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NFL Draft 2021: Top 5 wide receiver prospects

LSU
LSU's Ja'Marr Chase flexes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Kyle Heim
ANALYST
Modified 27 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

A record-breaking 13 wide receivers were selected in the first two rounds of the 2020 NFL draft. Once again, this year's draft class is loaded with potential for the position.

And like last year's Justin Jefferson, Chase Claypool, CeeDee Lamb and others, the 2021 draft class has no shortage of pass catchers who have the ability to make an immediate impact in the NFL.

Rankings of the top 5 wide receivers in the 2021 Draft

The Southeastern Conference once again dominates the top wide receiver class.

1. Ja'Marr Chase (LSU Tigers)

Remember this man?

It's been nearly 16 months since Chase's final game with LSU but it was a memorable one. The 6-foot, 208-pound wide receiver torched Clemson in the 2020 National Championship for 221 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches in the 42-25 victory.

The performance capped off an 84-reception, 1,780-yard and 20-touchdown 2019 campaign playing with Heisman Trophy winner and the 2020 No. 1 pick Joe Burrow.

Chase is a terrific route runner and has home-run ability, averaging 21.2 yards per catch in 2019, and could go as early as fifth in this year's draft if the Cincinnati Bengals decide they want to give Burrow and Chase a reunion.

2. DeVonta Smith (Alabama Crimson Tide)

Alabama
Alabama's DeVonta Smith poses with the Heisman Trophy award.

The most memorable name among wide receivers from the 2020 college football season, Alabama's DeVonta Smith posted video game numbers en route to winning the Heisman Trophy.

The 6-foot, 166-pound senior recorded 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. On the biggest stage in the 2021 National Championship against Ohio State, he caught 12 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns.

One concern is his size, but if a team is willing to overlook that aspect and believes he can add weight, he offers great playmaking ability, he's a great pass catcher and is another really good route runner.

3. Jaylen Waddle (Alabama Crimson Tide)

Alabama appears to have another pair of wide receivers destined to get drafted in the first round.

After Henry Ruggs was selected 12th by the Las Vegas Raiders and Jerry Jeudy 15th by the Denver Broncos in 2020, Waddle will likely join teammate Smith in the first round of this year's draft.

Another favorite target of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in 2020, Waddle made the most of his opportunities playing second fiddle to Smith. The 5-10, 182-pound junior caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 21.1 yards per catch.

4. Elijah Moore (Mississippi Rebels)

Mississippi wide receiver Elijah Moore celebrates a touchdown against Arkansas
Mississippi wide receiver Elijah Moore celebrates a touchdown against Arkansas

Surprise ... another SEC wide receiver.

Elijah Moore was a slot machine for Ole Miss in 2020, hauling in 86 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns from the slot.

In the Rebels' toughest game of the season, a 63-48 shootout loss to Alabama, Moore escaped for 11 catches and 143 yards. The reception hog recorded double-digit catches in seven of eight games.

His 5-9, 185-pound frame may worry some teams, but he's another explosive receiver with big-play ability.

5. Rondale Moore (Purdue Boilermakers)

Moore may not play in the SEC, but he's built like most of the other receivers on this list.

At 5-9, 180 pounds, Moore is another deep threat in receiver position with tremendous speed. In limited action as a junior last season, Moore caught 35 passes for 270 yards and missed eight games during his sophomore season with a hamstring injury.

As a freshman, however, Moore was electric, registering 114 catches for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 11.0 yards per catch.

Published 27 Apr 2021
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