If you want to talk about the best position group in the 2021 NFL draft that conversation starts with the loaded Wide Receiver group. The Class is loaded at the top with prospects like Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, and Ja’Marr Chase. Multiple prospects in the later rounds have the talent to make an impact on the day one in the NFL. The 2020 draft class saw a total of six receivers go in the first round, we may be looking at 6-7 this year. Here we go time to preview the deepest position group in the draft.
1. Jaylen Waddle – Alabama
2. Ja’Marr Chase – LSU
3. DeVonta Smith – Alabama
4. Rashod Bateman – Minnesota
5. Elijah Moore – Mississippi
6. Terrace Marshall Jr. – LSU
7. Rondale Moore – Purdue
8. Kadarius Toney – Florida
9. Nico Collins – Michigan
10. D’Wayne Eskridge – Western Michigan
11. Tylan Wallace – Oklahoma State
12. TuTu Atwell – Louisville
13. Jaelon Darden – North Texas
14. Amon – Ra St. Brown – USC
15. Amari Rodgers – Clemson
16. Dyami Brown – North Carolina
17. Sage Surratt – Wake Forest
18. Cade Johnson – South Dakota State
19. Anthony Schwartz – Auburn
20. Simi Fehoko – Stanford
21. Ihmir Smith – Marsette – Iowa
22. Dazz Newsome – North Carolina
23. Cornell Powell – Clemson
24. Shi Smith – South Carolina
25. Seth Williams – Auburn
1. Jaylen Waddle – Alabama 5’10 182
- Absolutely game changer at the Wide Receiver position, Waddle brings a different type of speed that only he possesses in this class. Has an incredible first step off the line of scrimmage, gets a step on his defenders in the first 10 yards. Big time vertical threat can stack defenders gets on top of them and makes contested catches. Best run after the catch player in the draft, every time he touches the ball, he is a threat to take it to the house. Waddle is a return specialist who can the change the game in the blink of an eye. Waddle will instantly make any teams wide receiver room better the minute he gets drafted.
PREDICTION – TOP 12 PICK
2. Ja’Marr Chase – LSU 6’0 208
- Smooth, fluid receiver who has multiple ways of beating you on the field. Chase has burst coming off the line of scrimmage that allows him to get into his routes quick at top speed. His size is one of his biggest assets, uses his big frame to make contested catches in traffic and in the red zone. High football IQ plays with great awareness to get open and stay open for his quarterback to find him. Balance and body control jumps off the tape with Chase,rarely will you see him knocked off his route and in trouble. Chase will most likely be the first receiver drafted this year, whatever fan base gets him will be popping bottles for the weekend.
PREDICTION – TOP 6 PICK
3. DeVonta Smith – Alabama 6’1 170
- Smith had one of the best seasons from a receiver in NCAA history unstoppable during his senior season at Alabama. Incredible body control does a really good job of using his length and grabbing balls out of his catch radius. Great route discipline crisp at the top of his routes and his fluid in his breaks. Quick of the line is a theme in this draft class and Smith is no different, does a great job of using his hands to break away from defenders and get into his route. Put Smith in a west coast offense where his route running will be on display and reap the benefits.
PREDICTION – TOP 12 PICK
4. Rashod Bateman – Minnesota 6’2 210
- Bateman is one of those guys in this draft you want on your team, his toughness and competitive edge jumps off the tape. The Golden Gopher is not afraid to go across the middle and make the difficult catch in traffic. Has great hands consistently extends his hands to pluck the ball out of the air not letting it get into his chest. Smooth in his route running gets into his breaks quickly with good short-area quickness. Bateman is a dog and whatever team drafts him is getting a big-time player.
- PREDICTION – TOP 20 PICK
5. Elijah Moore – Mississippi 5’9 185
- The most fun I have had watching film this draft season is when I put on Elijah Moore tape. Explosive is an understatement; Moore has big time home-run-hitting ability every time he touches the rock. Does an incredible job of separating and getting in and out his breaks with such a quick first step. Great hands rarely do you seem him let the ball get into his body and looking uncomfortable catching the ball. Moore is special player that has the ability to change the game in a split second. Put him in the slot and defensive coordinators will have a tough time sleeping.
PREDICTION – LATE FIRST ROUND
MID ROUND GUYS
9. Nico Collins – Michigan 6’4 215
- Big, strong possession receiver with strong hands who does a good job of going up and getting contested catches. Does a good job using his hands to separate from defenders and works hard to get vertical and separating. Excels vs zone does a good job of finding grass and working back to the ball. Lacks some quickness which will be a problem at the next level. Collins fits in a offense as a X receiver who will eventually turn into a long term starter in the league.
13. Jaelon Darden – North Texas 5’9 170
- Darden is a dynamic playmaker who is an explosive threat when he has the ball in his hands. The North Texas grad has the vertical receiving skills and the run after the catch ability to make plays in the NFL early in his career. Quick twitched makes him a handful to bring down in the open field. Darden best scheme fit is the spread offense where he can play in the slot and use his quickness despite his slender frame.
18. Cade Johnson – South Dakota State 5’10 184
- Johnson is a smooth route runner with great balance and body control. Gets into his breaks quickly shows good burst at the top of his route to fight back for the ball. Good hands does a great job of extending his hands and not letting the ball get into his chest. Johnson adds value in the return game which only raises his draft stock. Johnson may not be the flashiest receiver in the draft but he is a guy I would want on my team every day.