2021 Rookie Wide Receiver Draft Profiles
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The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner did not participate in Alabama football’s pro day Tuesday and has already announced he will not participate in a pro day March 30, either. In an interview on NFL Network, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith said he still might hold a separate workout before the NFL draft begins April 29 but “hasn’t given it much thought.” Smith joined Alabama teammates Jaylen Waddle and Najee Harris on the list of players not participating in Tuesday’s pro day. Smith won nearly every accolade possible after catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. – Montgomery Advertiser
Star LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will attend the NFL draft in person in Cleveland, which means the highly rated prospect will participate in the league’s ceremonious return to its more usual fanfare after the coronavirus pandemic forced the annual event to be done virtually last year. Chase is projected to be a high first-round pick, and some mock drafts have him going as high as No. 5 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, where he’d rejoin former LSU teammate Joe Burrow, or No. 6 overall to the Miami Dolphins. The NFL announced last month that the draft, which takes place April 29 until May 1, will be held in iconic Cleveland locations, including FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center. – Baton Rouge Advocate
Jaylen Waddle’s labored trot on and off the field was obvious to everyone in Hard Rock Stadium on Monday night. Also evident was the junior wide receiver’s desire to play in a national championship game less than three months after fracturing his ankle. Waddle caught three passes for 34 yards in Alabama’s 52-24 win over Ohio State, playing a limited role for an offense that did not need its most explosive playmaker but welcomed his presence on the biggest stage of the season. “I have a lot of respect for Jaylen Waddle, his mental toughness and his ability to be able to come back,” coach Nick Saban said Tuesday.
Waddle had not played since Oct. 24 but returned to practice last week. He went through about a 25-minute pregame warmup before giving coaches the go-ahead that he would play. That put into motion a plan that saw Waddle not start the game but enter late on the first drive of the game. On his first play, Waddle caught a pass over the middle from quarterback Mac Jones and turned downfield for a 15-yard gain. “We just had a limited plan for him,” Saban said. “We really had, like, plays that he could run where he could run in a straight line and didn’t have to do a lot of cutting, didn’t have to do a lot of route running and changing direction, doing some of the things he’s so good at, which is going in motion, running bubbles, orbits, all that kind of stuff. – Birmingham News
The Gophers football program’s “Pro Day” has been scheduled for April 1 at the U’s indoor facility in Minneapolis, the NFL said Thursday. This date is especially important for aspiring NFL players this year due to the league’s pandemic-related decision to not host workouts at its scouting combine in Indianapolis. This will be the best chance for players – primarily receiver Rashod Bateman and cornerback Benjamin St-Juste – to display their speed, strength and agility in front of NFL front-office personnel. – Pioneer Press
2020 ALL-BIG TEN FOOTBALL HONORABLE MENTION (COACHES): Rondale Moore,…Gus Hartwig, Grant Hermanns, Spencer Holstege, Greg Long and Moore were named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches, while Payne Durham, Hartwig, Hermanns, Holstege and Moore were similarly feted by the media members. – Purdue Football
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