2021 NFL Draft Player Preview: Ja'Marr Chase

  • Ja'Marr Chase, 6-1/200

  • Wide Receiver

  • LSU

  • Ja'Marr Chase 2020 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: Chase was a top recruit coming out of high school, and it looked like he was going to head to Florida before a coaching change led to him landing with LSU instead of the Gators. In 2018, his first season with the Tigers, Chase was part of a rotation and the LSU passing attack was not the point machine it became a year later. Chase had 23 catches for 313 yards with three scores in 2018, but then he exploded as a sophomore.

    hase was the most dominant receiver in college football in 2019, destroying the SEC as the No. 1 wide receiver for Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow. Chase averaged 21.2 yards per reception over 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. His dominance helped other LSU receivers and tight ends to produce big seasons as well. LSU had a dream season, going undefeated and winning a National Championship; Chase was integral to the Tigers' success.

    2020 Season Outlook: Chase is going to see some good cornerback talent on his 2020 schedule, but quarterback play is going to be largest factor that determines how Chase's junior year goes. It will be interesting to see how LSU's passing offense performs after losing Burrow to the NFL.

    On Chase's 2020 schedule, there is a lot of good cornerback talent, and it starts in Week 2 with Texas' Jalen Green. In early October, the Tigers will go to the Swamp, and Florida has some future NFL cornerbacks in Marco Wilson and Kaiir Elam. In early November, the Alabama duo of Patrick Surtain II and Josh Jobe will challenge Chase. A week after the Crimson Tide duo, Chase will see South Carolina cornerback Israel Mukuamu. Then to end the season, Chase will see a nice test with Texas A&M cornerbacks Myles Jones and Elijah Blades. Thus, NFL scouts are going to have plenty of tape to evaluate of Chase taking on future pro competitors.

    Skill-Set Summary: While Joe Burrow had an incredible 2019 season and played extremely well, he had an amazing supporting cast with an excellent set of wide receivers, a first-round running back, and an experienced and talented offensive line. Of that amazing supporting cast, Chase was the best player, and you could make an argument that Chase was the best pure football player on LSU's team in 2019, as he was electric. He made a ton of big plays for Burrow, taking short catches for big gains and being a bail-out receiver to get open and move the chains when everything else was breaking down. Chase has the skill set and ability of a future No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

    The main things that stand out about Chase are his speed and his ability to separate. He has a burst off the line with sudden explosive speed to quickly generate separation from cornerbacks. Chase is fast through his routes, and defensive backs have a near impossible task of running with him. Even top cornerbacks like Florida's C.J. Henderson had some struggles to keep Chase from getting open in 2019.

    With his deep speed, Chase is a deep threat who can take the top off of a defense. He regularly burns a secondary while running a go route down the sideline or a slant across the field. In the NFL, Chase is going to command safety help over the top. He is a fast receiver similar to a Calvin Ridley or Jerry Jeudy, but he may not have the top-shelf speed to kill the combine 40-yard dash like Henry Ruggs, John Ross or Will Fuller. Chase's 40 will probably be very good, but it may not be record setting. Heading into his junior year, Chase looks like a better prospect than any of those players.

    On top of off-game breaking speed, Chase is a quality route-runner who is sudden in out of his breaks. Being fast and sudden translates to Chase being a dangerous yards-after-the-catch weapon. He is elusive in the open field and has good moves to dodge tacklers and vision to see openings for longer gains.

    Other parts of Chase's technique as a receiver are impressive. He high points the ball well and does a nice job on 50-50 passes even though he is not a receiver with mismatch height. With late hands, Chase does a good job of securing passes and is a reliable, natural hands catcher. He tracks the ball extremely well, and it looks almost impossible to overthrow him.

    In speaking to some team sources, they say that Chase's build is thicker than that of Jerry Jeudy or Calvin Ridley. So while he is not daunting from a size perspective, Chase is not undersized for the next level. Quickly in his NFL career, Chase could be an impactful receiver who is the engine of a dangerous passing attack.

    2021 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2020 season, Chase looks like a future first-round pick. He has the potential to be a high first-rounder.



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