‘That's why you make the trade:' Claypool already impressing Bears


LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Several adjectives were bandied about when Chase Claypool arrived in Chicago after the Bears acquired the 24-year-old wide receiver in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Big. Physical. Athletic. The list goes on.

Claypool's measurables are unimpeachable. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Claypool ran a 4.42 40-yard dash while recording a 40.5-inch vertical and a 126-inch broad jump.

They just don't make many wide receivers with Claypool's physical abilities.

It's one thing to watch Claypool in action on film. It's another to see it in person. It took only two days for Claypool's teammates to see what he can do.

"He's a dominant player," Darnell Mooney told NBC Sports Chicago on Thursday. "He's just another player who can come in and make special plays. He has been doing his thing since he got in the league."

Claypool and Mooney were in the same draft. Mooney is well aware of what Claypool can do. He witnessed it Thursday during the Bears' second- and third-down practice day.

"He had a crazy catch out there today," Mooney told NBC Sports Chicago. "It was like a deep ball and he just like went up and big-boyed someone. He Mossed them. Exactly. The things he has been doing. It was nice to see it in person."

The Bears expect Claypool to make his debut Sunday when the Miami Dolphins visit Soldier Field. Claypool and quarterback Justin Fields went to work the second the receiver's plane touched down Wednesday morning.

It won't be an easy task getting Claypool up to speed in the Bears' system. It's complex. It took Mooney and the rest of the offense weeks to get fully comfortable and eliminate the pre-snap issues, alignment problems, and route imprecisions that plagued them early in the season.

Fields and Claypool have been staying late to work on routes. Mooney offered to break down any confusing terminology for him. Tight end Cole Kmet, who played with Claypool at Notre Dame, will help the receiver every step of the way.

The Bears expect Claypool to be given a small batch of plays that he is comfortable running.

"To get him in the game, we're going to have specific plays for them," wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert said Thursday. "If you tell him, 'run that way, turn right, and catch the ball. He can do that.'

"We have [assistant Omar Young] helping him with the formations. That's where it all starts from, knowing how to line up and where to line up. Once he has that, you know, the play concepts, he's smart enough to figure that out. So we can pretty much put him anywhere as long as he knows where to line up, how to line up, and where to shift in motion when we call plays. He won't be expected to know the whole playbook, but he'll have a lot of plays, his specific plays that he'll be expected to know."

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Mooney knows the addition of Claypool will help make his life easier and can help take the Bears' passing game to the next level.

He didn't need any convincing of that. But it's always nice to see it with your own eyes.

"I was like, 'That's why you make the trade right there,'" Mooney said. "That's why you do it."

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