NFL Mock Draft: Ranking the top 10 receivers available
If you’re a fan of SEC football, then you know that the 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with solid wide receivers. It looks like six of the top seven wide-outs to be taken in this year’s draft will hail from an SEC school.
Join us as we rank the Top 10 available wide receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft. And don’t forget to check out our rankings of the Top 10 quarterbacks, as well as the Top 10 running backs, in this year’s class.
10. Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Only 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith had a more productive college career than Tylan Wallace (205 receptions, 3,424 yards, 25 touchdowns) among this year’s draft class. Wallace proved to be an excellent “jump ball” receiver with the Cowboys.
The knocks against the Oklahoma State product are a serious knee injury suffered in 2019, and a lack of breakaway speed. He projects to be an early Day 3 pick.
9. Rondale Moore, Purdue
Due to a hamstring injury and COVID-19 concerns, Rondale Moore has played just seven collegiate games since 2018.
But Moore is considered to have elite speed, making him an ideal candidate to run screens and slant routes with. It remains to be seen if he’ll develop into more than just a gadget player. Moore is likely to be a third-rounder or lower.
8. Tutu Atwell, Louisville
Tutu Atwell is anything but intimidating from a size perspective (5’9, 165 pounds), but his blinding speed is likely to make him a third-round selection.
Atwell is rumored to have run the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds. For reference, the NFL Combine record is 4.22 seconds (John Ross).
7. Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Elijah Moore had a breakout year for the Rebels in 2020. Despite playing four fewer games due to COVID-19, Moore produced career-highs in receptions (86), yards (1,193) and touchdowns (eight).
His diminutive build (5’9, 184 pounds) works against him, but Moore often played bigger than his size in college. Don’t be surprised if he turns into a solid slot receiver selected on Day 2.
6. Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Rashod Bateman played the slot for most of 2020 after opting back in for five games, and his stats weren’t all that impressive. But in 2019, when he primarily played the perimeter, Bateman lit up the Big 10.
At 6’2, 210 pounds, Bateman is one of the bigger and more physical wide-outs in the 2021 draft class. He profiles as a Day 2 selection.
5. Terrace Marshall, Jr., LSU
Terrace Marshall, Jr.’s production jumped up significantly as the No. 1 option on the perimeter for LSU following the departure of Justin Jefferson. And he didn’t have Joe Burrow throwing to him.
Marshall has the NFL build (6’4, 200 pounds), but he’s more of a classic “deep threat” wide-out, and not a true all-around talent (at least not yet). He’s projected to go in the second round.
4. Kadarius Toney, Florida
One of the better pure playmakers in the 2021 Draft, Kadarius Toney can line up as a wide-out, slot receiver, punt/kick returner, or even as a running back in a gadget play.
Toney brings a unique blend of speed, route-running, and toughness to the table. His Senior Bowl effort only raised his draft stock. Don’t be shocked if Toney sneaks into the first round.
3. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
The first part of a solid one-two punch at wide-out for Alabama is Jaylen Waddle.
His numbers don’t leap off the page, as he suffered an ankle injury early in 2020 and was overshadowed by the likes of Henry Ruggs and Smith in his time with the Crimson Tide.
But scouts see the next Tyreek Hill in Waddle – a raw talent that can be refined with the right coaching staff. Look for him to be off the board by the end of the first round.
2. DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Smith went from solid to outstanding in 2020, as he joined a select group of Heisman-winning wide-outs in his senior year at Alabama. He tallied an eye-popping 1,856 receiving yards on 117 catches with 23 touchdowns and only five dropped passes.
Smith might have been a Top 5 pick with a little more muscle – he’s 6’1 but a slender 165 pounds. Despite his build, Smith should be selected in the upper half of the first round.
1. Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
It was a shame that college football fans didn’t get to see Ja’Marr Chase in 2020, as he opted out due to COVID-19 concerns, but it’s hard to imagine how he would have topped his otherworldly 2019 statistics.
Chase tallied 1,780 yards on 84 receptions in his sophomore season while adding 20 touchdowns. His physicality, among other attributes, have leapt out at many scouts. He’s likely to be selected somewhere in the Top 10.