The NFL draft is a fickle mistress. There were three wide receivers taken in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft, but only one of the three had their fifth-year option picked up. Corey Davis has the most receptions and yards of that trio of Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross. But it was Williams had his option picked up and not Davis.
With the addition and breakout of former Ole Miss receiver AJ Brown, there is no real need to hold out hope for a Corey Davis resurrection as a true No. 1 receiver. If the price is right, it wouldn’t hurt to keep him around as a No. 2 option, but with the way this potential receiver class is shaking up, it’s probably not financially sound to do so.
The 2020 WR class was a position of strength
The 2020 class of wide receivers was fantastic. There was perceived value all over the board. In fact, it was practically 20-deep of names you could look at from different angles and find ways they could produce in the NFL — not just throughout their career — but right away as rookies. There are even guys that went on Day 3 who could find their way into a starting role and a few receptions in 2020.
There is a lot of unknown in the NFL draft, no matter the amount of publicity and praise that’s heaped onto a prospect in July. We expect the Titans to be big-time playoff contenders in 2020, which would put them back in the 20-32 range of draft picks. Don’t let anybody tell you the summer before the draft that you can’t have Ja’Marr Chase — if he happens to be your one true love.
Ja’Marr Chase is Corey Davis but different
Coming from Western Michigan, not many among us believed Davis would be anything but a bonafide WR1 at the NFL level. He wasn’t necessarily an athletic marvel, but he possessed above-average size and really showed a nuanced ability as a route runner and finisher. It simply hasn’t translated to the next level.
Chase is much of the same when it comes to the height-weight-speed combination despite being a bit shorter. He produced out of his mind, tallying 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns his sophomore season as a part of the prolific LSU Tiger offense.
Featured | Cummings’ 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
He’s a nuanced route runner from the line to the final breakpoint, leaning on technical proficiency and a boxer’s mentality to fight through contact and create separation.
The biggest difference between Chase and Davis is the level of competition, which could bring more confidence in his transition than we saw from Davis. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a drop off Chase sees after the loss of most of the weapons surrounding him.
Also of note: Chase and AJ Brown are somewhat similar in how they get open using physicality and nuance. If the Titans want a spark of speed and flash, there is no shortage of options toward the top.
Waddle and Moore: The newest mold of offensive weaponry
Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Jaylen Waddle and Purdue Boilermaker Rondale Moore are absolute lightning rods. They’re both yards-after-catch kings, albeit in different ways. Although we haven’t seen the crazy production in the return game from Moore like we have Waddle, his skillset is perfect for that role.
Is Jaylen Waddle a mix of Ruggs and Jeudy?
Waddle isn’t the most nuanced route runner of the bunch, but when you have the unmitigated explosion that he possesses, it simply does not matter. And that will continue at the next level. His movements are a combination of Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy, mixing blurring straight-line speed with unreal ability to stick his foot in the turf and go absolutely anywhere on his next step.
If he’s able to add that to his route running and not just when he has the ball in his hands, there won’t be many 1v1 situations where he doesn’t end up alone with the cornerback chasing. And even though he’s small in stature, his leaping ability, strong hands, and dog mentality allow him to win above the rim as well. And he has three return touchdowns on 41 total returns.
Can Rondale Moore be compared to Darren Sproles?
Moore’s ability with the ball in his hand is Darren Sproles. He’s not as thick, but he has the same ability to bounce off tacklers, take glancing blows and keep moving forward, and make defenders look absolutely silly. But he’s also not a poor route runner, as his ability to start and stop translates more to his route running than that of Waddle.
At his absolute floor, he is a high-end gadget player who can help in the quick passing game and as a rusher. At his best, he’s Tyreek Hill, and he might be better as a route runner in the shorter areas of the field.
A comfortable projection for Moore would be that of a top-5 slot receiver at the next level, but he’s so much more than that if he keeps away from nagging lower-body injuries as he dealt with during the 2019 season.