It’s the last day of March, which means draft season is encompassing our every thought as the NFL offseason roars on.
This week, Anthony and John get you updated on the Cincinnati Bengals’ latest free agent signings, where other Bengals players have signed, and Joe Burrow’s recovery process. Also, did Ja’Marr Chase establish himself as the favorite to become the fifth-overall pick? We discuss that as well as profile an intriguing Day 2 offensive line prospect.
In case you missed it, Chase’s Pro Day on Wednesday was epic. Aside from proving to be a highly-productive player at just 19 years old in the SEC, the athletic profile has now been proven to be upper-tier.
LSU star Ja’Marr Chase at pro day:— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 31, 2021
— 41" vertical
— 11' broad jump
— 4.38 40-yard dash
WR1? @brgridiron pic.twitter.com/ETPE1o7fd3
Those who were not on “Team Chase” were certain he’d measure under 6’0” (he was slightly over) and would run in the mid-4’s for a 40 time. Neither came true, as the former LSU Tiger leaped out of Baton Rouge on Wednesday.
Reading the tea leaves from a number of different angles (beat reporters, rumors and analyzing the Bengals’ biggest needs), Chase had appeared to be on the short list of options for Cincinnati at No. 5 overall. With this workout, he very well may have made himself the front-runner for the selection.
Aside from the athletic profile and his age (just turned 21 years old), wide receiver is a position the Bengals have never shied away from both selecting high in the draft and/or paying in free agency (yes, we know they didn’t do much there this spring, but they did flirt with Kenny Golladay). Since 2000, the Bengals have used three top-10 picks at wide receiver (including two in the top-five) and another four in the second round.
With his speed, contested catch ability, athleticsm and more, Chase would create a formidable hydra at wide receiver for Joe Burrow to use. Yards-after-the-catch opportunities that should have been seized with John Ross could now be more capably utilized with Chase.
And, we can’t forget the familiarity facet with Burrow and Chase. They played together for two seasons, but in that magical 2019 campaign, Chase accounted for a third of Burrow’s incredible 60 touchdown passes. His 21.2 yards per reception that year also bodes well as a cure for a lack of big plays in the Bengals’ offense of late.
Chase noted after his Pro Day that he “wouldn’t mind” reuniting with Burrow, which seemed like a lukewarm response, at best. However, as Jay Morrison of The Athletic noted, Chase couldn’t seem to count how many times the Bengals’ brain trust has been in with him during the pre-draft process.
Yes, this offseason should be about protecting Burrow with capable offensive linemen. But, it most definitely needs to also be about giving him the proper weapons to ascend to one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
Chase provides the opportunity for the latter to occur—especially with his Wednesday testing as further indicators. The good news is that, if they opt to pass over him, or if he ends up going before No. 5, they can grab a lineman to achieve the former goal.
On tap this week:
- The Bengals keep making moves to attempt to bolster their defensive line. They brought back two faces from 2020 in Mike Daniels and Amani Bledsoe this week.
- How big of a signing is Daniels for this team—not only from a leadership and production perspective, but from a free agency rebound perspective?
- Joe Burrow is apparently getting to some on-field throwing sessions for his rehab process.
- Who were our favorite free agency signings by the Bengals?
- Ja’Marr Chase’s Pro Day workout on Wednesday could have solidified his stance as the team’s pick at No. 5.
- If the Bengals don’t go with an offensive lineman at No. 5, an intriguing option could be Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg in Round 2.
- And more!
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