Good teams value diversity in their wide receiver room. For example, the slot receiver is invaluable in today’s NFL. Every team wants a reliable slot receiver, someone who can stretch the field and a big-bodied possession receiver. This receiver class has value with all three receiver types. Teams will find solid NFL receivers through the first five rounds this season, if not further.
Everyone knows the big names in this draft like LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase who opted out before the season and Minnesota’s Reshod Bateman who initially opted out before playing only to opt-out again this week after COVID cases spiked at Minnesota, resulting in their game vs. Wisconsin getting canceled. Alabama receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are sure to be first-round picks as well as the aforementioned duo. Ohio State receiver Chris Olave is also likely to go in the first round. If a team has a more pressing need in the first round or does not have a first-round draft pick, there is still lots of great value in rounds 2-5 at receiver.
Wide receivers who will be steals in Day 2 and beyond of the 2021 NFL Draft
Marquez Stevenson, Houston
Marquez Stevenson’s draft position is all about how he runs in the combine. The junior wide receiver has drawn comparisons to current Baltimore Ravens receiver Hollywood Brown. Stevenson has shown an ability to get off press coverage and get deep. However, that is against college competition. Stevenson needs to run between 4.39-4.43 to sneak in the first round. Much like Brown or Chiefs’ receiver Tyreek Hil, Stevenson can get deep either on the flank or in the slot. Stevenson is a specialist at this point in his career. He is not going to give you much beyond an assortment of deep routes.
Seth Williams, Auburn, Jr.
At 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds, Seth Williams is a big possession receiver. Despite playing in an offense with inconsistent quarterback play, Williams had 830 yards and eight touchdowns last season and leads the Tigers in receiving yards this season with 563. Williams is a handsy receiver and does not wait for the ball to get into his body. Williams does not possess elite speed, so there is a separation issue. However, Williams uses body position to box out on receptions. That can only get you so far at the next level; Williams must prove he can separate and get open.
Anthony Schwartz, Auburn, Jr.
Anthony Schwartz might be the fastest receiver in this draft. The former track and field star is a burner. However, Schwartz’s ability to get open and his reliable hands make him an ideal candidate for a slot receiver. The junior receiver is a bit unrefined as a route runner and needs to improve in the intermediate area. However, Schwartz is an Olympic-level sprinter, and if spring sports reopen, there is a chance Schwartz could return to Auburn for both another year of football and track.
T.J. Vasher, Texas Tech
T.J. Vasher has all of the tools to be a great wide receiver drawing comparisons to A.J. Green. Though Vasher does not possess elite speed, he has “football speed” and plays with twitch. Vasher has great hands and a knack for separating and getting open. Vasher has such a large draft range because TJ Vasher seems to be the issue with TJ Vasher. Staff around the Texas Tech program say he lacks the motivation to be great. Vasher’s lack of production in a league that does not defend is a concern. A large part of that is due to Vasher’s lackluster work ethic. If we’ve learned anything about the NFL, it takes just one team to fall in love with you.
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