Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool bulks up. Could he transition to TE?


In a NFL Draft class loaded with talent at the wide receiver position, Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool looked like another promising player that would be available in the middle or later rounds. Maybe not anymore. A positional change could make the big-bodied target become one of the more intriguing names in this year’s draft.

Showing up for the combine, Claypool measured at 6’4 2/8″ and 238 pounds, up from 229 at the Senior Bowl a month ago. It looks like he could be fully embracing the idea of becoming a move tight end at the next level, where his size and movement skills could present a complete mismatch facing linebackers and safeties in coverage.

Claypool was one of the better deep threats in 2019, reeling in 16 receptions and 494 yards on passes over 20 yards — both tied for the second-best marks in the country. He can be a dangerous target running down the seams in the NFL, especially with his huge catching radius and contested catch ability (57.7% contested catch rate, according to Pro Football Focus).

Another area where the former Fighting Irish receiver succeeds is in the red zone. In 2019, Claypool was targeted 17 times inside the 20-yard line. He amassed 11 receptions (one drop) for 79 yards and eight touchdowns (ninth-most). He’s a strong player on the ball and can be moved around to exploit favorable matchups, similar to the way the Patriots used to utilize Rob Gronkowski.

Former Head Coach Brian Kelly had some glowing things to say about Claypool:

Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane already declared his intention to add “touchdown makers” to the squad, and given Claypool’s big-play and red-zone ability, he should catch the GM’s eye on film.

Claypool is also known as a willing blocker and good special teams player. He would fit in perfectly fine with Dawson Knox, Tyler Kroft, or Tommy Sweeney being more traditional balanced options and Lee Smith the blocking specialist, or as a big wide receiver among the Bills’ mostly-diminutive receiving corps.