ESPN analyst has Ja’Marr Chase above Devonta Smith in 2021 NFL Draft

Mandatory Credit: LSU Athletics/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network
Mandatory Credit: LSU Athletics/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network /

Former LSU football wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase would’ve almost certainly been a top 10 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft had he been eligible (he was only a sophomore at the time).

Chase caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in 15 games in 2019. Insane numbers for a sophomore wide receiver.

Heading into the 2020 season, it seemed like a formality that Chase would be the top wide receiver selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

And then COVID-19 changed everything.

Will Ja’Marr Chase still be the top wide receiver selected in the 2021 NFL Draft?

With the 2020 season very much up in the air and a lot of folks uncertain of whether or not the season would even be completed (plus the general risk to players), Chase made the bold decision to sit out his junior season and focus on the 2021 NFL Draft.

While Chase was working out and not playing for LSU, Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith was showing out in front of a national audience and shooting to the top of draft boards.

In 13 games, Smith caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. Certainly better numbers than what Chase put up in 2019.

But was it enough to warrant being selected above Chase?

Not according to ESPN’s Todd McShay.

McShay explained on Saturday, during an appearance on ESPN, why he has Chase going No. 6 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and Smith going No. 7 overall.

“He is 210 pounds and he has speed for days,” said the ESPN draft analyst (via 247Sports). “He averaged 21.2 yards per catch and I think his traits are a little bit better than Devonta Smith.”

Smith doesn’t have quite as much mass as Chase, which is why McShay prefers the LSU wide receiver. That makes sense — Chase is more likely to hold up to the physicality of a 16 game NFL season.

Next. LSU in top 6 for OL from Tennessee. dark

The truth is that you really can’t go wrong with either wide receiver. They’re both exceptional athletes and they each have a legitimate chance of becoming superstars at the next level.