The first thing to know about the newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, former Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool, is that he’s big.
Claypool, who checked in the 2020 NFL Combine at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds before the Steelers took him with the No. 49 pick in the second round on Friday. The heaviest wide receiver in the entire NFL in 2019 was Mike Evans, who checked in at 231. Claypool is the same weight as bruising running back Derrick Henry and has four pounds on starting Steelers inside linebacker Devin Bush.
But he’s also fast.
Despite being the heaviest wide receiver at the combine, Claypool ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, the seventh-fastest time.
“He is one of those rare types of combination of size and speed,” Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said after the selection.
Claypool’s 40 time turned heads at the combine, especially when considering his size, and Claypool felt the need to prove people wrong when he spoke to Steelers Now just before posting that time.
“Because of the weight, maybe they assume it’s bad weight,” Claypool said. “I have a good opportunity to prove that it’s not with the 40. I think after this week, people will just understand that I have a special combination of size and speed.”
Claypool is so big that some have suggested he might fit in a flex tight end — a place the Steelers could use him, though the just went out and got Eric Ebron to pair with Vance McDonald this offseason.
“I’ve proved I can be versatile. Inside, outside, No. 3 wide receiver, flex tight end,” Claypool said. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing that people see me doing different things at the next level. I take that as a compliment.”
Claypool also was a significant performer on special teams for the Fighting Irish, making 25 career tackles. He said that teams have asked him about playing a special teams role.
As a prospect, Claypool was a late bloomer, with his stock rising significantly after a strong series of workouts at the Senior Bowl, and then rising once again after his head-turning combine.
“I don’t see it’s something that I did anything different,” Claypool said. “I think it’s just that people see me actually being able to do things against the top talent. I knew I could do all those things, I just had to show I could do it. The more I come out to these events that are televised and have scouts, I think the more people will understand that maybe I shouldn’t be as slept on as I am.”