Yes, Devonta Smith won the Heisman, but we didn’t have a chance to see what Ja’Marr Chase would’ve done as a senior. In my opinion, he would’ve been dunking on the rest of the SEC, possibly even more impressively than Smith has.
Chase chose to opt out of his junior year, but his sophomore year (2019) was insane: 84 catches for 1780 yards and 20 TDs.
Justin Jefferson played alongside Chase in 2019 at LSU before he was drafted, racking up 111 receptions for 1540 yards and 18 TDs himself – as a junior. Jefferson has entered the NFL, and he did so with a bang, breaking the record for receiving yards as a rookie.
Chase has all of the indicators that you look for.
He broke out age 19 with a Dominator rating of 30%, which means he accounted for 30% of LSU’s offensive production.
I’ll say that again. In that 2019 LSU offense with Justin Jefferson absolutely killing it, Chase himself also accounted for 30% of the offense’s production.
For reference, Devonta Smith did it when he was almost 22. The historic hit rate drops dramatically for Smith’s case. He did record a breakout age of 20 with a Dominator rating of 20%.
Chase has all the traits you’re looking for in a WR, and his physicality is something that stands out. The fact that Chase was as physical as he was as a sophomore is not something you see often, and his game against Alabama’s Trevon Diggs was the most notable.
He has a lot of experience playing on the outside, unlike Jefferson did, running 81% of his routes from the perimeter. The physicality he has shown should give you confidence in his ability against press coverage in the pros.
The other thing that stands out was his ability to make big plays deep; he was consistently catching long balls, and had great ball-tracking ability. His ability to make the contested catch was very evident as well.
He’s expected to be taken early in the first round, so when you look at WRs with similar draft capital combined with the metrics I pointed to above, they’ve had a WR2 (top-24) or better season in their career at least once 66% of the time.
Thanks to Peter Howard (@pahowdy on Twitter) for a lot of this data.