In this rookie report series, @goldjacketqbs will take a look at some intriguing WR prospects, in what's shaping up to be another deep rookie class. Last week he took a look at Terrance Marshall Jr. This week he dives into another LSU Tiger WR - Ja’Marr Chase.
Let’s continue our 2021 rookie WR analysis with another LSU Tiger and potential future star, Ja'Marr Chase. What kind of impact can we expect from Chase at the next level, and why are many fantasy football analysts declaring him as the WR1 in upcoming 2021 rookie drafts?
Ja'Marr Chase has only two years of college tape and production behind him as he opted out completely from the 2020 college season to prepare for the NFL - which in my opinion was a wise decision. Chase had nothing left to prove in the 2020 collegiate season with the Tigers.
With an amazing breakout age of 19, Chase is built to succeed at the NFL level. In 2019 he had an absurd 1,780 receiving yards and 20 TDs! To put that into perspective, his Tiger teammate and 2020 NFL rookie sensation Justin Jefferson had 1,540 receiving yards and 18 TDs of his own. Chase isn't a one trick pony either. During the 2019 season, he demonstrated the ability to absolutely man handle opposing cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage if they tried to play him physically, or the ability with his quick feet to make a move and burn them off the line. It goes without saying that whatever team drafts Chase is going to get a player with a nose for the endzone and an instant alpha WR1.
NFL PLAYER COMP
For this player comparison I have to give credit to @DevyEusuf as he compared Chase to Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore. The comparison of the two WRs is quite accurate. Both have similar builds, both are physical at the line when needed, and both have jet fuel in the tank. The difference between the two? I believe Chase will make a bigger difference in his rookie year than Moore did in his in 2018.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2021 - POSSIBLE LANDING SPOTS
To quote John Lennon "You may say that I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one"
The teams I would like most to draft Ja'Marr Chase in 2021 are the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions and my personal favourite the Minnesota Vikings where Chase would swap one purple and gold uniform for another and rejoin his former LSU teammate WR Justin Jefferson.
Let's take a look at the three scenarios above starting with the team with the highest draft pick and making our way down from there.
First up is the Philadelphia Eagles with the 6th overall pick in the first round. There is turmoil and possible upheaval brewing in the city of brotherly love. There exists a QB controversy between 2020 late season rookie starter/sensation Jalen Hurts and incumbent Carson Wentz. Who will be the QB under center to start 2021? One thing is clear, whoever is tossing the pigskin for the Eagles in 2021 they will need more weapons to throw to than simply TE Dallas Goedert and 2020 first round selection WR Jalen Reagor. It looks as though Zach Ertz is on his way out and Travis Fulgham regardless of how well he performed in 2020 when called upon is only under contract for 2021 and ultimately is just a guy. Does anyone still believe in Alshon Jeffery or DeSean Jackson? The Eagles can get out of Jackson’s and Jeffrey’s contracts in 2021. Chase can step in and immediately be a fantastic 1-2 punch with Jalen Reagor for years to come.
Next up is the Detroit Lions selecting 7th overall. Do the Detroit Lions need Ja'Marr Chase or would they better off using the pick to fill other gaping holes? Some would scoff and say no. I however, would disagree with them. The Lions may not resign impending free agent WR Kenny Golladay. They could look to sign a similarly younger priced free agent WR like a Juju Smith Schuster, or they might look to spend significant draft capital on an alpha WR in Chase to pair him with their WR2 in Quentin Cephus; effectively creating a younger version of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr in the Motor City.
The final situation is my dream scenario, and one in which almost everyone I talked to thinks I'm insane for even suggesting. In this scenario, Chase isn't the first WR selected in the NFL Draft (similar to how CeeDee Lamb was selected after Henry Ruggs in the 2020 draft), and falls into the Vikings lap at pick 14. He would be reunited with former LSU teammate Justin Jefferson, and paired with promising young TE Irv Smith Jr, to go along with an outstanding RB in Dalvin Cook. Yes, I am aware that Adam Thielen is still on the Vikings roster, and that he performed very well this past season. However, the Vikings do have an out of Thielen’s contract if (and I know it’s a big if) Chase were to be drafted by them. The more likely scenario in this circumstance is the Vikings trading Thielen to a team needing a veteran WR presence in the locker room. I realize that this scenario is one of the least likely to happen, but hey it's fun to dream and imagine sometimes.
The bottom line is that Ja'Marr Chase is being selected in the first round this coming April. He will be a stud and alpha WR whether it's in Philadelphia, Detroit or Minnesota. Wherever he goes, that NFL team is getting a difference maker from day one.
Thank you for reading my article and stay tuned for more rookie WR analysis and where I think they can possibly land in 2021!!!
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Editor: Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)
Graphic work: Dan Made Graphics (@DanMadeGraphics)