More Historical Context on Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool’s Ridiculous Combine

Yesterday I posted about Chase Claypool reaching Megatron status at the NFL Combine on Thursday.  Well, thanks to the fine folks running the @NFLResearch Twitter account, we have even more superlatives for Notre Dame’s leading receiver from 2019.

Even if you don’t follow the NFL, most of those names should be very familiar to you. Claypool’s 40-yard dash was faster than Odell Beckham Jr’s, his high jump was higher than Julio Jones, and his broad jump (which measures explosiveness) was better than Devin Hester’s.  Those are three players who dominated at both the college and the NFL level.

All of those numbers show just how well rounded Claypool is and how much of an athletic freak he is.  We all knew that he would test well, but his performance is one of the best all-around performances for any wide receiver at the Combine in a long time.  He showed NFL scouts that physically, he is elite in almost every category they test.

From there, if scouts turn on the game tape for Claypool from 2019, they’ll see a receiver who took considerable strides in his development this year.  Specifically, Claypool became a monster on the sidelines where he made catch after catch using his size and leverage to haul in contested catches.  He and Ian Book developed great chemistry by the end of the year, where Book knew he could throw the ball up for grabs and Claypool would come down with it.

After this week, it will be fascinating to see just how much the perception of Claypool changes in NFL Draft circles.  Many of the “experts” had Claypool ranked well outside the top 100 prospects, with many ranking him closer to 200th overall.  His performance at the Combine should show all of them just how off those projections were.

Regardless of whether or not the draft “experts” who usually have a 10-20% success draft projecting 1st round picks change their opinions, one would have to think that NFL scouts and execs, whose opinions actually matter, have Claypool much higher on their boards now than they did a week ago.

Two wide receivers have been drafted in the 1st round during the Brian Kelly era – Michael Floyd and Will Fuller – and Claypool is very different than both of them.  Floyd and Fuller had larger bodies of work on the field, but Claypool is an ascending player with ridiculous testing numbers across the board.  Sneaking into the 1st round might be a stretch, but it will be borderline criminal if Claypool isn’t off the board in the 2nd round.

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  1. On another note, Jalen Elliott ran a 4.8 at the combine and his draft stock has slid pretty severely on most sites. I hope he gets drafted and has a good pro career as he gave his all for ND. But the point I want to make goes back to Kelly being a bad evaluator of talent and who sees the field. Kyle Hamilton started only 1 game I think this entire season after having a monster spring and fall camp. Through the first couple real games, you could see Hamilton was really good and all over the ball. Both Gilman and Elliott had production drops this season and in my opinion, Hamilton is better than both of them already. Why wasn’t he ever starting then?

    Something very interesting was said by Kelly at the senior bowl practices when he was being interviewed there that kinda shocked me. He said that when they recruit corners, they don’t specifically recruit high school corners. They like to recruit receivers and turn them into corners. He said they like guys who can play the ball in the air and basically said receivers are better at doing that than corners. This may be true to some degree but think about all of the other skills that come with being a corner that receivers lack. He even said we bring them in and teach them to tackle and all that. I was very confused by this mindset and on top of it, when is the last time you’ve seen a Notre Dame corner actually get their head around, play the ball in the air, and break up a pass or pick it off? Very rarely…

    I don’t know. I’m just not confident that Kelly plays the best guys out of some sort of “comfortable” feeling of guys that have been there a while “knowing what they are doing” vs a better athlete who can make more things happen but doesn’t know the system as well.

    1. With respect to your comment on Elliot, I think you are way off. Is Hamilton better than he is, yes. Was he the defensive QB at the back end of the Defense? Also, yes. He didn’t get the chance to make plays because others were making plays.

      With respect to WR turned corners. How many good HS CBs are there that can qualify to get into ND? How tall are most of these CBs? Under 5’10”-6′. Most of the WRs turned CBs are going to be in at least the 6′ range. The CBs coach that they have now is going to coach them up.

      1. Trey,

        Way off? But you just agreed with the point I was making by saying Hamilton was better than Elliott so how am I way off? Hamilton can’t QB the defense because he’s a freshman? I wonder what his stats would have been had he been playing the entire season as a starter instead of getting half the reps. But regardless of that, you agreed Hamilton is the best man so why wasn’t Kelly starting him? That’s my point. I wouldn’t call that way off.

        The average height of NFL corners…5’11”. The average height of NFL receivers…6’1″. I’m using NFL because that’s the bar so you can see that height doesn’t really matter when it comes to that much of a competitive edge for height. It’s all about technique and what I’m concerned with is Kelly recruiting receivers who are already behind on technique. Corner is the hardest position to play and that’s a tough transition for a receiver trying to play corner.

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