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Saturday scouting - Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU) - and games to watch this weekend

A first look at the presumptive top receiver in the draft

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning New York Giants fans and welcome to another college football Saturday!

Once again we’re going to be taking the opportunity to do a preliminary scouting report on a player who opted out of the 2020 season. This week we’ll be looking at LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Chase exploded onto the scene in 2019 — along with Joe Burrow and the rest of the LSU offense. Last year he recorded an absurd 1,780 yards on 84 catches (21.2 yards per catch) and 20 touchdowns.

Considering the Giants find themselves in need of a true number one receiver, we could hear Chase’s name often over the next several months. So let’s take an early look to see what kind of player he is.

Prospect: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
Games Watched: LSU at Texas (2019), LSU vs. Auburn, LSU at Georgia, LSU vs. Oklahoma
Red Flags: none

Measurables

Height: 6000 (6-feet)
Weight: 208 pounds

2019 Stats

Games Played (starts): 14
Receptions: 84
Yards (YPC): 1,780 (21.2 per catch)
Total Touchdowns: 20

Quick Summary

Best: Ball skills, route running, versatility, physicality
Worst: Explosiveness
Projection: A starting wide receiver with positional and schematic versatility

Game Tape

Full Report

LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase possesses a good blend of size, athleticism, and technical polish to be a “number one” receiver at the NFL level.

Chase has good size for the position at 6-foot, 208 pounds and will likely run in the range of a 4.45 40-yard dash, which gives him the size to line up on the perimeter and enough athleticism to stretch the field vertically. He has the versatility to line up as an X receiver, Flanker, Slot, or out of the backfield and runs a full route tree.

He features quick feet and is able to get a clean release off the line of scrimmage against press coverage. Chase does a good job of using his footwork, hands, and physicality to clear jams and release into his routes with the minimum of disruption. He is a solid route runner for a prospect with just two years of collegiate experience and will vary his tempo and stride length to disrupt defensive backs. He also shows a good sense for locating and sitting in voids in zone coverage. Chase is a very physical receiver at the catch point with natural ball skills. He has a natural feel for tracking and locating the ball, as well as a great sense of timing to delay looking for the ball as long as possible. He shows no hesitation fighting through contested catches and routinely extends to pluck the ball out of the air.

Chase has some ability after the catch, fighting through tackles with good play strength and balance, as well as picking out running lanes. That physicality and competitive toughness extends to his blocking work as well. He is a willing blocker who generally blocks with good form and technique, and doesn’t shy away from imposing his will on defensive backs.

Chase is a good but “not great” athlete who lacks true “elite” explosiveness, which can show up as only average burst out of his breaks or after making a catch. He also has a slight tendency to throttle down and be a spectator when he knows he won’t be involved in the play.

Projection

Ja’Marr Chase projects as a “Day 1” starting wide receiver at the NFL level with the versatility to play in any alignment in any offensive scheme.

He doesn’t have eye-popping measurables, but a combination of route running, ball skills, mental processing, and physicality allow him to play bigger and faster than he’ll measure. Chase was used all over LSU’s offensive formation, from the “X” receiver position to the backfield and produced from everywhere. That experience and versatility gives a creative offensive coordinator a legitimate weapon with which to work.

Chase only has one year of high production, and there is, of course, the concern that Chase’s 2019 season is as much a product of Joe Burrow’s incandescent play as his own ability. However, he produced consistently throughout the 2019 season and against many top defensive back prosepcts. That should give confidence that he can carry that success forward to the NFL.

Games To Watch

(22) Texas vs. Oklahoma

Fox - Noon

Texas

  • Sam Ehlinger (QB)
  • Samuel Cosmi (OT)
  • Joseph Ossai (EDGE)
  • Caden Sterns (S)

Oklahoma

  • Creed Humphrey (iOL)
  • Adrian Ealy (OT)
  • Charleston Rambo (WR)
  • Ronnie Perkins (EDGE)
  • Jaylon Redmond (iDL)

(14) Tennessee at (3) Georgia

ABC - 3:30p.m.

Tennessee

  • Trey Smith (iOL)
  • Cade Mays (iOL)

Georgia

  • Ben Cleveland (iOL)
  • Tre’ McKitty (TE)
  • Zamir White (RB)
  • Tyson Campbell (CB)
  • Eric Stokes (CB)
  • Richard LeCounte III (S)
  • Jordan Davis (iDL)
  • Monty Rice (LB)

(7) Miami at (1) Clemson

ABC - 7:30p.m.

Miami

  • Quince Roche (EDGE)
  • Al Blades Jr. (CB)
  • Jaelen Phillips (EDGE)
  • Brevin Jordan (TE)

Clemson

  • Trevor Lawrence (QB)
  • Jackson Carman (OT)
  • Travis Etienne (RB)
  • Justyn Ross (WR)
  • Amari Rodgers (WR)