• Matt Oehl

The Future: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Ja'Marr Chase

Ja'Marr Chase was the 2020 Biletnikoff winner after putting up insane numbers of 84 receptions for 1,780 yards, and 20 touchdowns along with a national championship with LSU. This year he decided to opt-out because he had nothing else to prove and would've been a part of a very bad LSU team in comparison to the 2020 season. Chase is the best receiver in this class and will look to make an immediate impact in the NFL. Below I will discuss Chase's game in 5 aspects, his hands, his ability to create separation, his release, his ability to adjust and control his body, and his ability to create yards after the catch (YAC).

Hands- Very good hands as he routinely snatches the ball out of the air away from his body. He is a natural pass catcher when moving and can easily make catches all around his body, whether it be low, high, or behind him. He will have the occasional drop due to lack of focus or looking to get upfield too quickly but that is nitpicking.

Separation Quickness- Chase's athletic ability is very good as he is explosive in and out of his cuts and has good straight-line speed and very good acceleration. He is smooth throughout all parts of his route and has an extensive route tree that allows him to run any route you could ask. When separating against man he can handle contact very well and knows all of the subtle nuances of route running to get open. Against zone, he knows how to find open spaces and adjust to what the defense is playing. He can create separation in all ways, using his athletic ability, using his body at the catch point, and using his mental processing to find openings in the defense.

Release- Chase is elite with his releases. Against press, he handles contact very well and uses a variety of releases to get into his stem. Using both his hands, arms, and feet he finds ways to beat defenders off the line and start his route. One small aspect of his release that I really like is he finds ways to get skinny and give corners as little surface area as possible to get a jam on him. Chase should run somewhere in the 4.4s at the combine so pressing him in the first place is going to be dangerous due to his ability to get downfield and make plays.

Adjust/Body Control- This is the best part of Chase's game. His ability to make plays in contested situations and adjust to make catches is what separates him from many other prospects. Between back shoulder throws and Chase being able to go up and get the ball in contested situations shows just how good he can be at the next level. Being able to create separation consistently in the NFL is not easy so being able to make catches with defenders all over you is a very important skill and Chase is the best in this class at that on top of his ability to create separation. He plays much bigger than he is and tracks the ball very well to put himself in the best position to win at the catch point. Chase being able to consistently win at the catch point will help at the next level for when there are the athletes and corners who can stick with him.

YAC- Chase is dynamic with the ball in his hands. He may not be as dynamic as a Jaylen Waddle but Chase is still more than capable of making plays with the ball in his hands. He has an explosive first step that allows him to create space from defenders and make people miss in the open field. He is also a very tough runner who isn't afraid of contact and will fight for every yard possible. He has the speed to run away from defenders and his vision on screens and shallow passes is very good to find open lanes and explode to the next level of the field.

Chase is someone who I am really excited to see play in the NFL. With how his counterpart Justin Jefferson is playing at a rookie of the year level I think Ja'Marr can be just as good if not better if he goes to the right situation with a good scheme. He has a skill set that should thrive in the NFL and I believe he has the mindset to be elite from the start next year. He is the best receiver in this loaded class after not playing a single snap in the 2020 college football season.

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