The 2020 wide receiver class was considered unique. According to one NFL executive, the 2021 class is the cream of the crop.
The executive told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated that Ja'Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle "are all better" than Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.
"They're different body types and styles," the executive said. "You got the powerful, physical guy in Chase; the explosive playmaker who's incredible with the ball in his hands in Waddle; and the all-encompassing route-runner with speed and toughness, but not size, in DeVonta. They're all better than [Jerry] Jeudy and [Henry] Ruggs. [CeeDee] Lamb is right in the mix with them, but Ruggs and Jeudy are below those guys for me."
Ruggs was the first wide receiver taken in last year's draft at 12th overall to the Las Vegas Raiders. Two of the three top receivers in this year's draft may be top-10 selections.
Chase has been viewed as the top receiver in the 2021 class for more than a year. However, Smith's Heisman-winning campaign will put him in the conversation.
The NFL executive who spoke to Breer did not comment on how he would compare Chase, Smith and Waddle to Justin Jefferson, who was the best rookie receiver last season and set the NFL rookie receiving record with 1,400 yards.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, who all pick within the top-10, could use another wide receiver ahead of the 2021 campaign. It's unclear how any of those teams view Chase, Smith and Waddle.