2021 NFL Draft: Is this the smallest wide receiver class yet?

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Draft season is in full swing with mocks, rumors and galaxy braining galore. Most of the discussion has revolved around what quarterbacks will follow after the Jaguars inevitably draft Trevor Lawrence first overall (we know the next four will be some combination of Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance, but in what order?). One narrative that isn’t getting enough pub, however, is this year’s wide receiver class, which, as noted by Hayden Winks of Underdog Fantasy, is one of the smallest in recent memory.

First-round hopefuls Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle average 5’11”/180 (about the size of a J.J. Watt cheat meal) while the pint-sized trio of Kadarius Toney, Elijah Moore and Rondale Moore all measure under six feet. Winks, who refers to this year’s wideout group as the “Mickey Mouse” class, didn’t even mention diminutive Louisville receiver Tutu Atwell (5’9”/155) or D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan (5’9”/190).

That’s not to say the class is completely devoid of size—Nico Collins (6’4”/215) and Simi Fehoko (6’4”/222) are both plenty big. But compared to some of the mammoth prospects we’ve seen of late including goliath Seahawks mutant DK Metcalf and fellow cyborg Chase Claypool of the Pittsburgh Steelers, this year’s wideout crop is certainly on the smaller side.

Draft evaluators tend to focus too much on measurables, when the truth is that NFL difference-makers come in all sizes. For every jet-fueled monstrosity like Calvin Johnson entering the league there are just as many Wes Welkers, forging their identity with determination and grit. What this year’s receiver class lacks in size it more than makes up for in speed with Chase (4.38), Rondale Moore (4.29), Marshall (4.38) and Elijah Moore (4.35) all blazing sub-4.4 forties.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood, Getty Images