One of the big names connected to the Miami Dolphins in the 2021 NFL Draft is former LSU wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase. Draft Twitter has been battling between Chase and DeVonta Smith for the No. 1 wide receiver in the draft class, and Dolphins Twitter has been debating which receiver they want more.
Chase did not play in 2020, as he opted out due to COVID-19. However, in 2019, Chase won the Biletnikoff Award, horning the country’s best receiver. He earned that award with his 84 receptions, 1,780 yards, and an absurd 20 touchdowns.
The 6-0, 208-pound star receiver only has one year of production, but he played at an extremely high level. In the final game of his collegiate career, Chase caught 9 passes for 221 yards and two scores, helping his team win the National Championship.
Here is a scouting report and breakdown of Ja’Marr Chase strengths and weaknesses and potential fit with the Dolphins:
Strengths: The first word that comes to my mind while watching Chase is “Alpha.” He isn’t huge, only 6 feet, but he plays like he’s so much bigger and stronger than everyone. Defensive backs rarely can tackle him one on one.
Chase also uses that strength when he is running routes to create separation or make contested catches. He really bullied some defensive backs in college, and it was fun to watch.
As a route runner, his best route is his quick slant. He is so quick to set up his defender and break inside. He was deadly with it in 2019, and defensive backs really struggled to cover him when he ran it.
One thing that really helped his slant was his dominance outside of the numbers. His best route may be his slant, but he does his best work outside the numbers running a go-route with an outside release.
He has an elite foot fire, which allows him to make the defensive back guess if he is running his slant or the deep route. It felt like almost all of his big plays or touchdowns came on his outside release and deep route.
Weaknesses: Chase isn’t an elite route runner, and he isn’t a guy that can get open running any route, but that is okay. His way of creating separation is a little worrisome for me, as he needs to depend on his strength more than his route running more than I like to see. He has his two elite routes (the slant and go route), but defensive backs that guess right lock him up good.
There was a play against Auburn where he ran the go route, and the corner ran the route for him and picked off the pass. Plays like those are a valid concern for his NFL potential in my eyes.
Chase is dangerous with the ball in his hands because of his strength to break tackles, but I do not know if he will ever be a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands.
You also know when Chase isn’t getting the ball, which is a big pet peeve of mine. He does not fire off the ball much to aid in the run game, and far too many times did he not make an effort to block, and his guy made the tackle.
NFL Comparison: I want to make a quick note that he reminds me a lot of Laquon Treadwell when Treadwell was at Ole Miss with the way he bullied defensive backs and dominated with his go-route. However, sticking with NFL comparison, I think Chase is a good combination of AJ Brown and Michael Thomas. He has the Alpha strength of Brown to work down the field, paired with Thomas’s elite slant route.
Overall Impression: Chase is a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. But, people need to understand that he needs to go to an offense where he will fit. Chase will never be a guy that is regularly running great routes and wide open for the quarterback. I scouted Justin Jefferson hard last year, and I would draft Jefferson over Chase this year without hesitation. That is not a knock on Chase, but instead me highlighting that I prefer receivers who can get open without needing to rely on strength.
Grade: 1st round
Fit with the Dolphins: Chase is a great player, but I do not like his fit with the Dolphins as much as Smith. Devante Parker is not as good as Chase, but it would be like drafting a better Parker to the lineup. I believe the Dolphins need elite separators like Smith. Chase wouldn’t be a terrible pick, but I just think there are better fits for better value than taking Chase at No. 3. His quick slant would be great on RPO’s, but I do not love the idea of having him outside release to have Tua Tagovailoa throw him contested deep balls a majority of the time.