Claypool/Experts Surprised Steelers Drafted Him

OC Fichtner says ND WR is ‘just a football player’

Jeff Hathhorn
April 24, 2020 - 10:03 pm
Chase Claypool Notre Dame

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – We must have had dozens of mock Steelers picks from local and national experts on 93.7 the Fan over the last few weeks and not one of them selected who the Steelers selected, wide receiver Chase Claypool from Notre Dame.

At 6’4”, 238 he looks like a tight end, but really opened eyes after running a 4.42, 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.  They are not the only workout numbers that jump out, his vertical jump was 40.5”, broad jump 126” and he benched 235 pounds 19 times.

On the field, the numbers were 66 receptions for 1037 yards, a 15.7 yards per reception average, and 13 touchdowns as a senior.

“I think a big part of that was confidence,” Claypool said of his improvement every year while at Notre Dame. “Being put those situations and making those plays and making those plays made it easier to make those plays again and again.  That is something that came with hard work and practice.”

Claypool said he had no idea the Steelers would take him with their first pick in the draft, saying he talked to head coach Mike Tomlin at the Senior Bowl. 

Steelers Offensive Coordinator Randy Fichtner couldn’t say enough good things about him.

“He is one of those rare combinations of size and speed,” Fichtner said.  “He has big hands.  His production this past season was off the charts.  He’s one of those guys to score the ball.  He’s a points scorer.”

“The small things that grow on you when you watch the tape. Dependable ball security player.  A guy that plays without the football.  There is no job too small.  He will block, he gives effort when balls are coming to him.  He volunteers for special teams.  This guy is just a football player.”

A native of British Columbia, Claypool put his own high school tape on social media and told by coaches to attend a college camp and he was noticed when attending a camp at Notre Dame.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called him right after he talked to Steelers coaches and officials and said JuJu Smith-Schuster texted him.

Claypool said JuJu was one of the players he watched tape of his senior year in college to improve.  Also studying Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones.  

He is also working with former Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh in California and believes that should help him get up to speed with the lack of reps with team headquarters closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“A big thing is going into the right situation, where you get drafted,” Claypool said.  “It’s a historic team with a proven background.”

“It’s a pretty cool opportunity to play with a quarterback like Ben who’s been in the league for a long time and knows exactly what it takes to compete.  I was fortunate to be drafted in the right situation."