The 2021 NFL draft will occur across downtown Cleveland locations that include FirstEnergy Stadium (home of the Browns), the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a select number of prospects will take the stage.
The first round will be held on Thursday, April 29. Rounds 2-3 will take place on Friday, April 30. Rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday, May 1. The draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network.
USA TODAY Network NFL reporters break down the draft position-by-position. Here are the top wide receiver prospects:
1. Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
Pros: A true competitor who attacks the ball with his hands and plays through contact. Has high success rate in traffic. Takes his skill set to another level in key situations and near the end zone. Top-end playmaker with the ball in his hands.
Cons: Struggles with his release off the line against press coverage. Shows some tightness and rigid movement patterns.
Ja'Marr Chase had 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns for the national champion LSU Tigers in the 2019 season. (Photo: Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)
2. Devonta Smith, Alabama
Pros: Moves as if he is on roller blades. Accelerates to his top speed in a hurry. Can cut and turn while moving at his full rate. A competitive, feisty player who is all business, all the time. A true gamer in every sense of the word.
Cons: Has a very slight, skinny frame that falls way below the NFL unofficial standard for the position. Presence against contact will be an issue.
3. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Pros: Can shoot out of a cannon off the line and put a defense on its heels. Outstanding leaping ability coupled with elite body control. Dangerous player after the catch with good vision, upfield burst and ability to plant his foot in the ground and alter his direction.
Cons: Has a small catch radius that won’t ever change. Needs to continue to hammer in route-running mechanics.
4. Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Pros: Smooth operator with a loose but powerful lower body who can really plant and go. Has a wide catch radius with excellent coordination. Has soft but powerful hands that will rise to another level in traffic. Gains a lot of yards after contact.
Cons: Not explosive off the line. He gets speed as he goes down the field but doesn’t bend consistently, plant and drive off his outside foot on inside breaks.
5. Rondale Moore, Purdue
Pros: Can flip the switch to stop, pivot and change direction at any point. Built low to the ground with immense lower-body strength and power that enables ever-present balance and control. Does a nice job of using different gears to get open.
Cons: Lack of catch radius stemming from his size will prevent him from getting to some passes, notably in traffic. Needs more situational awareness.
6. Terrance Marshall, Jr., LSU
Pros: Can get open in a small window but also excels in traffic. Shows willingness to work through contact after the catch.
Cons: Showed issues with drops over the middle on short, quick passes as his volume increased in 2020.
7. Dyami Brown, North Carolina
Pros: Footwork and quickness make it look like he is moving on ice. Can consistently get open on all levels of the route tree.
Cons: Ball skills are still developing. Not always the aggressor in traffic.
8. Kadarius Toney, Florida
Pros: A tough, competitive, borderline edgy personality on the field. Contact balance is top shelf. Can make tacklers miss in a phone booth.
Cons: Still raw as a route runner. Needs to handle his emotions better and know how to use them to his advantage. Inconsistent hand catcher.
9. Elijah Moore, Mississippi
Pros: Quick accelerator with elite stutter-step quickness and burst. Can change direction while moving at his full rate of speed.
Cons: Catch radius is really small.
10. D'Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
Pros: Can alter his weight and direction sharply while moving at his top rate. Separation comes easy and often. Dangerous after the catch. Strong hands; can get to and bring in passes away from his body.
Cons: Has a slight frame; lacks enough catch radius to make a big impact in traffic. Will be swallowed by bigger corners.
11. Nico Collins, Michigan
Pros: Makes aggressive snatch of the ball when it is within his radius. Has elite length and really strong hands. Long strider who looks smooth and easy when tracking the deep ball. Can stop on a dime and come back to the football.
Cons: Will labor in his release. Needs space and time to really get going. Will give away his route intentions. Stands up a bit too tall in and out of breaks.
12. Simi Fehoko, Stanford
13. Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
14. Sage Surratt, Wake Forest
15. Amon-R St. Brown, Southern California
16. Tutu Atwell, Louisville
17. Seth Williams, Auburn
18. Frank Darby, Arizona State
19. Amari Rodgers, Clemson
20. Cornell Powell, Clemson
21. Tamorrion Terry, Florida State
22. Jaelon Darden, North Texas
23. Brandon Smith, Iowa
24. Anthony Schwartz, Auburn
25. Cade Johnson, South Dakota State
26. Jonathan Adams Jr., Arkansas State
27. Dazz Newsome, North Carolina
28. Shi Smith, South Carolina
29. Dax Milne, BYU
30. Austin Watkins Jr., Alabama-Birmingham
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