Though Ja’Marr Chase signed out of the 2020 season, a record campaign the year before means he remains one of the top recipients in the draft.
Yes, ‘Mar Chase and Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrow had one of the most successful partnerships in college football history during his time together at LSU. In fact, the duo led the Tigers to the height of college football, winning an unexpected national championship. The Bengals currently hold the fifth pick in the first round of the draft and the couple’s reunion is a popular choice for many fans.
In 2019, Chase led the nation by receiving both yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20), earning him the Biletnikoff Award for best wideout in college football. It earned Chase a 91.1 Pro Football Focus grade and cemented him as a clear favorite to be the first recipient on the 2021 draft.
Getting out of this season seemed like a sensible business decision. Chase would have had difficulty improving his inventory. Especially after the talent exodus, the LSU suffered when important players switched to the NFL.
While Alabama’s Devonta Smith may have jumped over Chase in some leaderboards, the Scouts are now returning to the band and the LSU product is likely to get going again.
As the design analysts currently rate Ja’Marr Chase
At the forefront of the broad recipient class, things have definitely tightened. The gap between Chase and Smith seems small, but the majority still have Burrow’s former teammates on their rankings. Both PFF and ESPN ranked Chase fifth overall on their draft boards, so it’s fair to say the Scouts are into him.
Michael Renner von PFF had this to say about the playmaker:
“… Chase ticks pretty much every key box … he has beaten coverage in several ways, been productive at all levels of the field, played against the best competition in America, and won as an outside recipient.”
At 6’0, 200 lbs. Chase isn’t exactly a physical rehearsal, and his band doesn’t call out for an athletic freak. His style of play doesn’t see him separated by speed, rather his physicality allows him to be dominant at the catch point. The fact that he joins the league at age 21 is even more appealing to teams.
Here he beats the Atlanta Terrcons in the first round against AJ Terrell:
Chase has a high ceiling on the next level. His age and already dominant sophomore performance suggest that he can be a success at the next level. That said, you won’t get a Slam Dunk Julio Jones / AJ Green top five recipient. Chase can start his life as a solid number 2 who can excel in adding shine to his running track.
Does Ja’Marr Chase fit what the Bengals need in 2021?
Joe Burrow’s connection with Ja’Marr Chase is an enticing prospect. With Chase on the board at pick five, you can expect Burrow to be lobbying for his old teammate. While protection seems to be number one, quarterbacks can never have too many weapons. The combination of Chase with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd gives the Bengals a strong reception group.
While Boyd is one of the top slot recipients in the game and Higgins presents a huge outside threat, Chase can be anything in between. Chase benefits from not being the number one recipient, and has the ability to work in one-on-one situations as well.
Ultimately, Chase is seen as the ready-made successor to AJ Green. Green’s career with the Bengals seems to have taken its course. A replacement in the form of Chase would be ideal to give the Bengals one of the most dynamic offensive groups in the league.
Where are the Bengals supposed to target Ja’Marr Chase in the draft?
The Bengals will only get one shot at Ja’Marr Chase. If they believe he can be an elite receiver in the NFL, they must make their move with the fifth choice. You could run the risk of going backwards across the trade if Chase, Smith, and Jaylen Waddle are of a similar rank. Burrow’s familiarity with Chase should give him an advantage in the eyes of the Bengals.
This is a stacked reception group, and there will be a number of playmakers at the top of the second round. That could mean the Bengals prioritize other needs in the first round and know that they can pick up a starting receiver later.
The fact that they only designed Tee Higgins in the second round a year ago and re-signed Tyler Boyd in 2019 could put them off of a high profile man at the start of the design. Three talented recipients with similar contract lengths could cause problems later. That being said, the NFL is a passing league and you can’t have too many good recipients.
The burrow factor, Green’s likely exit, and the fact that Penei Sewell might fall off the board all play a role in the narrative that Chase might be the newest member of the Bengals. The general consensus among fans is that adding Chase could be a game changer.
Chase is not a finished product. However, he’s freaky and young enough to warrant a top 10 pick. Joe Burrow is at the heart of this team and making him happy is crucial. Drawing a former teammate in Chase would likely do that. While the recipient may not be the most pressing concern for the Bengals, Chase’s design would show their commitment to building one offensive juggernaut.