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Former NFL Coach Thinks LSU Football's Ja'Marr Chase Will Be "Day One Star"

Head coach Jim Mora talks Ja'Marr Chase's value, if he's the best receiver in 2021 draft class

Ja'Marr Chase has the talent and resume to be one of the first five players selected in next month's NFL draft. Even after electing to opt out on the 2020 season, Chase's value isn't expected to take much of a hit if any. 

For most players who opted out of 2020, finding out the thinking behind the decision will be an important part of the background process. But longtime NFL coach Jim Mora, who's sat in dozens of draft rooms over his career, believes that Chase is one of those players who can come in and change an offense from day one. 

"He's going to go to the NFL and have immediate impact and in my opinion, he's gonna be a day one star," Mora said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the pro bowl next year, he's got that type of ability. 

"I think with Ja'Marr, those questions you don't need to ask. I think he's shown enough on the field and off the field in terms of his character and his work ethic. He went right to work immediately when he opted out, bettering himself and putting himself to be in a position to be a good NFL player. I don't know that there's any questions about him."

One of the many question marks going into this draft class is which receiver goes off the board first, Chase or Alabama's Devonta Smith. It's widely believed that one of the two will come off the board in the first 10 picks or so, potentially both. 

Pundits like NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah have gone back and forth with this for a number of months but he ultimately ranked Chase as the second best prospect in the entire draft. Mora hasn't decided himself which one he'd take but says there isn't much not too like about both players.

"You're not gonna go wrong with either one. I think when you look at Devonta he's a guy who's not as big but is maybe just a tiny bit more explosive than Ja'Marr and that's not to say Ja'Marr's not explosive.

"I am still struggling with that debate in my mind, who would I take? We've seen Devonta recently, we've seen him win the Heisman which you don't see receivers do," Mora said. We saw him as a punt returner and saw the ability to separate and then when he did separate.

There's a lot that Mora likes in the LSU junior's game that makes him think he's a future pro bowl talent. For one, the strength at the point of attack and his physicality at the position make him a potentially lethal outside receiver. 

Whichever way teams ultimately look, there's little to no doubt both Chase and Smith will be called in the top half of the first round next month. 

"If you look at the more prototypical NFL receiver size, strength, hand strength, the home run ability, the ability to get off the bump and run and go up and attack the ball at it's highest point, then I think it's Ja'Marr," Mora said. "I won't be surprised either way, I don't think there will be teams that are looking for receivers that will tip their hand as to which way they want to go but they will have to have conviction before they make that pick."