The Bengals will have tough decision to make when their time starts on the clock with the fifth-overall pick. It seems like they may have their pick of the best non-quarterback player in the draft which includes protection or weapons for Joe Burrow. Their is one name that continues to popup with ties to Cincinnati, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
Chase and Burrow put together one of the best offensive seasons college football has ever seen in 2019 when the two helped lead LSU to a national championship. There have been rumors that Burrow has suggested the Bengals use that pick on Chase, but at the very least we know that the coaches have at least talked to him about Chase’s talents.
Another voice Cincinnati should trust is one of their former assistant coaches, Kevin Coyle. Now a senior defensive analyst at LSU, Coyle believes that Chase could eventually be viewed like Chad Johnson and A.J. Green, who were the No. 1 receivers during his time in Cincinnati. In a nutshell, Coyle views Chase as a player with an amazing skillset who doesn’t seem to have many holes.
“He has a tenacious, competitive nature about him. He’s got great hands. Not good hands. Great hands,” Coyle told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “He will just fight for the football. About as good as anybody I’ve seen. He’s special that way. The thing about him is he’s strong for a guy his size and he’s got good size, but he’s not an overly big receiver. But in terms of strength, body position, he’s got an unusual combination of skills.”
Green received 104 targets from Burrow last season and only caught 47 of them. The two never really developed the chemistry you’d hope to see from them. Now that Green is with the Arizona Cardinals, the Bengals should look to replace Green with someone who can make better use of those targets. In theory, adding a player who’s not only NFL ready out of the gate, but also already has chemistry with your franchise quarterback isn’t a bad plan at all. Coyle recalling the 2019 season makes it sound even more appealing to reunite these two.
“Last season was incredible. He was literally unstoppable,” Coyle said. “And it was every game no matter what teams tried to do. He just found a way to make plays.”
One of the big holdups fans and analysts had with Chase was he never really looked like he was elite in any one category. He doesn’t tower over defensive backs, as he is just over six feet tall, and he never blew by defenders either (although his pro day did a lot to show he used his year off to get faster). In Coyle’s eyes, though, Chase’s skillset may not be the prototypical one that fans are used to, but he will be able to do whatever is asked of him in the NFL.
“The thing I think a lot of people will be shocked at is just how strong this guy is,” Coyle said. “He’ll block. He’ll knock the crap out of a safety. He’ll lock up a corner. He’s not afraid to get his nose dirty. You could put him at running back to get the ball in his hands. Pound for pound he’s one of the strongest players on the team. Clearly he’s one of the top players coming out in the draft … There’s nothing he can’t do.”
Time will tell what the Bengals will ultimately decide to do with their first-round pick. They have a myriad of different directions they can go, but a walk down Burrow’s memory lane seems to sound better and better as the draft gets closer.