Former Notre Dame and current Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Chase Claypool has officially signed his rookie contract. The 6-4, 235-pounder is officially a part of the National Football League.
According to a source, Claypool signed a four-year deal worth $6,616,636 and his signing bonus is $2,372,100.
With 49th overallpick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected the former Fighting Irish pass-catcher. Claypool played four seasons in South Bend for the Fighting Irish. In his final year, he played in 13 games, and had 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns.
His numbers at the Indianapolis combine were outstanding. He’s the first receiver to run a sub-4.45 at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds since Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. He has elite hand strength with great physicality and drive. He needs to keep working on his get-off and getting into his routes quicker to take advantage of his 4.42 time in the 40. But he’s trending upward every step of his career.
Claypool arrived at Notre Dame as part of the 2016 class. He was a Top200 prospect that cycle and the No. 1 recruit from Canada. The Abbotsford, British Columbia, native chose the Fighting Irish over scholarship offers from Oregon, Michigan, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Nebraska, Washington, and many others.
Claypool played in 12 games as a true freshman back in 2016. He led the Irish in special teams tackles with 11 and punt-return tackles with eight. He also had six catches for 81 yards, which included a 33-yard catch vs. Michigan State. In year two, he played in 12 more games, had 29 catches for 402 yards and two scores, including a 180-yard performance vs. Wake Forest. As a junior, Claypool played in 13 games and had 50 catches for 639 yards and four more touchdowns.
In his final season, Claypool received the game ball for his performance vs. Navy and was named the Camping World Bowl Most Valuable Player after the win against Iowa State. In that victory vs. the Cyclones, Claypool had seven catches for 146 yards and a score.
In a deep receivers class, Claypool could have gone later than he would have in recent years. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert knew that, and it was a no-brainer when it was their turn to pick.
“We’ve been watching Chase for two seasons because as a junior there was a chance that maybe he’d come out a year early and there was some talk about that,” Colbert recently told the #PFTPM podcast. “He decided to stay. We had, I believe, three reports on him as a junior. We had more reports this year. Same thing, he had improved. We had good grades going into the Senior Bowl. When we got down to the Senior Bowl and Coach Tomlin and I got up close on the practice field and watched his physicality and blocking drills, his physicality and special-teams drills, it really stood out.
“Plus he’s a 6’4”, 230-pound receiver that can get deep, and quite honestly we didn’t have that threat last year. We didn’t have that tall receiver that can just outrun coverage. We’ve always had that in the past with Nate Washington, Mike Wallace, or Martavis Bryant. Again, that was very attractive to us in the long term. In the short term we know Chase will be a special-teams contributor right out of the gate.”
“The comparison to former teammate Miles Boykin is an easy one since both have elite size and explosiveness, but Claypool has a higher ceiling and is a little more pro-ready. Claypool doesn’t have shake to get much separation underneath, but he’s physical inside the route and is adept at making contested catches when needed. He has size/strength/speed to bedevil singled up cornerbacks on 50/50 deep balls. He’s a vertical challenger outside, a possession receiver as a big slot, an outstanding run blocker and immediate coverage ace on special teams. His elite traits and diverse skill set could allow him to create a unique footprint as a pro.” — Lance Zierlein