We are about a month away from one of the best moments of the year. The NFL Draft kicks off on April 29th, and all of the hype surrounds the quarterback position. Trevor Lawrence is the surefire number one pick and arguably the best quarterback prospect in the past twenty years. Wide Receivers position is not so cut and dry. Is Heisman winner Devonta Smith the first receiver off the board? Does Jamar Chase slide after opting out last season? Today, we’ll take a look at how I rank the 2021 rookie wide receiver class.
1. Ja’marr Chase – LSU
It’s easy to forget how dominant Ja’marr Chase was his sophomore year. Chase led all of the FBS in receiving yards with 1780 yards and twenty touchdowns in 2019. The All-American receiver also helped lead the Tigers to a National Title alongside Justin Jefferson and Joe Burrow. The twenty-one-year-old looked like a man amongst boys measuring in at 6’1 and 200 pounds. Chase clocked in a 4.3 40 yard dash a few days ago at his Pro Day, showing off his elite speed and athleticism. He is a polished receiver who will slide right into the starting lineup and immediately impact any team. Despite sitting out, Ja’Marr Chase is still my number one receiver in the upcoming draft.
2. Jaylen Waddle – Alabama
We stay in the SEC for the second-ranked wide receiver in this draft. Jaylen Waddle would have been the consensus number one receiver had he been able to stay healthy in his time at Alabama. Throughout his time at ‘Bama, Waddle proved that he was a playmaker with incredible speed. Standing at 5’10 and 182 pounds, he lacks the size Chase has but makes up for it with his wheels. Waddle is the type of player who can turn a six-yard slant into a fifty-yard play break in the blink of an eye. The New York Giants and Miami Dolphins seem like perfect fits in the top half of the first round.
3. DeVonta Smith – Alabama
You’re probably wondering how I could put the Heisman trophy winner as my third-ranked wide receiver?! DeVonta Smith is an extreme talent but lacks the size and speed mentioned in our previous two wide receivers. Smith measures in at 6’1 and only 174 pounds which leaves a bit desired on his frame. However, what Smith lacks in physical ability makes up with his football IQ and route-running ability. His ability to create separation and his knack for getting open might be the best in this entire draft class. NFL teams that already have a strong number one wide receiver but lack a number two should most certainly look at DeVonta Smith as he could be this year’s, Justin Jefferson.