While the Detroit Lions obviously have a lot of needs to fill on defense, taking a flier on this second round receiver could pay dividends in the future.
While coaching in the Senior Bowl meant that the Detroit Lions had one of the worst records in the league last season, one of the benefits of representing the North is getting quality time to work with some senior prospects. That horrendous record of 3-12-1 is enough proof that the Lions have a lot of holes they need to fill at the beginning of this draft, specifically on the defensive.
While addressing those needs should be a priority, the Lions would be fools not to take advantage of one of the deepest classes of wide receivers in recent memory. It’s so deep in fact that ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. projects that at least 25 pass catchers will be taken in the first three rounds.
One of those pass-catchers that the Detroit Lions should look into with their lone second-round pick or one of their two third-round picks is Chase Claypool, who Patricia & Co. got a chance to work in the Senior Bowl.
A native of British Columbia, Claypool used his pro-level length, strong competitive nature, and elite build-up speed to amass 116 receptions, 1,676 yards and 17 touchdowns in the past two seasons with Notre Dame.
MLive’s Benjamin Raven thinks those numbers could translate on an NFL level, comparing Claypool to one of the best receivers to ever play the game.
"“Claypool played for the Matt Patricia-coached team in the Senior Bowl and continues to sky-rocket up draft boards after wowing at the combine. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound receiver ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash. The only other wideout that big and fast to run at the combine? Calvin Johnson.”"
That comparison to Megatron may not be too far-fetched. While Claypool has a pedestrian release to challenge press coverage and doesn’t have the yards after catch (YAC) upside of Johnson, the way he pursues the ball and is able to make difficult back shoulder catches is reminiscent of him. Claypool has a lot of untapped potential at the wide receiver spot but has fallen as a second or third round projection because of how deep this wide receiving group is.
Adding Chase Claypool to a Detroit Lions’ wide receiver room with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. gives the Pride one of the best group of possession receivers in the NFL. If the rookie clicks with quarterback Matthew Stafford and improves his ability to make plays after the catch, I could see Claypool taking Danny Amendola‘s spot on the roster in 2021 on a much cheaper deal with greater upside.