We’re all going to have a lot of free time this offseason and that means extra time to look deeper at members of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 draft class. I’m going to be focusing on the Steelers first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, wide receiver Chase Claypool, over the course of the next few weeks. My deeper dive series into Claypool will include a 2019 season game-by-game contextualization. These contextualizations will include close looks at his targets, blocking and special team contributions.
This series continues on with a complete contextualization of Claypool’s 2019 Notre Dame game against Michigan.
CLAYPOOL PLAY-BY-PLAY TARGETS VERSUS MICHIGAN
CLAYPOOL TARGET BREAKDOWN VERSUS MICHIGAN
In total, Claypool was targeted ten times against Michigan and he officially caught two passes for 42 yards. Both catches, by the way, were phenomenal and of the back-shoulder variety. One came via a slot fade early in the game. Claypool also had another phenomenal catch in the second quarter that was wiped out by offsetting penalties. That catch, while it did not count, is included in the target totals as well as the video compilation. While Claypool did have two great catches that counted against Michigan, he unfortunately registered four drops and three of them came in the first half. One came on a fluttering pass attempt in the rain, but Claypool still should have made that grab. The one drop in the second was a pass that while a little high, still went right through his hands. All four perceived drops are in the video below and you can see if I am being too harsh on categorizing them all as such. A few targets that went to Claypool against Michigan were very poor throws that he had no chance at catching. His average target distance against Michigan was almost 18 yards down the field.
CLAYPOOL BLOCKING BREAKDOWN VERSUS MICHIGAN
Claypool had a few blocking assignments against Michigan that were worth highlighting. The biggest thing with him in that phase of his game is just getting him to stay on his blocks and finish them. He has the will and the want to block, he just needs to be more consistent when it comes to finishing. He’ll be dominant if he does become a finisher at the NFL level. He is a big kid and hard to get around in open space.
CLAYPOOL SPECIAL TEAMS BREAKDOWN VERSUS MICHIGAN
Against Michigan, Claypool once again showed why he should be a special teams asset for the Steelers during his rookie season. He once again functioned great as a gunner against Michigan and was even in on one tackle on the several punts throughout the contest. He also showed that he will give chase on punt coverage when the returner is running away from his side.
CLAYPOOL GAME SUMMARY VERSUS MICHIGAN
Claypool’s seventh game of the 2019 season included the wide receiver making a few nice catches. Even so, the multiple drops he had against Michigan more than offset his nice catches. The Notre Dame game against Michigan included a lot of rain in the first half. Even so, Claypool should have had a few more catches in that first 30 minutes of action and the Notre Dame offense could have used them. Claypool’s blocking and effort on special teams against Michigan were what I have come to expect while going game-by-game through his 2019 season. He should be fine in both of those areas at the NFL level with a little more coaching. Overall, I must say that Claypool’s game against Michigan was just two clicks above being awful. While he doesn’t have bad hands or poor concentration as a whole you wouldn’t know that if the game against Michigan was the only one of his from 2019 that you watched.
NOTRE DAME VERSUS MICHIGAN FULL GAME