2021 Draft Prospect Rankings: Wide Receiver Edition (1/14/21)

(These are rankings based on current information acquired. Subject to be updated in a different article and assuming all prospects declare for the draft. Thanks for reading and enjoy!)

*NFL Player Comparisons (Comps) are NOT career arcs but more so play style and archetype category. Using comps are a good way to envision how a player may look in a certain scheme, their best usage or their mannerisms during game situation.*

(X Receiver: (3) Physical #1 WR on the LOS.

Z Receiver: (2) Off LOS, more likely to be in motion.

F (Slot) Receiver: (5) Off LOS, shifty, savy, possession traits to explosive athlete.)

1.) DeVonta Smith (Z) 6’1″ 175 lbs. – Will Fuller

“Let’s get to the comp first because I know it raised some eyebrows. Although Smith may not run a fast forty time, his game speed is dangerous like Fuller’s. If you watch Fuller’s most recent tape, he wins with not only speed but scheme and route concepts. Smith has the ability to be inserted into an offense the same way and provide even more. He possesses a freakish wingspan, leaping ability, and a steady pair of hands. Some may have concerns with his slight frame but he has the ability to get stronger at the next level and you’d obviously have to protect him from adverse play calling that would put him in harm’s way. He’s a one vs. one man beater, premier route salesmen and primary perimeter player. He also adds special teams value in the return game. He’s my #1 WR because of the talent that he possesses can be a constant headache for NFL Defensive Coordinators and he provides intangible character traits that will benefit your locker room.”

2.) Ja’Marr Chase (X) 6’1″ 208″ lbs. – Dez Bryant

“I’m going to be honest, watching Chase live was better than going back and watching every snap he played. His 2019 presentation was so strong it left me wanting more. Yes he can catch, run, and finish but the subtlety in his game wasn’t there. (Ex. Precise Route Running, Blocking angles) With NFL coaching he should excel at that and blossom to his full potential. He can win at the moment of truth (contested catch point) and he has YAC ability. Most of the passes thrown his way were virtually perfect due to elite QB play but most importantly he caught them. No need to make this evaluation harder than it really is but it’s my job to project what a player CAN BE, while also analyzing the holes in their game so that there’s a proper projection. There’s fine tuning to be done but at the end of the day you’re getting a big physical Dez Bryant like specimen at the WR position.”

3.) Kadarius Toney (Slot) 5’11’ 194 lbs. – Antonio Brown/Percy Harvin

“Toney’s progression to more of a complete football player from just being a gadget guy here and there, has been a joy to watch. He says it all came down to him and coaches nitpicking his game. From his releases, to his route running, to taking more control of his role in the offense, he fully committed to the process. He really shined in 2020 and his draft stock soared. I believe he hasn’t even scratched the surface yet of what he could become. There’s room to grow in his route running and there’s room to grow with his conditioning and there more room for muscle on his frame. He can become one of the better overall WRs in the game with his work ethic and a good coaching staff. Yes I went there with the Antonio Brown comp. Confident hands, contact balance, never quit run after catch. It’s all there. In fact, he almost has the same gait while running as Brown. Look for Toney to take the league by storm.”

4.) Rashod Bateman (Slot) 6’1″ 210 lbs. – Jarvis Landry/Justin Jefferson

“Bateman looks to be NFL ready when it comes to his route running. He’s another example of how hard it is ranking wideouts because there’s 3-4 different types. He looks to be more of a possession guy due to to his understanding of leverage and spacing while trying to get open. Bateman lacks the elite size and speed of a few guys in this top 10 but I can easily see him getting on the field early because of his chain moving ability. He could slide in the draft and he may even be ranked higher here than his athleticism shows but I believe he’ll be a solid pro with the right team and system.”

5.) Tylan Wallace (Z) 6’0″ 185 lbs. – Nate Washington

“Another surprising comp, I know. However if you do your research you’ll see their game is similar. (No really go check him out.) Prime Nate Washington is probably one of the most underrated wide receivers of his era. After only being considered a deep threat early in his career, Washington developed an all around game. Wallace shares these attributes with him: Jump ball catch ability, run after catch ability, and most importantly consistency. He’s not as fast but Wallace has big hands and plucks the ball out of the air and shows excellent attitude and finish after the catch. He had a significant knee injury in 2019 but looked to be back at optimal form in 2020. I look forward to watching compete at the next level.”

6.) Terrace Marshall Jr. (X) – 6’3″ 200 lbs. – Tyler Johnson/Tim Patrick

“Size, size, size. Marshall is at this spot due to his rare blend of speed and height. His hands could get better because I do see a few concentration drops but when he’s on it looks special. He played well despite average QB play in 2020 and showed grit by playing through a rough season for his team. He can run away from safeties and linebackers underneath and go up and get it on the perimeter and in the middle of the field. He has room to improve with his route running and focus and that in itself is scary given the fact he’s producing with such raw traits.”

7.) Elijah Moore (Slot) 5’9″ 184 lbs. – Tyler Lockett

“This is a pretty generous comp if you know how much I like Tyler Lockett’s game but I can see glimpses of him in Elijah Moore’s game. Lockett had some of the best route running tape I’ve ever seen when he came out of Kansas State and that’s where Moore is lacking but he’s not far behind. Moore has anywhere from gadget player usage to starting slot WR potential. He’s best off the ball avoiding press from corners. He needs a clean release to operate. He shows explosive traits that make him a mismatch for most defenders at the next level.”

8.) Jaylen Waddle (Slot) 5’10” 182 lbs. – Parris Campbell/Mecole Hardman

“Waddle is HIGH on several boards that I’ve seen. Understandably so, his highlight tape is awesome but I don’t scout with that. I use a player’s every snap to assess his talent and projection. I see a player with medical baggage that could carryover due to, not only his size but his build. Those two words don’t mean the same thing by the way. Size can be referred to as his height/weight but build is more about where weight is distributed. So the Tyreek Hill comps sound the part but the two players are nowhere near built the same. Now for the projection. I see him as a WR3 at the next level that can stretch the field, be used on screens, and as a returner. If he stays healthy, gets off press and runs precise routes he could create a niche for himself as a reliable speed WR.”

9.) Amari Rodgers (Slot) 5’10 210 lbs. – Deebo Samuel

“Not to discredit Amari Rodgers here but this was initially Rondale Moore’s spot but his 2020 tape was underwhelming. If Moore returns to his 2018 form, he is way higher on this list but let’s save that for an updated WR rankings in the near future shall we? Now back to our regularly scheduled program. Rodgers has risen up my rankings due to his tackle breaking ability. According to tape, apparently he’s load to bring down as a ball carrier. Defenders from all positions, consistently bounce off of him. He’s a speed to power runner and somewhat of a bowling ball when his momentum gets going. He has a decent set of hands although I don’t like the consistency of them when in crowded areas and when a defender is able to close quickly on him. He should be used as a RB/Slot weapon at the next level similar to Deebo Samuel.”

10.) Cornell Powell (X) 6’0″ 210 lbs. – Anquan Boldin/Antonio Bryant

“Powell has really impressed me with his play strength and dexterity. He had to sit and wait for his turn at Clemson but he really showed his talent in 2020 when given the license to ball. He’s physical, sneaky quick, and an above average route runner with strong hands. The last collegiate WR that had an Anquan Boldin comp from me went on to be a Pro Bowler in his second season. (A.J. Brown) I know he’s not getting a lot of love now but I expect Powell to climb boards as the process goes on. Senior Bowl should be an excellent place for him to dominate his one on ones and showcase his alpha playing style.”

(11-42 Rondale Moore, Tamorrion Terry, Dwayne Eskridge, Anthony Schwartz, Tutu Atwell, Jonathan Adams Jr., Tre Nixon, Frank Darby, Dazz Newsome, Chris Olave, Sage Surratt, Trevon Grimes, Dyami Brown, Justin Hall, Marquez Stevenson, Nico Collins, Seth Williams, Damon Hazelton, Josh Palmer, Desmond Fitzpatrick, Chris Autman-Bell, Jaelon Darden, Shi Smith, Eli Stove, Austin Watkins Jr., Simi Fehoko, Whop Philyor, Amon Ra St. Brown, Taysir Mack, J.D. Spielman, T.J. Vasher, Brennan Eagles.)

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