https://www.pff.com/news/draft-2021-nfl ... -prospects
1. JA’MARR CHASE, LSU
Biggest pro: Play strength
The chemistry Chase shared with QB Joe Burrow during LSU's 2019 national title run was unlike anything college football has ever seen. Both players played their part to perfection — Burrow netted a 141.3 passer rating when targeting his wide receiver, Chase generated 3.52 yards per route run and both players graded above 90.0.
Chase's physicality was the backbone of that success. The then 19-year-old looked like a grown man among boys out there at times, and it showed at the line of scrimmage, when he went toe-to-toe against press-man coverage, in contested scenarios and after the catch.
Chase broke 22 tackles on 84 receptions in 2019 and still ranks first in touchdowns against press coverage since 2019 (12) even though he opted out of the 2020 season. Handling Chase's physicality is going to be a tall order for any cornerback at the NFL level.
Biggest con: If anything, shiftiness
We are being nitpicky with this one.
He may not be as shifty as Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith, the other blue-chip wide receiver prospects in this class, but it didn’t matter in his uber-productive 2019 campaign, and it shouldn’t matter at the next level. Chase still fried NFL-caliber corners back in that record-breaking 2019 season, recording 26 receptions for 487 yards and six scores against a combination of A.J. Terrell, Trevon Diggs, C.J. Henderson, Noah Igbinoghene and Patrick Surtain II.
Tight end Kyle Pitts and offensive tackle Penei Sewell are rare and fantastic prospects, but Chase should be the first non-quarterback off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft.
3. DEVONTA SMITH, ALABAMA
Biggest pro: Ball skills
We could go in a lot of different directions here. His top-notch route running, fluidity and release package are all alluring traits, but his ball skills are arguably his best asset.
Smith seemingly made highlight-reel grabs every week and recorded an unbelievably low drop rate over his time at Bama. Among FBS wide receivers with over 200 targets beyond the line of scrimmage since 2018, Smith ranks No. 1 in drop rate at just 3.6%. He plucks the ball out of the air with ease and stood stronger than many would think in contested scenarios. His seven contested touchdowns since 2019 actually tied for the most in the Power 5.
Biggest con: Musculature
This is a surprise to no one, as the 170-pound frame is the only noteworthy red flag on Smith’s scouting report.
We’ve never really seen a wide receiver with his build find immense success at the next level. Then again, this is the first time we have seen such a complete prospect with this kind of frame.
Smith does everything at the position at a high level and didn’t let his slenderness get in the way during his 2020 Heisman campaign, which saw him go up against some of the country's best defensive backs. He still found a way to win and earned the highest single-season grade we've ever given to a wide receiver (95.6). Don’t overthink this one.