Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool's 2020 NFL Combine experience began with an expectation that he'd make a position change to tight end. It was a logical assumption considering his physical makeup; he weighed in at 6-4 and a rocked-up 238 pounds. Then came his elite workout, and the death of the tight end narrative.
Simply put, Claypool's test results were elite. In fact, he's the first wide receiver over 230 pounds to register a sub-4.5 40-yard dash since Calvin Johnson. That, alone, is rarified air. And it's reason enough for the Bears and GM Ryan Pace to give Claypool strong consideration in the second round.
Claypool's complete workout numbers were:
40-yard dash: 4.42
Vertical jump: 40.5 inches
Broad jump: 10.5 feet
Bench press: 19 reps (225 pounds)
Claypool isn't just a workout warrior, either. He was highly productive for Notre Dame in 2019, registering 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Claypool would be the ultimate chess piece for Matt Nagy and the Bears offense. He'd be a true 'joker,' a term usually reserved for a pass-catching tight end. But in this scenario, Claypool could be virtually positionless. Just put him on the field and let him be a big and fast target for Mitch Trubisky (or whoever is under center).
On film, Claypool doesn't always display the athleticism he flashed at Lucas Oil Stadium. His 4.42 was a surprise because his field-speed isn't on that level. In fact, the reason scouts were suggesting the position change is because he looks a little heavy-footed at times and there were concerns about his ability to separate from NFL defenders next fall.
Those concerns aren't completely eliminated by Claypool's elite Combine showing. He's still not a sure thing when it comes to creating separation as a true boundary receiver. But that's what makes him such an appealing target for the Bears; he wouldn't have to be that guy in Chicago. He can be the Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz for the offense despite being listed as a wide receiver on the depth chart.
Here's the rub: The Bears can't wait too long to draft Claypool if he's their guy. If Pace doesn't pull the trigger on him with the No. 50 pick (their second of two second-round selections), he'll be playing elsewhere next fall.
If Chicago tabs Claypool as their guy, the instant knee-jerk reaction will be that Pace 'wasted' a second-round pick on a wide receiver, a position that isn't as much of a need as some others on this roster. But that's the beauty of Claypool; he isn't what he seems. He'd address the Bears' biggest need in the passing game while also possessing the massive upside to bring the offense to a more explosive level.