Todd McShay details how he evaluates Ja'Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith as 'one and 1A'
In recent year, there have been plenty of debates over the NFL futures of SEC West wide receivers. This spring, there is a hotly debated situation between LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Alabama’s DeVonta Smith.
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay has the difficult task of breaking the tie with his pre-draft rankings and analysis, and did just that during a segment on ESPN on Saturday.
“He is 210 pounds and he has speed for days,” McShay said, per 247Sports. “He averaged 21.2 yards per catch and I think his traits are a little bit better than Devonta Smith but again, he opted out this year. DeVonta comes in this year, we knew he was a consistent guy. Their four wide receivers are going to be first round picks over two years and he’s been the most consistent throughout his career. What he did this year was remarkable. Jaylen Waddle goes down and the entire offense funnels through that wide receivers spot and DeVonta Smith.”
One of the most common conversation topics between the two is how Chase opted out of the season, while Smith went on to win the Heisman Trophy and national championship. Smith, of course, gets plenty of credit for having that kind of season even after the Waddle injury. In the end, though, Chase may be pegged for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“He carried it on his shoulders and he carried that Alabama team and offense to the national championship game,” McShay said. “So DeVonta Smith certainly could be the first receiver taken but I’ve got them one and 1A if you will. Chase going first and then Smith going No. 7 to the Detroit Lions.”
Chase was a star in 2019, and helped LSU to its own national title. In his last season, Chase finished with 84 catches, 1,780 yards, 20 touchdowns and 21.2 yards per catch. He played alongside Justin Jefferson, who starred as a rookie for the Minnesota Vikings in 2020.