Top Prospects by Place
Quarterbacks | Operating Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends
1. Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
After a dominating sophomore season (84/1,780/20) at LSU with Joe Burrow behind middle, Chase elected to sit down out 2020 as a result of Covid considerations. His greatest success got here in 4 explosive video games (10/229/4, 8/227/3, 7/197/7, and 9/221/2) whereas additionally gaining over 100 yards in 5 different contests (8/147, 7/127/2, 8/123, 6/140/1, and 6/144/2).
He involves the NFL with some concern together with his route operating and talent to beat the press vs. high bodily cornerbacks. I don’t view both opinion or thought as a problem. Chase will work the brief areas of the discipline to be a sequence mover on fast slants, comebacks, and crossing patterns. LSU used him on bubble screens and deep finish cuts exhibiting his versatility to make performs in the passing recreation. He’ll must fine-tune some areas of his recreation at the subsequent degree. Chase works arduous whereas proudly owning the actions to shine throughout the discipline.
Chase thrived on successful in the deep passing due to nice arms and his explosiveness over the lengthy discipline in faculty. He’ll command double protection and win many leap balls. His basis ability set is elite whereas having a difference-maker ceiling.
The NFL has lacked the subsequent wave of electrical 100-catch huge receivers to interchange Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Brandon Marshall. Chase will stand tall in the NFL whereas anticipating him to have a Corridor of Fame profession. He must be the first huge receiver off the board this season, and I hope the Bengals swoop in and add him with their younger creating offense with the fifth decide total.
2. Devonta Smith, Alabama
In every season at Alabama, Smith improved every of his stats. His window for enjoying time and possibilities had been restricted early in his faculty profession as a result of the Crimson Tide having distinctive depth and expertise at huge receiver (Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle). After exhibiting progress in 2019 (68/1,256/14), Smith received the Heisman Trophy final season after catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. He capped off the 12 months with three explosive showings (15/184/2, 7/130/3, and 12/215/3), with the latter coming in the nationwide championship recreation.
Smith can run a sub 4.40 forty-yard sprint, however he lacks measurement (6’0” and 175 lbs.), which can deter some groups from including him as a franchise first-round decide. He makes up for this shortfall with nice route operating, excessive quickness, and open discipline potential.
Final 12 months Alabama used him on many performs the place he began behind the line of scrimmage to benefit from his velocity and quickness. His actions and body had a DeSean Jackson really feel, however Smith will get many extra possibilities over the short-areas of the discipline. I anticipate him to personal an edge out of the slot, and he’ll get off the line higher than anticipated towards press protection for his measurement and power.
3. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Over three seasons at Alabama, Waddle caught 106 passes for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns. His greatest 12 months got here in his freshman 12 months (45/848/7). In 2020, he missed six video games with an ankle damage. Waddle began final season with 4 dynamic video games (8/134/2, 5/142/1, 6/120, and 6/161/1), which was his first alternative to shine as a top-two receiver for the Crimson Tide. He returned 20 punts for 487 yards and a landing in his sophomore 12 months, plus 5 kickoffs for 175 yards and a rating.
His play in faculty offers him an explosive depth risk really feel, however his quickness, imaginative and prescient, and route operating undertaking to be a extra full participant. Waddle is superb in the open discipline with the ball in his arms whereas taking part in greater than his measurement (5’10” and 180 lbs.). His expertise towards press protection is restricted, and plenty of of his catches got here in house.
I sense traits of Antonio Brown with rather a lot much less expertise and alternative in faculty. Waddle has power in his decrease physique with the ability set to create a catching window throughout the discipline. I’d like to see him land in Inexperienced Bay to play on the reverse facet of Davante Adams.
4. Terrace Marshall, LSU
In 2019, Marshall caught a chunk of the Joe Burrow journey to the nationwide championship, resulting in 46 catches for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns. He flashed over the first seven video games final 12 months (48/731/10) earlier than opting out. His greatest output got here in the third recreation (11/235/3) of the season towards Missouri.
He tasks to be a vertical risk early in his profession whereas doing harm on comeback throws. Marshall affords measurement (6’2” and 205 lbs.) and velocity (4.38 forty at his professional day). His launch appears questionable and lacks tempo. To achieve a excessive degree, he wants so as to add extra combat to his recreation off the snap and at the high of his routes.
Total, Marshall has an expert really feel with the expertise to play nicely as WR2 in a high offense. His ceiling falls on his motivation to work arduous on his route operating.
5. Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Moore is one other undersized huge receiver (5’9” and 185 lbs.) in the 2021 draft class. He completed final 12 months with eight catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns, which is much more spectacular when including in solely eight video games performed. Moore had seven video games with 10 catches or extra. His season began with a wonderful outing (10/227) and ended with three straight affect video games (14/238/3, 13/225/2, and 12/139).
He tasks as a slot receiver with the potential to check a protection in the deep passing recreation. Moore can be a zone buster whereas probably struggling towards bodily corners in tight protection. His launch appears favorable with the arms to win in shut quarters.
Moore continues to enhance whereas providing sneaky upside. His reported 40-yard time (sub 4.40) put him in the recreation with the high receivers on this 12 months’s draft. An NFL staff in search of an inside receiver can be thrilled with what he brings to the desk. Saints had success with Brandin Cooks, which can be the greatest place for Moore to hit the floor operating.
6. Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
In his sophomore season in 2019, Bateman caught 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns to maneuver his identify onto the NFL radar. He performed in 5 video games final season (36/472/2) earlier than deciding to opt-out after a recreation was canceled as a result of Covid. Bateman completed his faculty profession with six affect video games (7/175/2, 7/105/1, 6/177/2, 7/203/1, 6/147/1, and 10/139/1) over 31 begins.
Bateman has a superb really feel for establishing defenders off the line and the ability set to make performs in any respect three ranges of the protection. His arms are property whereas coming in at 6’0” and 190 lbs. He lacks the quickness to create house in a deep route tree, and elite cornerbacks can shut him down.
There’s a good participant in Bateman’s bundle whereas bettering in a few essential areas. I anticipate him to get drafted greater than most websites have him ranked.
7. Kadarius Toney, Florida
After working in a break up position between operating again and huge receiver over his first three seasons (1,025 mixed yards with three touchdowns and 50 catches), Toney had a beginning alternative for Florida in 2020. He completed 70 catches for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns with some harm on the floor (19/161/1). His star rose over his ultimate three video games (8/108/1, 9/182/1, and eight/153/1) in his faculty profession.
He got here to the Gators as a quarterback whereas transitioning to huge receiver. Toney missed time in two seasons with accidents, which restricted his improvement. His route operating has a operating again really feel the place he depends on head and shoulder fakes to create house and separation. His play grades nicely in the open discipline due to his wiggle in house.
To make an affect in the NFL, Toney wants to enhance his route operating. His decrease half paves his method to success, and he does catch the ball nicely when given an opportunity. Early in his profession, Toney could land a task as a punt returner.
8. Nico Collins, Michigan
Over his ultimate two seasons at Michigan, he labored as a deep risk resulting in 75 catches for 1,361 yards and 13 touchdowns. He opted out of 2020. His greatest output got here final 12 months towards Indiana (6/165/3) whereas failing to realize over 100 yards in every other recreation in his profession.
He brings measurement (6’4” and 215 lbs.) and velocity (4.42 forty) to the huge receiver place, however Collins affords minimal worth over the brief areas of the discipline. His arms play nicely whereas missing depth in his route operating. He’ll draw consideration in the deep passing recreation whereas needing an extended passing window to have a productive day in catches. Collins doesn’t fireplace off the line of scrimmage vs. the press with too many tells when declaring his course out of his breaks.
Collins appears to be a developmental participant with a minimal likelihood of beginning early in his profession. An NFL staff seeking to unfold the discipline with 4 huge receivers can be interested in him after the first two rounds of the draft.
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