2021 Rookie WR Tier Breakdown
With such a loaded wide receiver class it’s easier to look at tiers instead of a typical ranking. To take a look at a bunch of receivers and what skill sets they bring to the table.
Top Tier – Players that will make an impact right away and are first-round contenders.
Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) – Chase opted out of 2020 in order to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft but really took the nation by storm in 2019. He was a huge part of the Tigers’ national title run and led the SEC in with 20 receiving touchdowns and 1780 yards, while also ranking second in the conference with 84 receptions. Chase earned himself the 2019 Fred Biletnikoff award and was a Consensus All-American.
DeVonta Smith (Alabama) – Smith had a monster 2020 campaign earning a slue of awards. He was named the 2020 Heisman trophy winner, AP Player of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, and was a Consensus All-American just to name a few. DeVonta ranked first in the SEC with 117 receptions, 23 receiving touchdowns, and 1856 receiving yards. Don’t let the frame of Smith scare you this dude is a baller and reminds many of Marvin Harrison.
Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) – The former teammate of Smith at Alabama, Waddle had his 2020 cut short with an injury suffered at the beginning of the season. Although he didn’t post crazy statistics he did come in first in the SEC in yards per reception with 21.1 which really shows his ability to stretch the field. Waddle has been compared to another former teammate Henry Ruggs but many scouts have said Waddle is a better prospect than Ruggs at this point in time.
Tier Two – Players that will could be drafted in the early to middle rounds and can have an impact quickly with the right landing spot.
Terrace Marshall (LSU) – The Tigers had a bumpy 2020 season after losing many core players to the NFL. But Marshall proved to be a mainstay in the LSU offense being very effective down the field and in the red zone with his big 6’4 body. Marshall opted out late in the season to prepare for the draft but still totaled 731 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns, and 15.2 yards per reception.
Rashod Bateman (Minnesota) – Originally Bateman had opted out of the 2020 season when the Big Ten season was initially canceled. But then opted back in for 5 games with the Golden Gophers. 2019 he was one of the premier deep threats in the Big Ten averaging 20.3 yards per reception ranking first. While finishing second with 1219 receiving yards and adding 11 touchdowns.
Kadarious Toney (Florida) – The super shifty Toney was one of the key playmakers for the Gators this past season. He was dangerous as a pass catcher in the open field and also was used in the run game along with special teams as a kick/punter returner. He ended 2020 with 987 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns.
Rondale Moore (Purdue) – Moore had an injury-plagued 2019 season and only played in 3 games during 2020. But back in 2018, he lit up the Big Ten posting 114 receptions, 1258 receiving yards, 12 receiving touchdowns, and 33 kickoff returns. All ranking first in the Big Ten conference.
Dyami Brown (North Carolina) – A big playmaker at North Carolina over the past two seasons. Dyami Brown over the past two seasons had 106 receptions, 2133 receiving yards, 20 touchdowns, and 20.1 yards per reception. Brown proved to be a big weapon for the Tarheel offense hauling in a multitude of deep receptions.
D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan) – Eskridge posted career highs in 2020 for the Broncos with 8 touchdowns and 768 receiving yards. While also averaging 23.3 yards per reception on only 33 catches. He showed some versatility also being used in the kick return game and averaging 27.5 yards per return.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC) – One of the top receivers for the Trojans in his time on campus Amon-Ra St. Brown proved to be a reliable playmaker for USC. In 2019 Brown had 77 receptions, 1042 receiving yards, 13.5 yards per reception, and adding six touchdowns. In 2020 the Pac-12 only played 6 games and Brown still ranked atop the conference in receptions and receiving touchdowns.
Amari Rodgers (Clemson) – Amari stepped up in a big way for the Clemson Tigers this past season posting career highs in receptions with 77 which also led the ACC, 1020 receiving yards, and 7 receiving touchdowns. Rodgers was also led the ACC in punt returns, and punt return yards in 2018.
Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State) – During the past two seasons, Wallace has over 50 receptions each year, over 900 yards, and 14 total touchdowns over that span. In his sophomore season during 2018 Wallace posted his career highs with 86 receptions, 1491 receiving yards, 17.3 yards per reception, and 13 touchdowns.
Demetric Felton (UCLA) – Felton converted from a running back to a wide receiver heading into the Senior Bowl. Over his college career, he totaled 99 receptions, 958 receiving yards, 9.7 yards per reception, and 8 touchdowns. Felton will be a versatile prospect going into the draft with the ability to play multiple positions well.
Tier 3 – Players that may take some time to develop and could go in the later rounds or be a UDFA but have tons of upside.
Nico Collins (Michigan) – Another player who opted out of the 2020 Big Ten season Nico Collins didn’t post any big stats at Michigan. Over his collegiate career, he recorded 78 receptions, 1388 receiving yards, 17.8 yards per reception, and 13 touchdowns. With most of that productivity coming in his sophomore and junior season.
Dazz Newsome (North Carolina) – Newsome was the counterpart to Brown at North Carolina and also provided big playability. He ranked second on the team with 54 receptions, 684 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Also was one of the best punt returners in the ACC ranking second in punt return yards with 168, 9.9 yards per return, and finished first with 17 punt returns.
Chatarius Atwell (Louisville) – A scary player in open space Atwell has career totals of 139 receptions, 2303 receiving yards, 20 touchdowns, and 16.6 yards per reception. Nicknamed Tutu, he was primarily playing out of the slot and left many defenders in the dust.
Tamorrian Terry (Florida State) – 2020 was not a success for the Seminoles finishing near the bottom of the ACC standings. Also a season Tamorrian Terry wants to forget only playing in 6 games. In 2019 though he flashed some potential posting 60 receptions, 1188 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Terry has a big frame at 6’4 210 pounds and could be a steal late in the draft.
Marquez Stevenson (Houston) – Stevenson didn’t have an impressive 2020 campaign but his open-field speed is what catches the attention of NFL teams. Some have compared him to a Marquise Brown type. His best year was 2018 when he recorded 75 receptions, 1019 yards, and 9 touchdowns.
Sage Surratt (Wake Forest) – Playing less than 20 games in his collegiate career and didn’t play in 2020. Surratt showed skills in the red zone racking up 15 touchdowns over two seasons at Wake Forest. Sage is a physical receiver winning contested catches with smart positioning and high pointing the ball.
Shi Smith (South Carolina) – Smith never hit over 1000 yards in his time at South Carolina. But he did impress in the senior bowl with his quick feet and shifty ability. He also showed some skills with runs after the catch. His career highs are 57 receptions, 673 yards, and 4 touchdowns.