Notre Dame football: Predicting where Chase Claypool lands in the NFL Draft

Former Notre Dame football star wide receiver Chase Claypool wowed teams at the NFL Combine, we predict where he ends up being drafted in the NFL Draft.

Any fan of Notre Dame football has likely lauded the abilities of Irish wide receiver Chase Claypool, who seemingly came up with big catches for the Notre Dame football team on a regular basis. Those who watched Claypool with regularity were likely convinced that he would take his athleticism and playmaking skills to the NFL and put them on full display on Sundays.

Despite the loyal fans of Notre Dame football recognizing the immense talent that Claypool possesses, he seemingly did not have the attention on a national level as compared to some of the other college wide receivers such as Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins, Henry Ruggs III, Justin Jefferson, and others.

However, that all changed after Claypool’s performance at the NFL Combine. The former Irish wide receiver turned heads initially when he simply received his official measurements at the combine. This was due to the fact that he had put on an additional ten pounds of muscle since playing in the Reese’s Senior Bowl just a month prior.

As a result of the added muscle, many draft experts and NFL scouts were questioning whether the  6’4″ and 238-pound Claypool projected more as a wide receiver or a tight end in the NFL. Some questioned whether the added mass would affect his speed and force a transition to the tight end position in the NFL.

Those who questioned Claypool’s speed had their doubts put to rest quickly when the Notre Dame football star wideout wowed with an official time of 4.42-seconds in the 40-yard dash. In doing so, he became only the second wide receiver to measure at least 6’4″ and 235-pounds to run a sub-4.45-second time since 2003. The other wide receiver to do that was future Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Apparently, Claypool was not content showing that he had elite size and speed to play wide receiver at the NFL, he was determined to put his incredible athleticism on full display. He finished fourth among all wide receivers with a vertical leap of 40.5″, fifth in the bench press event with 19 reps of 225-pounds, and sixth in the broad jump with a jump of 126″.

As added icing to the cake, Claypool reportedly wowed NFL executives with his interviews at the NFL Combine. This should come as little surprise to Notre Dame football fans who watched him play. Claypool is clearly a high character player who is a leader on the football field.

As a result of the dominant NFL Combine performance, Claypool was labeled as a player who was likely going to see a significant climb up most NFL Draft boards. Originally, most draft experts had Claypool pegged as a mid-round pick in the upcoming draft., with most projecting him being selected between the third and fifth rounds.

However, after his NFL Combine performance, those same experts had Claypool being selected anywhere from the later parts of the first round to the middle of the third round of the draft. Unfortunately for Claypool, this NFL draft class is loaded with top-end wide receivers, including the receivers mentioned previously, as well as Laviska Shenault, Jalen Reagor, Denzel Mims, K.J. Hamler, and Brandon Aiyuk to name a few others.

In most other years, Claypool is likely a lock to be selected in the first or second rounds of the draft. However, with as deep as this draft is with elite talent not only at the wide receiver position but also at quarterback, tackle, and linebacker, there is a good chance he is not selected as early as he would otherwise be.

It is my prediction that the New York Giants trade their fourth overall pick in the first round to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the first-round pick (7th overall) of the Panthers as well as a third-round pick (69th overall) and their fifth-round pick (152nd overall). This is important because currently the New York Giants only have a compensatory selection in the third round, which is the 99th overall pick.

I believe that for as good as Claypool is, he will slip to the early parts of the third round of the draft. I predict that the Giants will use the third-round pick they receive from the Carolina Panthers to land Claypool, who would not have been available if they had only had the 99th overall pick in the third round.

By selecting Claypool with the 69th pick in the draft, the Giants are able to provide second-year quarterback Daniel Jones with an elite red-zone target. Claypool would be the perfect addition to the Giants current wide receiver corps that currently includes Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and another former Notre Dame football star wide receiver, Golden Tate.

By adding Claypool, the Giants would have two excellent receivers who can play the slot positions in Shepard and Tate, a burner to stretch the field in Slayton and a big-bodied wide receiver to play on the outside in Claypool.

Additionally, the matchup problems that the Giants could cause by lining up Claypool and 6’3″ and 240-pound tight end Evan Engram would be absolutely tantalizing to Giants fans. Engram was a tight end prospect coming out of Ole Miss that some experts suggested should be moved to wide receiver after he ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, a time that is identical to that of Claypool who is almost identical in size at an inch taller and two pounds lighter than Engram.

Claypool could learn the NFL game by playing behind the likes of Shepard, Slayton, and Tate his first year. However, he would make an excellent depth option as a rookie as Shepard has dealt with concussion issues and Tate will be 32-years old when the season begins.

It would also give the Giants the opportunity to determine if they see him as a potential replacement or complement for Engram, who becomes a free agent when his rookie deal is up after the 2020 season.

With the selection of Claypool, the Giants would provide franchise quarterback Daniel Jones with an elite group of offensive weapons that includes Shepard, Slayton, Tate, Engram, Claypool, and superstar running back Saquon Barkley. New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett would undoubtedly be salivating over the opportunities that would provide him to be extremely creative with the offensive playbook.

There have been a lot of rumblings over interest in Claypool from the New York Giants. It was reported that the team had an official meeting with Claypool following the combine, which would indicate that there is a serious interest in him. Additionally, Claypool has been selected by the Giants in a number of expert mock drafts, making this a very plausible landing spot for the former Notre Dame star.

Next: Predicting Julian Okwara's NFL Draft outcome

We will all have to wait with bated breath to see where Claypool ultimately ends up. However, there is little doubt that wherever he ends up playing, that team will have drafted themselves an elite wide receiver who is destined to be a star in the National Football League.

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