One of the best stories every year in the 2021 NFL Draft is seeing former college teammates reunite at the next level. In the first round, we saw three wide receivers be taken in the top ten, all of them from the SEC. It doesn’t stop there as all of these receivers have reunited with their former college quarterbacks.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, and Philadelphia Eagles all got involved in the pleasant surprise to so many. It feels great for these players to see that they’re reunited with their friends and get to play with them again for the rest of their careers at the pro level. These three quarterback-wide receivers combinations will sure to be must-watch television on Sundays.
Three SEC QB-WR Combos Reunite In The First Round Of 2021 NFL Draft
Burrow To Chase
The Bengals were on the clock with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. A few people were still trying to figure out who they would take but many thought they would take offensive tackle Penei Sewell from Oregon. That was not the direction the Bengals went as they took wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with their pick. Chase was thought to be the best receiver in this draft class. After losing franchise receiver A.J. Green, this pick made a lot of sense.
One way it makes a lot of sense is that Chase performed with current Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow for two years at LSU from 2018-2019. This was a lethal connection, especially in 2019 when LSU’s offense was in the conversation as the best offense in college history. In that year, Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns while Chase gathered 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns while winning a National Championship. These two know a lot about each other and the Bengals are hoping to re-kindle that magic from their time at LSU.
Tua To Waddle
Another pair of National Championship winners from the SEC reunite in the 2021 NFL Draft. Tua Tagovailoa got drafted by the Dolphins in 2020 and burst onto the scene when he took over for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the final minutes of the fourth quarter in a 24-0 win over the New York Jets in Week 6. He drew his first start a week later in a 28-17 win against the Los Angeles Rams. Since then, he’s been inconsistent and many wondered if he can be the future of the Dolphins. Going into the 2021 NFL Draft, it was thought that Tua’s Alabama teammate would get drafted at wide receiver by Miami. That’s what happened but it wasn’t the teammate everybody thought it would be.
The Dolphins drafted Jaylen Waddle to team back up with Tua. They played at Alabama together in 2018 and 2019. Tua threw for almost 4,000 yards for 43 touchdowns while Waddle gathered 848 yards for seven touchdowns. While only playing nine games in 2019 due to injury, Tua threw for almost 3,000 yards and had 33 touchdowns while Waddle had to play without him for a few games but caught 560 yards. Both have an injury history but they’re are looking to work through that together. The Dolphins are hoping the addition of Waddle can help Tua get better and stay more consistent on the field.
Hurts To Smith
Jalen Hurts played with DeVonta Smith for a season in 2017 before Hurts eventually transferred to Oklahoma in 2019. Unfortunately, Smith didn’t break out until Hurts lost his starting job. When they were together in 2017, Hurts did manage to find Smith for 160 yards and three touchdowns. That was also the year that Alabama won the National Championship. In that game, Hurts got replaced by Tua in the second half against Georgia to create a spark. They didn’t get to play a lot together but they are familiar with each other.
Hurts was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles to sit behind Carson Wentz in 2020. He only started in four games when taking the job from Wentz but looked pretty good in that span. 2021 will be his first full season as the starter for the Eagles. In doing so, he will be getting the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and former teammate in Smith, who caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2020 at Alabama. What little familiarity they had in 2017 and 2018, hopefully, will blossom for the Eagles in 2021.