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Underrated wide receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft: Part 2

Looking beyond the top targets.

LSU v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL Draft class is deep with wide receivers. As a continuation of yesterday’s article on the positional depth for pass catchers, here are nine more names to keep an eye on this offseason.

Amari Rodgers, Clemson

Amari Rodgers stepped up in 2020 with Tee Higgins off in the NFL. Despite being a shorter receiver, Rodgers’ running back build and athleticism made him a valuable weapon on the Clemson offense. While he is destined to be a role player in the NFL, he could make use of a lot of targets.

Low-end comparison: Ray-Ray McCloud

High-end comparison: Devin Duvernay

Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC

Amon-Ra St. Brown is another player in the long line of high-profile USC receiver prospects. St. Brown doesn’t have the flashy numbers of his predecessors, but he is absolutely bound to be a contributor in the NFL. St. Brown is a technically gifted receiver with strong hands, sharp routes, and a physicality to his game. While he might not be a game-changer, he could be a productive slot receiver.

Low-end comparison: Gabriel Davis

High-end comparison: Robert Woods

Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU

Terrace Marshall has flown under the radar with Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase receiving all the attention the last two years. Marshall’s speed, however, will give him a shot in the NFL. He has been a legit deep threat for LSU since 2019 and actually opened the offense up for the Tigers’ primary receivers. It’s very possible his best football is still ahead of him if he carves out more targets in the NFL.

Low-end comparison: Breshad Perriman

High-end comparison: DJ Chark

Sage Surratt, Wake Forest

Sage Surratt was a monster at the catch point in college. The 6’2”, 220-pound receiver has a strong build that he regularly used to bully cornerbacks with. While he lacks top-end athleticism, it’s hard to get over how regularly he would dominate anyone trying to cover him.

Low-end comparison: Mack Hollins

High-end comparison: Alshon Jeffery

D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan

If you need speed, D’Wayne Eskridge has it. The WMU product was always a threat to score when he saw the ball because of how quickly he could shift gears, change direction and burn a defense. His diminutive size may limit how he’s deployed in the NFL, but a creative NFL team could have quite a weapon on their hands with him.

Low-end comparison: Mecole Hardman

High-end comparison: Keke Coutee

Capital One Orange Bowl - Texas A&M v North Carolina Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Dazz Newsome, UNC

Dazz Newsome is as solid a receiver prospect as you can get since he has a phenomenal handle on the position. While he doesn’t have any outstanding tools, his proficiency and dependability in the middle of the field make him a likely contributor in any NFL offense.

Low-end comparison: Freddie Swain

High-end comparison: Julian Edelman

Cade Johnson, SDSU

Cade Johnson is my favorite non-FBS player in this class. He is a legit deep threat who has proved against every opponent he’s faced that he’s better than them. Johnson’s Senior Bowl showing earned him some draft hype and he’ll go earlier than people expect right now.

Low-end comparison: Andre Roberts

High-end comparison: Brandin Cooks

Jaelon Darden, North Texas

Jaelon Darden is another small school prospect with a lot of speed. The 5’9”, 180 pounder was faster than anyone he lined up against at NTU and his speed will be a selling point for his NFL prospects.

Low-end comparison: Terry Godwin

High-end comparison: KJ Hamler

Justyn Ross, Clemson

Justyn Ross might be the biggest wildcard in this draft class. As a freshman at Clemson, Ross looked like one of the next great receivers in the country. Unfortunately, an injury has derailed his path to the NFL and it’s been a while since we’ve seen him dominate the college level. There’s no doubt his ceiling is sky-high, but the question is if there’s a path to getting back to form.

Low-end comparison: Michael Floyd

High-end comparison: AJ Green