Mel Kiper sides with Bears trade for Chase Claypool originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Chicago Bears may have slipped up when Ryan Poles and the Bears' front office traded away the now No. 32 pick in the upcoming NFL draft for wide receiver Chase Claypool at the trade deadline in November.
In 10 games with the Bears this season, Claypool recorded a lowly 14 catches for 140 yards, showing no progress in adapting to Luke Getsy's offense by the season's end.
Yet, ESPN's Mel Kiper believes the trade will benefit them in the long run.
"Claypool is a solid player," Kiper said on ESPN's Waddle & Silvy. "I think that was a trade that should benefit them and will benefit them moving forward."
In trading their pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Claypool, the Bears hypothetically traded the No. 32 pick, considering the Miami Dolphins were forced to forfeit their first-round pick for tampering violations.
Claypool finished up his third year in the league this past season.
His first two seasons in Pittsburgh could be chalked up as successful, considering he's seen passes from four different quarterbacks in the span of 2.5 seasons. He recorded two seasons with over 800 receiving yards and hauled in nine touchdowns in his rookie season alone.
Out of Notre Dame, Kiper was a fan of Claypool's.
"I thought he was a big body kid who would get go get the football, win contested throws," Kiper said. "Be a little more than just the guy that you could count on just to be the possession type. He could make some plays."
Even though the Bears, by a technicality, gave up a first-round pick for Claypool, it doesn't discourage Kiper about Clauypool's potential given the tradeoff for a wide receiver in the late first round doesn't outweigh Claypool's skillset.
"Which receiver is better than Claypool right now?" Kiper asked.
Feels like that question shouldn't be rhetorical – given Claypool's last 10 games. Next season's games will give Bears fans a better chance to answer that question.