Instant Analysis: Bengals Select Ja’Marr Chase with 5th Overall Pick
With the 5th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Ja’Marr Chase, wide receiver, LSU.
The great debate of offensive line or wide receiver finally ends. Sewell or Chase, the coin flips lands, Chase. Reuniting the dynamic duo of Burrow and Chase.
The young man opted out of 2020 due to COVID concerns yet was still the first WR off the board, ahead of Heisman Winner Devonta Smith.
This man can do it all. Outside, inside, the slot, deep routes, slants, or screens, Burrow and the Bengals are getting an absolute playmaker. Which, of course, Burrow knows already.
For those unfamiliar with Chase’s work, his scouting report via TDN is as follows:
Ja’Marr Chase was Heisman Trophy Winner and 2020 No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow’s go-to target in LSU’s record-breaking offense in 2019. As a true sophomore, Chase set the single-season SEC record for receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20). When focusing on the 2019 campaign, Chase’s route-running technique, hands, ball skills, post-catch ability, and blocking shined bright in a historic season for Chase and the LSU offense. The challenge forecasting Chase to the next level is we’ve only seen him find success with Burrow and offensive coordinator Joe Brady in 2019 when the environment was ripe to produce. Additionally, while Chase has good size and athleticism, those components aren’t elite traits that would be preferred for a wide receiver prospect selected high in the first round. With that said, his polish shined across those 14 games, where he showcased the makings of a dynamic No. 1 receiver in the NFL that has the skill set needed to produce at all levels of the field. Ideally, Chase would have a larger sample size of production to evaluate, but we’ve seen what he is capable of at his best and that is exciting.
Chase will look to come in and be a day-one starter. In fact, he could even be in line to be WR1 from the get-go. The big thing with this pick is the reunion of Burrow and Chase. Simply, the chemistry between the two was too hard for the Bengals front office to pass up.
Keep in mind that in 26 games at LSU, the Burrow to Chase connection was absolute fire. Chase had 107 receptions on 162 targets for 2,093 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Chase will be expected to fill the void left by A.J. Green, and if the Burrow and Chase can rekindle their magic, Green may not even be missed in Cincinnati.
The difference between adding Ja’Marr Chase versus an offensive lineman is measurable. No other prospect can bring to the table what Chase does. Compared to the linemen class, the Bengals can find a day one starter on day two and day three.
Overall, the Bengals get an A+ grade for this pick. They’re off to a hot start. Now they can shift their attention to addressing the IOL in the second and third rounds.