The 2021 NFL Draft features an abundance of wide receiver talent. Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Rashod Bateman, and Terrance Marshall are all likely to be first-round draft picks. Kardarius Toney, Elijah Moore, and Rondale Moore are all intriguing prospects and figures to be the next wave of receivers taken. Lost in the shuffle by NFL draft analysts and fantasy football Twitter is prospect Anthony Schwartz. The dynamic wide receiver out of Auburn could be a draft-day steal on day two of the NFL Draft.
Who Is Anthony Schwartz?
Schwartz was a multi-sport star athlete out of American Heritage High School, Florida, in 2018. Schwartz played wide receiver and running back on the American Heritage team who won consecutive Class 5A State Championships. He made a name for himself as a Track and Field athlete just as much as he did as a football player. He won the 2018 Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, helped the USA win a gold medal in the 4×100 meter relay at the Under 20 World Championships, and ran a blazing 10.15 100 meter sprint time.
Schwartz was a four-star recruit and ranked as Rivals’ 28th best wide receiver from high school in 2018. He received scholarship offers from many FBS programs, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Oregon, Miami, and USC, before choosing Auburn.
Schwartz’s College Production
Schwartz’s freshman and sophomore campaigns saw him utilized in a myriad of ways to get the most production out of his skill-set. He was a Madden cheat code of sorts, flashing his big-play ability through the air and out of the backfield. Schwartz hauled in 63 passes for 797 yards and rushed for 329 yards while adding ten total touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Schwartz’s junior season was a mixed bag. He had 54 receptions for 636 yards and three touchdowns. He flashed big-play ability yet left you wanting so much more. Much of Schwartz’s untapped potential couldn’t be fulfilled based on Auburn’s offensive scheme and inconsistencies from sophomore quarterback Bo Nix. Auburn’s vanilla offense had trouble designing plays vertically for the speedster Schwartz. Nix’s propensity to hold onto the ball too long and lack of consistency impeded Schwartz’s ability to contribute in a more meaningful way.
It’s not to say that Schwartz didn’t make his presence felt. He had 10 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown against Arkansas and 4 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown against the defending champion LSU Tigers. He had impressive performances against SEC powerhouses Alabama and Georgia combining 13 receptions for 117 yards. In those matchups, he saw coverage from future NFL first-round picks Patrick Surtain III (Alabama) and Tyson Cambell and Eric Stokes (both of Georgia) in those matchups.
What does Schwartz Bring To The Table For An NFL Team?
Anthony Schwartz is 6’0” 186 pounds with electrifying playmaking ability. His speed was on full display in front of NFL evaluators on his Pro Day by running a 4.27 40-yard dash. According to PlayerProfiler, his 40-yard dash ranked him in the 99th percentile for wide receivers.
Schwartz will demand the attention of defenses as he could blow past any defender in man coverage or create yards on bubble screens and shorter routes. He will be utilized on jet sweeps, motions, or as a decoy to draw safeties away from the play. He has tremendous open field vision when he has the ball in his hands.
Schwartz is far from a finished product. He is still raw as a route runner and often gets pushed around at the point of contact in press coverage and occasionally has focus drops. His ball tracking skills on deep passes leave a bit to be desired as well. He will ultimately get manufactured touches at the NFL level, much like Curtis Samuel does, but needs to work on nuances of his game to become a consistent, polished receiver.
Some of those inconsistencies in his game are all part of the development process. NFL offensive staff will be salivating to get their hands on this wide receiver’s tantalizing speed. Schwartz will be just 21 years of age by the time the 2021 season kicks off, which will have coaches excited to mold the young speedster.
Anthony Schwartz is an intriguing prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. There’s no question his skill-set could have been on display more if Auburn maximized his ability. Here are a few teams of many who make sense for Schwartz.
- Minnesota Vikings- The Vikings have coveted a viable third wide receiver on their depth chart for years. As it stands, the Vikings have done little since the start of free agency to add talent to the position. Schwartz’s speed would be a perfect complement to the well-rounded Jefferson and Adam Thielen in the slot. New Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme should generate plenty of big-play opportunities for Schwartz. Quarterback Kirk Cousins thrives on play-action passing which could boost Schwartz’s stock in the offense.
- Kansas City Chiefs- The Chiefs are top-heavy at their skill positions, but are severely lacking depth at the wide receiver position. Tyreek Hill is all-world, and the Chiefs are banking on a third-year break-out from Mecole Hardman. Sammy Watkins departed via free agency, and Demarcus Robinson and Bryan Pringle are under contract for just one more season. The Chiefs need reinforcements at the position.
The only thing that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid loves more than cheeseburgers is the speed at the wide receiver position. Hill, Hardman, and Schwartz all have run sub 4.40 40-yard dash times, and would undoubtedly give the Chiefs the fasted trio of wide receivers in the NFL. A team like the Chiefs could be the perfect team to unlock Schwartz’s true potential. There are worse ways to begin a career than being coached by Reid and catching passes from the NFL’s best in Patrick Mahomes.
- Pittsburgh Steelers- The Steelers threw the ball an NFL high 42.6 times per game last season. While Ben Roethlisberger is not what he once was, there is plenty of opportunity to be had for Steelers pass catchers. Wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington are under contract for just one more season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to many if the Steelers elected not to re-sign them. The Steelers are a team that finds wide receiver gems beyond the first round in drafts. If the Steelers could find an adequate replacement for Roethlisberger in the next two NFL Drafts, bank on good things moving for Schwartz in the Steelers offense.
If you’re not aware of who Anthony Schwartz is now, you will soon enough. He could be a valuable commodity in fantasy football for years to come. May the Schwartz be with you!
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