The Jets are very thin at wide receiver, and that’s what makes Chase Claypool a very intriguing target for them after they take an offensive lineman in the first round.
As the Combine approached, there was talk of Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool switching to tight end in the NFL. That all changed when the Combine came and he massively outperformed expectations. The Jets need a wide receiver, and they should target Claypool on Day 2.
With question marks surrounding the status of Quincy Enunwa, the Jets could use another big-bodied receiver like Claypool. At 6’4″, 229 pounds, he’d be a great replacement for that type of receiver, but what does he bring to the table? Let’s explore.
Claypool uses his size well, like an NBA forward or center, he boxes out the defender. He’s a strong receiver and will win most of his battles based on strength rather than technical ability. He does well to get off press coverage and will win most of the 50/50 balls due to his strong hands and will to get the football.
He’s also very much like Jets Offensive Assistant Hines Ward in that he’s not only able to but also willing to do the dirty work in the running game. Claypool is an excellent blocker who will take the corner out of the play on outside runs and will limit the corner’s ability to come inside to make a stop.
He’s not a refined route runner. This means there will be contested catches frequently in the NFL, and he’s going to have to continue to show the ability to fight through the defender to win if he wants to be a viable option.
As the Combine showed, he’d now a slow guy, but game speed is certainly not shown on tape. Most of his yards after catch came from being able to bully defenders with his size and strength. Even against good smaller corners in the NFL, he won’t be able to do that as frequently.
The Jets need a sure-handed, big-bodied receiver who can play the slot or the outside to go over the middle. That’s where Claypool comes in. He’s a reliable option that Sam Darnold can trust will win most of the time. It will be a tight fit most of the time due to his inability to create space. However, he’s still trustworthy enough to go over the middle. As a result of his ability to fight through contact on press, he can be a vertical threat as well.
If Claypool was a guy who could consistently create separation, he’d be a first-round pick. As a result of the likely frequency of contested catches at the next level, he’s a Day 2 pick at best.