Carolina Panthers 2021 Draft: Ranking the top-10 wide receivers

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Ja'Marr Chase
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Ja'Marr Chase /
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(Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports) Rashod Bateman /

No. 3: Rashod Bateman – Minnesota

While Rashod Bateman doesn’t come from a top-tier program, there is a lot to like about his ability to make a real name for himself in the pro ranks. The wide receiver has all the necessary size, strength, and competitive edge to make his presence felt from the word go.

Bateman averaged 16.3 yards-per-reception during his time at Minnesota, working all over the line of scrimmage with equal effect. The Carolina Panthers may not be looking at taking a wideout with the No. 8 overall selection, but this becomes more of a realistic proposition if they trade down and are in a position to pick the best player available.

No. 2: Jaylen Waddle – Alabama

Many draft scouts are projecting Jaylen Waddle to be the best receiver in this class. He is a prolific presence on the outside who excels going down the field and even though his 2020 campaign was blighted by injury, his skill set should indicate a top-10 pick is a distinct possibility.

His work out of the slot was noticeable at Alabama and is sure to be a big hit once he gets to the NFL. Waddle has a wide catch radius, assured hands, and a mean streak that is not normally associated with players at the position.

All this points to Waddle being a smash-hit at the next level and whoever takes him should consider themselves very fortunate indeed.

No. 1: Ja’Marr Chase – LSU

Ja’Marr Chase may have opted-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 health concerns. But anybody that has a wide receiver need that passes on him might be making a huge mistake.

The LSU phenom is touted as a better prospect than Justin Jefferson after a sensational 2019 campaign that brought 84 receptions, 1,780 receiving yards, and 20 touchdowns during the Tigers’ national championship success, with Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady masterminding it all.

Chase is as good as it gets. Providing he has kept himself sharp away from the game over the last year, there is nothing to suggest he cannot have the same level of impact we saw from Jefferson during his rookie campaign in Minnesota.