By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Welcome to part 2 in a series of 13 as we take a look at the 2021 Wide Receiver class; which has been deemed deeper than the 2020 draft class and that’s high praise. This year’s group could see as many as five wide-outs hearing their name in the 1st round.
The wide receiver group features burners, bruisers, or a combination of both who can take over a game at any given time. Here are my top 10 wide receivers for the 2021 NFL draft.
- Ja’Marr Chase (LSU)-6/1/205: Chase opted out of the 2020 season, but that shouldn’t hurt his draft stock and being the 1st wide receiver off the board. Chase is not only explosive, but he is an excellent route runner and can catch the ball in traffic with the best of them. Chase should be a Top 5 pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
- DeVonta Smith (Alabama)-6/1/175: Smith has taken full advantage with his performance in 2020. Smith has become a playmaking machine for Alabama and has stepped up his game after the injury to wideout Jaylen Waddle. Smith creates separation with his elite footwork and his elusiveness. Smith should hear his name called possibly in the Top 10 of the 2021 NFL draft
- Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)-5’10/182: If not for his injury Waddle would arguably be #2 on this list. Waddle has elite speed and he knows how to use it whether it’s as a wide receiver or in special teams. Despite his injury, we could see Waddle get selected somewhere in the Top 15.
- Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)-6’1/210: Bateman doesn’t get the media exposure like Smith has, but make no mistake that Bateman is one of the most exciting receivers in the country. Bateman is averaging a little over 20 yards a reception and becomes more of a running back after the catch. Opting out mid-way through the season to prepare for the draft could push him down a bit as he is projected to go in the middle of the 1st round.
- Rondale Moore (Purdue)-5’9/175: Moore is your ideal slot receiver at 5’9 and weighing in at 180. Moore is extremely elusive and features a very quick 1st step off the line of scrimmage. Moore’s ability to stop on a dime and to change direction without slowing down makes him a dangerous receiver. Moore might go late in the 1st round in the draft.
- Terrance Marshall Jr. (LSU)-6’3/200: Marshall has taken full advantage of replacing Ja’Marr Chase as the primary target at the wide receiver position. Marshall’s size and deceptive speed has catapulted his draft stock immensely as he is projected to go late in the 1st or early on Day 2.
- Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)-6’0/185: Wallace is a deep threat as he has the ability to stretch the field and gains yardage after the catch with his top-end speed. Wallace’s overall skill set should be enough to get him selected on Day 2.
- Chris Olave (Ohio State)-6’0/185: How can we have a top 10 wide receiver list without including a Buckeye. Olave is emerging as a top tier wideout who can beat you anywhere on the field. Current projections has Olave going somewhere on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL draft.
- Sage Surratt (Wake Forest)-6’3/215: Surratt would be higher on this list if he played for a better offensive team other than Wake Forest. Despite opting out of the season, Surratt’s combination of size and strength to go along with his athleticism makes him a lethal weapon. Surratt should be a late Day 2 pick.
- Seth Williams (Auburn)-6’3/220: Williams has the size and skill set that NFL teams covert as Williams possesses a high catch radius and isn’t afraid to go into traffic for the ball. Williams is dangerous in the red zone as often wins the 50/50 balls and is a solid blocker as well. Williams is projected to go later on the Day 2.
Final Thoughts: The wide receiver group could have the most selections in the 2021 NFL draft; which was the case in the 2020 NFL draft as well. The talent level at the wide receiver position should produce talent throughout all 7 rounds and also talent among the UDFA (undrafted free agents) signings, just like the 2020 class did.