NFL scouts reportedly like one WR in draft better than rest


With NFL Draft season starting to heat up, the conversation about how the Eagles will use the No. 6 overall pick in late April is going to get very interesting.

Do they like a quarterback like BYU's Zach Wilson enough to take that gamble? Will they try to find the next great shutdown corner in Alabama's Patrick Surtain? 

Or do they please the fanbase with a second straight first-round pick on a wideout?

If they opt for the latter, it seems like two guys - LSU's Ja'Marr Chase and Alabama's DeVonta Smith - could go in the Top 6 this year, and after seemingly bungling a WR-heavy draft last year, the pressure is on for Howie Roseman & Co. to make this pick the right one.

Which means when one draft insider says NFL scouts are already gravitating towards one over the other, they'd better listen.

Here's a nugget Thursday from NFL Draft analyst and insider Matt Miller, who's been covering prospects and the draft for more than a decade and always has his ear to the ground:

"The more teams dig into the 2020 tape in their scouting groups, the more I hear that Ja’Marr Chase will be close to a consensus WR1 in this class."

Hmmm. Sounds like Chase is the guy.

Chase opted out of the 2020 college football season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. His last season came in 2019, when he won the national championship with LSU while catching 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in the regular season. Pretty good!

Smith, of course, was this year's Heisman winner and a national champion, catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in the regular season. Pretty good!

It's also important to add a qualifier: draft boards often change a lot from mid-February to late April, but that normally involves late risers. Neither of these players is a late riser; they've both been ticketed as surefire studs for more than a year.

Now, do scouts get things wrong? Definitely, and the same can be said for individual teams. Mitchell Trubisky went ahead of Patrick Mahomes. Things happen.

But if parts of the NFL scouting community are already ossifying around one wide receiver in particular? Even when that player hasn't taken a live snap in over a year? It's worth paying attention.

(And if they wind up with Smith, that's okay too.)

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