The 2021 NFL Draft wide receiver prospects may not be as talented as the receivers who were picked a year ago, but this is certainly no group to sleep on. We could very easily see a pair of wide receivers taken in the top 10 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft this season, which hasn’t been done in quite some time.
The group of wide receivers this season include a Heisman Trophy winner in Devonta Smith out of Alabama who proved to be as good as they get. There is also an exceptionally talented wide receiver from LSU who could be the first receiver off the board this year.
Finding good receivers isn’t always a very hard thing to do, but these guys who are projected to go in the first round could be the next wave of talent at the position. Quarterbacks need to have dependable targets to throw to, which is what makes the receiving position the second most important position in the NFL Draft to address.
A team with a loaded wide receiver room is far scarier than a team with a good quarterback and not many weapons. One of the reasons the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are so good is because of their receiver rooms, and we could see the next generation of superstars coming into the NFL very soon.
Here’s a look at the four best wide receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft.
4. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Rondale Moore is a short, yet speedy wide receiver who could slip to the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The reason Moore checks in at the fourth spot on our list is because of his lack of consistency.
Moore, as a freshman, logged 114 receptions for 1,258 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Over the past two seasons combined, Moore has logged 64 receptions, 657 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. Sure, injuries held him back, but he hasn’t proven he can get back to that form he had as a freshman, which could cause his stock to fall.
He still cracks the list as one of the best receivers in the NFL Draft because of the potential he brings. Moore has the ability to flip a switch and toast a cornerback for 70 yards down the field. There is no doubt that he is very up and down, which is why he’s not higher on this list.
3. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Rashod Bateman, in my opinion, could be the biggest steal of this year’s draft. Bateman has all the tangibles to be an elite NFL wide receiver and his career at Minnesota proved that to be true.
He stands at 6-foot-2 and has the ability to make every catch at the NFL level. Bateman hauled in 147 receptions, 2,395 receiving yards, logged an average of 16.3 yards per catch, and found the end zone 19 times. Bateman is a pure receiver, but was held to just five games in 2020.
Bateman could see his draft stock fall due to only paying in five games in 2020. Minnesota themselves was held to just seven games, so a lot of teams will likely look at Bateman’s 2019 tape when deciding if they want him or not. Any team who passes on Bateman in the 2021 NFL Draft will regret it, that’s for sure.
2. Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Devonta Smith is the rare Alabama player who actually spent all four years with the program and will now be rewarded with a likely first round draft selection. Smith, who stands at 6-foot-1, won the Heisman Trophy in 2020 and became the first wide receiver to do so since 1991 when Desmond Howard won the award.
Smith was a massive difference maker for the Crimson Tide in 2020 and was hands down the most exciting and thrilling player in college football. Smith hauled in 117 receptions, 1,856 receiving yards, logged a 15.9 yards per reception average, and scored 25 total touchdowns (one rushing touchdown, one kick return touchdown) in 2020.
He has the ability to return kicks and could be a very versatile player at the NFL level. NFL teams could get creative with Smith and allow him to run the ball, return the ball, and obviously catch the ball as well. His ability to do literally everything is why he checks in as the second best receiver in this year’s draft.
1. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Ja’Marr Chase checks in at the top spot on our list simply because he will transition the best to the NFL level. Chase, who spent his college career at LSU and won a National Championship in 2019, opted out of the 2020 season to focus on gearing up for the NFL, which certainly saved some wear and tear on his body.
Chase has some of the best hands studied on film in a long time and his ability to get vertical and hustle down the field is a dream for every head coach. He stands at six feet tall and isn’t the tallest guy, but his ability to make contested catches doesn’t show that.
He logged 107 receptions, 2,093 receiving yards, a 19.6 yards per reception average, and 23 receiving touchdowns in just two season with the Tigers and that was while splitting reps with current Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson. Chase is my top wide receiver prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft and he will be an excellent pro and could be a top seven pick.