A year ago, a record 13 wide receivers were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft with six of them coming in the first round. This year, there’s a chance that record is surpassed. And even if it isn’t, we could still see an impressive haul of wide receivers taken in the first round.
The quarterback position is getting extensive coverage, with Trevor Lawrence expected to top a class of five first round quarterbacks. However, as Pro Football Focus shows us in their latest 2021 NFL mock draft, the wide receiver class will likely surpass that. They projected the five quarterbacks, but then also added eight wide receivers in the first round.
4. Falcons: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
6. Eagles: DeVonta Smith, Alabama
7. Lions: Jaylen Waddle, Alabam
17. Raiders: Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
23. Jets: Rondale Moore, Purdue
24. Steelers: Kadarius Toney, Florida
28. Saints: Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU
31. Chiefs: Elijah Moore, Mississippi
It’s worth noting PFF also has the Jets selecting Florida tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 8 pick. While Pitts is listed as a tight end, he’s expected to have the versatility to handle a lot of receiver-type work.
We can argue all day about whether or not a given team makes sense for a given wide receiver. I suspect the Chiefs look for some offensive line help early in this year’s draft, and one of those top three teams listed potentially grabs a quarterback. But even still, in a league where passing becomes more important each year, you can make an argument for most any team to add another wide receiver.
It’s going to make fantasy drafts particularly interesting later this summer. Justin Jefferson was the standout rookie receiver this past year, but seven other receivers surpassed 500 receiving yards this season and several more will get some love as second-year breakout candidates.