Claypool notch a 1,000-yard season one day, but it's not likely to happen anytime soon.
Favorite Fantasy Fits
Because Claypool figures to be picked between 50th and 100th overall in the NFL Draft, and because there are a lot of receiver vacancies around the league, it's not hard to find good spots for him. But perhaps one of the very best spots became available when the league's new year opened in March: Houston. It sounds zany to suggest he'll be as good as DeAndre Hopkins, but Claypool would give Deshaun Watson a big-framed target who could also work as a downfield threat. Most importantly, he'd be given a red-zone role pretty quickly. The Texans have three picks between 40th and 90th overall with another pick at 111th overall. Landing with other capable quarterbacks in Green Bay, Philadelphia and Minnesota wouldn't be bad either, but the fit in H-Town would make him a draftable entity in every league.
Fantasy Bottom Line
Count on Claypool getting some attention in 2020 Fantasy play, but he's unlikely to be a sure-fire draft pick unless he finds himself in a great situation. For that reason, figure he's on the fringe of being a final-round pick in seasonal redrafts. In dynasty/keeper league startups, expect to hear Claypool's name called late, while in rookie-only formats you'll see him go in Round 2.
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