Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
W: 200 lbs
Chase has quick feet that leads him into sharp cuts. He plays with the quickness of a much smaller player. Stop and go routes and hesitation routes are easy for Chase due to his great acceleration. Curl and comeback routes are also a plus for Chase, usually leading to him being open. He often finds himself open on deep routes. He’s physical and quick when working against press coverage. Chase attacks the ball at the highest point over defenders, looking like he owns the ball; if it’s a toss-up, he’s getting it. He doesn’t quit on QB scrambles, often working until he’s open.
Chase doesn’t have many weaknesses, but the most glaring one is his lack of separation on shorter routes. While he has good feet, he doesn’t contain the short area speed to gain that separation. Furthermore, his speed in general is a big question mark. Chase doesn’t appear to play with elite speed, which could trouble him at the next level. Lastly, he sometimes shows very poor effort on disguising and blocking for run plays.
Chase is quick, shifty, tough, and ball-attacking. His route running gives the appearance of a much smaller player even though he’s 6’1”. He also attacks the ball at the highest point, typically over defenders, making him look taller than he is. Chase excels at deep routes and comeback routes. I have concerns surrounding his speed, mainly in the short area due to the lack of separation he has on shorter routes. This isn’t the biggest issue a wide receiver can have; Chase could simply just be a possession receiver at the next level. Saints’ WR Michael Thomas is surely doing well without top-end speed in the NFL. I anticipate Chase being the first receiver off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft (as long as he declares), and most likely a top-10 pick.