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Notre Dame Football: Claypool, Finke, Kmet Make Their Mark at NFL Combine

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Claypool gets compared to Megatron.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Claypool bet big on himself, staking money against those who doubted the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish receiver’s ability to run a sub-4.5 second 40 yard dash.

“I think I’ll be getting some free dinners these next couple of weeks here,” the wideout quipped Wednesday to reporters covering the NFL Combine.

The following evening, the Abbotsford, B.C. native blazed to the finish line in 4.42 seconds — seventh best among receivers. While they may have lost big, Claypool’s detractors were playing the odds. Claypool is only the second receiver taller than 6-foot-4 and heavier than 235 pounds to run a sub-4.45 40-yard dash at the Combine since 2003.

Claypool’s time matched the efforts of Miles Boykin and Golden Tate for second-fastest time logged by a former Notre Dame receiver at the NFL Combine (since 1999). Will Fuller remains first, one-tenth of a second faster.

Claypool, Chris Finke and Cole Kmet participated in all on-field drills Thursday.

  • Claypool jumped 40 12 inches vertically, good for fourth among receivers. Finke was fifth, at 40 inches. Kmet led all tight ends with a 37 inch vertical.
  • Claypool’s 126 inch broad jump was 10th best among the Combine receiver corps. Kmet’s leap was three inches fewer, but second best among tight ends behind Dalton Keene of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Finke did not participate.
  • Kmet finished the three cone drill in 7.44 seconds, which was 12th best out of 13 tight ends who participated. That’s slower than a threshold suggested by Gil Brandt, a Hall of Famer and the Dallas Cowboys’ former director of player personnel.
  • Kmet’s 4.41 second effort in the short shuttle was eighth best out of 13 tight ends. Both his three cone performance and 20-yard shuttle output were better than Troy Niklas, who was did them in 7.57 seconds and 4.55 seconds, respectively. Niklas was a second round pick in 2014.
  • Tony Jones Jr. completed 13 repetitions of the 225 pound bench press. That was 22nd best out of 23 running backs who participated Thursday in the event. Jones’ effort was the worst by a Notre Dame running back in the past 22 years, eclipsing the previous low of 16 by Cierre Wood in 2013. (He may have injured himself in the process, according to Irish Maven.)
  • Finke ran a 4.57 second 40-yard dash, which was 29th best out of 45 wideouts that participated. Since 2001, four receivers have run a 4.57 yard dash or slower and completed seven or fewer reps on the bench at the Combine. Two of them — the South Carolina GamecocksAce Sanders and the Clemson TigersHunter Renfrow — were drafted.

Coming up Friday:

  • Tony Jones Jr. does an on-field workout.
  • Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem are invited to participate in the bench press. Kareem has already met with the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, according to Walter Football. Okwara has reportedly met with the Falcons, Houston Texans, Chiefs, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks.
  • Jalen Elliott, Alohi Gilman and Troy Pride Jr. meet with the media and undergo medical exams and psychological testing.

The NFL Draft will be held April 23-25 in Las Vegas.