Fact or Fiction: Ja'Marr Chase will be the first WR drafted
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
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1. Ja'Marr Chase will be the first WR drafted in 2021.
Farrell’s take: FACT. I don’t think there is much doubt about it. The LSU wide receiver who opted out of the season will be WR1 when April’s NFL Draft comes around. Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Nico Collins, Rashod Bateman and many others are in this class, but Chase has the size, speed and athleticism to push ahead of the rest.
I don’t think people realize how big he is because he does so many things a smaller receiver can do, but this kid is 6-foot and 210 pounds of muscle. He’s stronger than anyone else in the class as well and that will show as the draft workouts start.
Gorney’s take: FACT. My guess is that one of the reasons Chase is skipping this season is not necessarily Covid-19 related but because according to reports agents have been telling Chase to come out and that he would be a high first-round draft pick. I don’t see any scenario where a receiver who does play this season will leapfrog Chase, who will be training and should be primed for the NFL Combine. Smith and Waddle have the best shot - and Waddle’s speed is interesting - but Chase is the best receiver available and he will go earlier than anyone else at his position.
2. COLIN SCHOOLER IS THE BEST LB TRANSFER IN THE COUNTRY.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Texas Tech is getting a good one in Schooler, a top five linebacker in the nation heading into the season and an instant difference maker. I really like the upside of Marcel Brooks at TCU in the long run but for immediate impact Schooler is your guy. He’s a great fit for the Big 12 because he works so well in space and can cover and the Texas Tech defense just got a whole lot better.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Schooler is a big-time playmaker and should be a major boost to Texas Tech’s defense but Marcel Brooks could be one of the best linebackers in the country and we all know TCU coach Gary Patterson is going to maximize his abilities in that Horned Frogs’ defense. There are a lot of high-profile linebacker transfers this year but I’m going with Brooks because he has exceptional upside.
3. Travis Etienne is the most electric player left in college football.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Chase is gone, so now we look to who’s left when it comes to electrifying players in college football and we still have many. Etienne from Clemson is one of them and he’s impressive, but to me it’s Jaylen Waddle that I’m looking forward to. The Alabama wide receiver and return man can score from anywhere and can make video game plays on the regular. With Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy gone, it’s time for Waddle to step up and be that dynamic player next to Devonta Smith and he will.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Etienne is a fantastic player and arguably the best running back in college football, but I don’t think he’s even the most electrifying at his own position. That title goes to Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, who is really fun to watch and has breakaway speed unlike any other running back in the game.
And then there is Waddle. I remember seeing him at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio as he ran by everybody, he was so strikingly fast that we moved him up to five-star status and he’s only backed that up at Alabama. Hubbard and Waddle are probably the two most electrifying players left for this season.