2021 NFL Draft: Where Will Top WRs Land?

Photo: Mickey Welsh via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Between this year’s draft class and last year’s, it seems as though we’ve spoken as many words as possible about wide receivers. Last year, we were told the wide receiver class was the deepest class maybe ever. In the end, the 35 wide receivers drafted total in rounds 1-7 were the most since 2008, but even that 35 number wasn’t through the roof or anything like we were predicting.

This year, we seem to be having a similar type of conversation. When people are asked to name some late-round guys they really love or players they would pound the table for, there’s a good chance one or more of the names they’ll feature come from the wide receiver group; it’s just so easy to find a guy who really speaks to what you look for in a receiver.

The diversity in wide receiver talent could make for a fun weekend, as a whole, for the position. But what about the players at the very top of the pass-catching group? Is this draft as strong at the top as it is deep in the middle rounds?

The three names that we consistently hear at the top of this wide receiver class are LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, and Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. Let’s try to establish some accurate over/under points for where they might be drafted.

Ja’Marr Chase

Most Likely: Detroit Lions (No. 7)

Wildcard Spot: Cincinnati Bengals (No. 5)

Absolute Floor: Philadelphia Eagles (No. 12)

Chase’s mock draft selections usually go one of two ways. If the Atlanta Falcons select tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4, the Dolphins are usually the ones to take Chase at No. 6. If the Falcons take a quarterback or trade down, then the Dolphins typically take Pitts at No. 6, leaving Chase for the Lions at  No. 7. However, all of that has seemed to change recently, as there is gaining steam that the Bengals have their eyes set on Chase at No. 5, even over offensive tackle Penei Sewell.

The over/under for Chase should be set at pick 5.5 with the Bengals being a prime spot for him to come off the board. All of that said, there is no way the Eagles would take anyone else if Chase somehow made it to them at No. 12.

Jaylen Waddle

Most Likely: Philadelphia Eagles (No. 12)

Wildcard Spot: Los Angeles Chargers (No. 13)

Absolute Floor: Chicago Bears (No. 20)

We recently got the report that Waddle’s leg injury from last year was healing up just fine and he should be good to go with nothing lingering heading into the NFL. With that being the case, this was one of the most explosive players in college football who also had some nice strength when catching through contact.

To me, the most likely spot for Waddle is the Eagles at No. 12. There have been mocks with Waddle going as high as No. 7 to the Lions, but I truly think that would be the peak, not the expectation. Instead, I think it is much more likely that Wade is selected outside of the top 10. If the Eagles don’t go for Waddle due to them drafting Reagor last year, the Chargers could be a sneaky team with the Bears at No. 20 being the absolute floor for him.

DeVonta Smith

Most Likely: Philadelphia Eagles (No. 12)

Wildcard Spot: Detroit Lions (No. 7)

Absolute Floor: Washington Football Team (No. 19)

Predicting where Smith will land seems to be one of the toughest tasks of a mock draft. As the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, it’s easy to build a case of why he would be selected high. But with his smaller build, will teams take the bait in the top 15?

I still see the Eagles as the most likely spot. Unlike Waddle, Smith brings to the table a mold of wide receiver Philadelphia currently doesn’t have—reliability, if we’re being honest. I think the wildcard spot for Smith could be as high as No. 7 overall to the Lions, and his absolute floor should be at No. 19 with Washington. 

If you would like to wager on the over/under for any of the three wide receivers above, head over to BetOnline.

Written By:

Trevor Sikkema

Senior NFL Writer

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast.