The 2020 NFL Draft is over and teams are getting comfortable with their new draft picks. The next class of players is getting prepared now for another year of college football. Each position will be analyzed in the coming days. Here are the best 2021 NFL Draft prospects: wide receivers.
Note: Players will not be ranked in the article. This is best used as a watch list for the 2020 season.
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU Tigers
The 2020 NFL Draft class was one of the best, but Chase won the Biletnikoff Award last season as the nation’s best receiver. He is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, which is good enough for the NFL-level. While he’ll be without Joe Burrow this season, Chase has already proven to be a great wide receiver who should be selected highly in the 2021 NFL Draft.
He was ok as a freshman and finished the year with 23 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns. LSU won the Peach Bowl over UCF that season. Chase was a big part of LSU’s National Championship team this past season, as he hauled in 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. His production will likely go down without Burrow, but Chase is a premier talent.
Rondale Moore, Purdue Boilermakers
Moore is often times the best player on the field for Purdue and has made a huge impact in his two seasons with the team. He might be a little undersized at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, but he is explosive. NFL teams looking for a playmaker will be checking in on Moore this season.
His best season yet came when he was a freshman. He registered 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns, as Purdue made a bowl game. Moore battled injuries in his second year on campus and played in just four games. He had 29 receptions for 387 yards and two touchdowns. A healthy Moore should be able to produce and be a difference-maker for Purdue in 2020.
Justyn Ross, Clemson Tigers
His knack for acrobatic catches is great, but Ross is a solid receiver overall for Clemson. Ross is 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, which will have him follow in the footsteps of other big receivers who went from Clemson to the NFL. With Tee Higgins gone to the NFL, Ross will be the number one target for Trevor Lawrence on the Tigers’ quest for another National Championship.
Even though Clemson recruits well, Ross saw the field as a freshman totaling 46 receptions for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. Clemson won the National Championship with Ross’ help that season. His numbers went down in 2019, as he finished the year with 66 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns. The Tigers made the College Football Playoff again, but lost to LSU. Ross will be expected to produce more in 2020 and doing so could position him well for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Tamorrion Terry, Florida State Seminoles
Terry has been a big-play receiver for the Seminoles over the last two seasons. He has a big body at 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, which will be a competitive advantage at the next level. He’ll have to produce a lot in 2020 for Florida State to take the next step and grow their program, but also to help himself out when it comes to the draft.
He immediately produced for Florida State by posting 35 receptions for 744 yards and eight touchdowns in his freshman season. Florida State went 5-7 that season. Terry had even better numbers as a sophomore with 60 receptions for 1,188 yards and nine touchdowns. The team also improved to have a 6-7 record. If Terry puts up another good season, he could leave Florida State and be selected relatively early in the 2021 NFL Draft.
DeVonta Smith, Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has had a lot of good receivers recently, but now is Smith’s time to shine. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound receiver decided to return to school while fellow teammates Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy left school for the NFL. A good campaign this season will help Smith be a first-round pick just like his former teammates.
He had modest production as a freshman with eight receptions for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Smith was a bigger part of the offense as a sophomore, catching 42 passes for 693 yards and six touchdowns. Alabama made the College Football Playoff that season, but lost to Clemson in the National Championship. In 2019, Smith had 68 catches for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns to help lead Alabama to 11 wins, including a victory over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Smith produced well last season and has a chance for even more targets this year to help his draft stock.
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama Crimson Tide
Waddle can do everything from catching passes to being a great return man. He is 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, meaning he will have to add some strength for the NFL, but his ability with the ball in his hands is incredible. With a lot of receivers leaving for the NFL last season, Waddle will combine with Smith to create a good wide receiver duo.
He was a freshman in 2018 and had 45 catches for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. As mentioned, Alabama made the College Football Playoff that season, but missed out the next. Waddles’ numbers also took a small hit, as he caught 33 passes for 560 yards and six touchdowns. He has two kick returns and one punt return for a touchdown in his career. A team wanting a good slot receiver and return man will be looking Waddle’s way in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Seth Williams, Auburn Tigers
Williams is another big-bodied wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft class. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound wideout has the size to win a lot of matchups at both the college and NFL level. Williams had to go through some growing pains as freshman Bo Nix started at quarterback for the Tigers, but he still showed what he could do.
As a freshman in 2018, Williams had 26 catches for 534 yards and five touchdowns. Auburn went 8-5 with a win in the Music City Bowl to cap off the year. His production improved in 2019, as he caught 59 passes for 830 yards and eight touchdowns. The Tigers went 9-4, but lost the Outback Bowl to Minnesota. If Nix can improve as a passer a little bit, Williams could see a huge increase in production, which will only help him in the eyes of the NFL.
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