Although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to land Tom Brady thanks in large part to the weapons on offense - as well as an emerging defense - there are still some holes to fill come the NFL Draft. Following the departure of Breshad Perriman, who got a one year deal with the Jets worth up to $8 million dollars, there is another glaring hole to fill. The emerging star out of South Bend may be the answer.
Chase Claypool’s Collegiate Career
Claypool’s time as a golden domer is the epitome of growth. A four year player at Notre Dame, Claypool amassed 150 career receptions - five as a Freshman, 29 as a Sophomore, 50 as a Junior, and 66 as a Senior. He finished with 2,159 yards and nineteen touchdowns - 1,037 yards and thirteen touchdowns coming in his Senior season.
At 6’4”, 230-pounds, Claypool became the go to guy for quarterback Ian Book - accounting for over a third of Book’s passing yards and nearly 40% of Book’s touchdown passes.
The Fighting Irish offense went as Claypool did, getting only eight receptions combined in their two losses in 2019. Claypool finished his Senior year seventh in the NCAA in receiving touchdowns, first in touchdowns in the Independents Conference, while also finishing second in the conference in receiving yards and receptions.
Claypool made the most of his opportunity with Notre Dame, thanking them for their belief in him as he continues to follow his dream;
Thank you, Irish Nation ☘️ pic.twitter.com/WA4v4HeHSh— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) December 31, 2019
For starters, the size. Comparable to that of Calvin Johnson (we’ll get to that in a moment), Claypool would join 6’5” Mike Evans and 6’1” Chris Godwin - not to mention the 6’6” O.J. Howard and 6’5” Cameron Brate at tight end - creating size mismatches across the board. Next up, his speed. Claypool ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine which then drew Calvin Johnson comparisons, which Claypool himself used as motivation;
Someone like Claypool, using his size and speed as leverage in the slot, could be one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL with Brady liking to get the ball out of his hand quickly. Chris Godwin did a lot of damage in the slot last season, but seeing him rotate with Claypool between the inside and outside with Evans still lining up on the outside? That’s the kind of thing nightmares are made of if you’re an opposing defensive coordinator trying to formulate a game plan.
One of the things Godwin was asked to do a lot last season when lining up inside was run block. For Claypool, that won’t be a problem either;
He checks off nearly every box the Buccaneers would have in looking for a new receiver right out of the gate.
No receiver the Buccaneers draft will be without flaws. However, in Claypool’s case they are fixable issues.
For starters, he needs to work on his hands. Claypool has a tendency to catch with his body which led to some dropped passes that should have been caught throughout his time at Notre Dame. This is something that can be worked on and remedied with enough coaching and reps, but it’s a small concern at the moment.
The other issue that has been brought up about Claypool is his inability to gain separation on some of his routes. Though he’s big and fast, his route running leaves something to be desired. A part of that can be attributed to his large frame and long stride, but again - something that can be worked on and improved, especially when working with other big receivers like the Bucs have.
Why The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Chase Claypool
It’s pretty simple - they need a number three receiver to replace Breshad Perriman. Claypool does all the things Bruce Arians will ask of his receivers in both the passing and running games. He’s got a mean streak in him and can overpower opposing corners with his size and speed.
On top of that, Claypool is currently pegged as a day two pick which is exactly when the Buccaneers will be looking to address the position. Granted, Claypool has been climbing boards since the combine, but he’s not quite a first round guy. Unless there is an unprecedented run on receivers that skyrockets him, Claypool will be there on day two for the Bucs.
Now, it’s unlikely he falls to the third round so the Bucs may look to package some picks to move back up into the second to ensure they land him should they go running back with their second round pick. An offense that features Evans, Godwin, Howard, Brate, Ronald Jones, plus Claypool and a rookie running back all under Tom Brady as the leader? Absolutely terrifying.
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Should It Happen?
I’m at the point where, personally, I’ll be really disappointed if the Buccaneers don’t find a way to land Claypool. His skill set that he comes into the league with is already dangerous in this offense but his ceiling is sky high.
Let us know your feelings on Chase Claypool in the poll below and check out the video of some of his highlights - which also features some of the things mentioned in the “cons” section.
How Do You Feel About Chase Claypool For The Bucs In The 2020 NFL Draft?
This poll is closed
Draft Him No Matter What
Trade Back Candidate
I Wouldn’t Mind It
There Are Better Options