Top Wide Receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft
By: Darrell Lane
With the NFL Draft fast approaching, I thought it be nice to release my big board for the top 15 wide receivers in this upcoming draft. I also thought it would be a fun exercise to show some clips of traits that make my top 5 wideouts special.
- Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
The Biletnikoff Award Winner gets the number 1 spot. Chase may have chosen to opt out of the 2020-2021 season, but his work in 2019-2020 was amazing. The LSU standout led the nation in both receiving yards and touchdown catches. Chase is physical, has strong hands and is a play maker down the field. Chase has proven himself against high caliber corners, such as AJ Terrell (1st round pick in 2020) and Patrick Surtain who will be a 1st round corner this year. One of the special traits that stand out most when you look at Chase is the ability to scramble with the QB and make plays once the pocket breaks down https://youtu.be/ZW7opZaETZI?t=206 (Number 1 is Chase).
- DeVante Smith, Alabama
Smith was very close to beating out Chase for wide receiver 1 on my board. The differentiating factor that has Smith at 2 is size. Smith is 175 pounds, while his LSU counterpart is 208 pounds. I take size into account due to the pounding a receiver takes during an NFL season. Smith has cat like quickness, great feet and superb route running. What I love most about the Heisman Trophy Winner is how special he is after the catch https://youtu.be/8eiwPl30jCw?t=3108 (Number 6 is Smith).
- Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Waddle was the forgotten man for Alabama this past year playing 2nd fiddle to Smith. Don’t let Smith’s excellence take away from the true specialness of Waddle. The Alabama product is the best deep threat in this draft and has elite speed for the position. A good way to tell the speed of a receiver is if they are burning corners in zone with safety help over the top https://youtu.be/8eiwPl30jCw?t=6125 (Number 17 is Waddle).
- Rondale Moore, Purdue
Special is the first word that comes to mind when I see Moore play. His speed, quickness and acceleration are all at elite levels. Moore might be 5’9, 180 pounds, but he has some power to him. The Purdue standout is dynamic. Once he gets you 1 on 1 in open space, it’s over. What I love about Moore the most is his start stop speed https://youtu.be/-ga0KcRDrrE?t=161 (Number 4 is Moore).
- Rashad Bateman, Minnesota
Bateman does not have the elite speed or quickness some of the players above him in the rankings possess. What the Minnesota standout does have in his toolbox is great route running, which allows him to be a safety blanket for a QB in the middle of the field. The most impressive thing about Bateman is his ability to make tough catches down the field with body control and concentration https://youtu.be/M7H0kaFTkEY?t=1125 (Number 0 is Bateman).
- Kadarius Toney, Florida
- Terrace Marshall Jr, LSU
- Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
- Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
- Sage Surratt, Wake Forest
- Dyami Brown, North Carlina
- Tyler Wallace, Oklahoma State
- Amari Rodgers, Clemson
- Dazz Newsome, North Carlina
- Tu Tu Atwell, Louisville
*all stats are from ESPN.com