If you haven’t heard of the name Ja’Marr Chase then you have officially been living under a rock. This is not only one of the best wide receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft. This is pound for pound one of the most talented football players in the entire class. What are Ja’Marr Chase’s strengths and weaknesses? Which NFL teams are the best fits? Let’s get at it.
Measurables & Numbers
Weight: 208 pounds
Fun Fact: Ja’Marr Chase was an all-state long jumper in high school. He was the 2017 5A state winner, winning with a mark of 24 feet, 2 1/2 inches.
A look at Ja’Marr Chase’s College Performance
Ja’Marr Chase was a 4 star recruit from Archbishop Rummel High School. According to 247 Sports, he was the 4th best WR prospect in Louisiana (15th in the country). He also received offers from Auburn, Michigan, Florida and Florida State. During his true freshman season in 2018, Chase played 10 games alongside 23 receptions, 313 yards and 3 touchdowns. If 2018 was the appetizer, then 2019 was one of the best main courses in college football history.
In 2019, the Joe Brady-led LSU offense was one of the most efficient offenses in the history of the game. It would have been easy for Chase to get swallowed by the hype and massive shadows given by Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson. Instead, Ja’Marr Chase rose to the occasion piling on 84 receptions for 1,720 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Watching Ja’Marr Chase dominate the competition turned him into an instant sensation and an absolute must watch every week for college football fans.
The LSU Tigers went on to defeat Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers in a national championship victory. Smartly, Ja’Marr Chase decided to op out of the 2020-2021 season amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite not playing, Ja’Marr Chase’s film and production from the 2019 left zero question on the field. The only question surrounding Ja’Marr Chase is this: Could his sophomore performance lead him into top 5 pick conversation in the 2021 NFL Draft? Let’s dive into what makes Ja’Marr Chase one of the most talented prospects in the class.
Current Draft Projection
- The Athletic’s Dane Brugler – 6th
- CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson – 7th
- Pro Football Network’s Matthew Valdovino – 5th
- NFL Analyst Daniel Jeremiah – 3rd
I don’t have all day to write down all the strengths Ja’Marr Chase brings to the next level. The official list is quite daunting. However, let’s breakdown a few areas of what makes this guy such an interesting prospect.
Excels at the catch point: It’s this guy’s athleticism combined with elite body control, coordination and hands that makes Ja’Marr Chase one of the best “go up and get it” wide receivers in the class. This is the separator of what makes Chase a complete prospect. Not only does he possess excellent speed, but his top notch ability to get 50-50 balls and then turn on the jets to pull him away from the defense makes him the entire package.
Not just speed: Ja’Marr Chase should have little issue creating space at the next level due to his strong handwork, fluid route running and ability to use leverage to beat his man inside or down the field. In addition, this is an open field nightmare for opposing defenses and a home run threat each and every time he plays a snap in the NFL. Due to his elite playmaking ability down field and in space, opposing defenses will need to game plan around limiting Ja’Marr Chase the second he puts on an NFL jersey. Chase possesses solid quickness that will allow him to lineup inside or out of the formation.
Pure Alpha: What separates Ja’Marr Chase from the rest is his alpha mentality which is beyond evident while watching tape. He’s clutch and should provide to become a reliable target on third down situations. Chase is everything you want between the ears and has a great mindset at improving each and every day. For example, Ja’Marr Chase ran a 4.66 40-yard dash at Archbishop Rummel High School. More recently, Chase ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at LSU. Chase also saves his best for the big stage. Against #9 Auburn, #3 Alabama and #3 Clemson (National Championship Game), Chase combined for 23 receptions for 484 yards, three touchdowns with an average yards per catch of 21.1.
Areas to Improve Upon
Doesn’t have elite size: This is such a mild concern as Ja’Marr Chase plays much bigger than his listed height. Chase makes up for his lack of height with his excellent hands, technique and physicality. Chase has struggled with poorly thrown balls in the past which have led to the occasional drop. Judging by his work ethic, NFL coaches should have no difficulty coaching up Ja’Marr Chase and working on adjusting to the ball. That is about it. This is one of the most complete wide receiver prospects in recent memory.
It would be incredible to see Ja’Marr Chase reunited with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. As mentioned above, the duo was simply unstoppable at LSU and possess a chemistry that would allow the Bengals’ air attack to soar in 2021. The Bengals currently have the 5th pick in the draft and their #1 priority should be protecting Joe Burrow in the pocket. Therefore, adding an elite tackle prospect in Penei Sewell might make more sense. Joe Burrow was the 10th most sacked QB in the NFL despite playing only 10 games in 2020.
Ja’Marr Chase is the idea fit for the Philadelphia Eagles. With last year’s first rounder going to Jalen Reagor who excels at RAC production (although we barely saw it in 2020), the Eagles need a wide receiver who excels at route running and taking the top off defenses on the outside. The Eagles were 23rd in 2019 and 28th in 2020 in the NFL in explosive pass plays (pass over 30 yards). Whether he plays alongside Carson Wentz or Jalen Hurts, the Eagles are desperate for Chase’s big play and down field ability.
The Lions have the 7th pick and would surely be doing back flips if Ja’Marr Chase falls in their laps. Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola have expiring contracts and Kenny Golladay fought through injury for most of the season. However, the Lions defense must be addressed as they were among the bottom of the NFL in 2020. With such a dire need on defense, especially on the edge, taking a WR at #7 would be totally on brand for Detroit Lions football.