As we move through the pro days and hear the noise of outlandish forty times and verticals through the roof, I have personally gone through and done more research on every position. I have finished the QB's and now we begin the WR re-evaluation.
The Football Scout 365 Big Board
Don't forget to check out the full Football Scout 365 NFL Draft Big Board.
After Further Review NFL Draft Edition On YouTube
You can check out our Football Scout 365 After Further Review NFL Draft Edition on Youtube. We have five shows so far, three covering the QB position where I break down and connect the dots between player skillset and what the player displays on film in relation to such buzzwords like arm talent, arm angle, pocket presence etc.
What I Look For When Evaluating a WR
The Ability to separate, can play inside or outside, strong hands, the ability to fight through press, can track the football, good body control, good hands, attacks the catch point, good route running, agility, ability to make defenders miss in space, effort without the football, uses leverage, can stack a DB, can make contested catches in traffic, can box out, plays bigger than his size, or uses his size well, explosive.
2021 NFL Draft WR Rankings
Okay, so let's dive into the WR rankings;
1) Alabama WR DeVonta Smith 6-1 175 lbs Instant Impact Player
Smith is an absolute gamer who rises to the occasion in the big moments. His combination of quick, efficient footwork, great hands, and fluid route running are tailor-made for the NFL. Smith was second fiddle to Waddle before the Waddle injury. Smith proved before the Waddle injury that he could handle the number one role in the Alabama offense.
2) LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase 6-1 208 lbs Instant Impact Player
Chase broke the SEC single-season receiving record in 2019 and was one of Joe Burrows's go-to WR's. Chase has great hands, is a good route runner, and is good running after the catch. He is also a willing blocker in the run game. The big question is how well he will play outside of the structure he had at LSU under OC Joe Brady and catching passes from Joe Burrow, who had a historic season. Chase is an outstanding player who will undoubtedly find his way at the next level regardless of the system.
3) Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle 5-10 182 lbs Instant Impact Player
Waddle is a versatile athlete; he can line up anywhere on the field. He is by far the most difficult player to defend in the 2021 NFL Draft. DB's struggle to get their hands on him at the line of scrimmage, and while in coverage, they often are left behind in his wake. His route running ability and precise cuts allow him to get separation from DB's. Unlike Ruggs (many compare to Ruggs), Waddle is not just a straight-line speed player who relies on downfield throws; he is effective at all levels displaying great hands, and can high point the football with ease. He might be the next Tyreek Hill in the NFL (not a comp, or even a guarantee); Waddle is an undersized player yet possesses top-level NFL WR traits. It would be best if you always had an extra set of eyes on him (help defender). Waddle wins one on one with ease. Waddle could quickly become the top WR in this draft once we look back in hindsight.
4) Purdue WR Rondale Moore 5-7 180 lbs Potential Upside Player
We have compared Rondale Moore to Tyreek Hill, Steve Smith JR, Tyler Lockett, and Saquon Barkley. Moore defines speed in space, but he also defies logic at 5-9 180lbs; he reportedly can squat 600lbs, and it shows on the field. When he is not making a defender miss in a phone booth, he has the power to run through tackles. Moore can lineup all over the formation. He can flex out wide, in the slot, or the backfield. He is a good route runner. He is also a dynamic special teams player. The only knock is his health post-injury. It feels like forever since his incredible 2018 season, where he compiled 2000+ all-purpose yards. He did make his way back in 2020, and while he was not 100%, he showed once again why we believe he is worthy of being a first-round pick.
5) Florida WR Kadarius Toney 5-11 189 lbs Potential Upside Player
Fast, with track speed, a versatile player who played QB in HS. Toney projects as a slot WR with a limited route tree that needs to be diversified. He can break a game wide open in the blink of an eye and line up all over the formation and in the backfield when needed.
6) LSU WR Terrace Marshall 6-3 200 lbs Potential Upside Player
Another LSU WR with size, speed, and athleticism will enter the league in 2021. Marshall is a physical WR with good body control and often uses his body to wall off defenders. Marshall attacks the football at the catch point. Marshall had only two drops in 2019. He needs to work on his route running at the next level.
7) Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman 6-1 210 lbs Potential Upside Player
Bateman is a versatile player; he is a good route runner, has excellent ball skills, and has good size. He is not a player who takes the top off of a defense, but he does have the frame to box out a defender in a tight area, displaying an ability to attack the football at its highest point. His precision as a route runner is where he finds separation.
8) North Carolina WR Dyami Brown 6-1 195 lbs Potential Upside Player
A big-play threat the last two seasons in Chapel Hill, Brown averaged 20+ yards per reception in 2019-20. He plays with an explosive burst both off the LOS, and within his routes; he can go from 75% speed, lulling a DB to sleep before opening it up to 100% and leaving the DB behind. He does well tracking the football, and after the catch, he can break tackles. Where scouts are warry, his route tree is lacking. He runs a basic college-level tree that needs development.
9) Michigan WR Nico Collins 6-4 215 lbs Potential Upside Player
Collins is a post player at WR; he uses his frame to box out defenders and does a great job tracking the football. At 6-4 215, Collins has the speed to stack DB's consistently. He is a player that NFL QB's can rely on in the RedZone; He can adjust to the back shoulder throws, and on in-breaking routes in the red area, he uses his frame well, walling off defenders. Coaches and GM's will fall in love with his skillset.
10) Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore 5-9 184 lbs Potential Upside Player
Not the biggest WR out there, Moore shows impressive strength and physicality for someone his size. Moore also offers some good (albeit not elite). His top asset is his top-end speed, and he can snap off explosive plays if defenses give him some space. He projects as a slot receiver in the NFL. He can line up in the backfield, slot, or outside, which adds to his value.