It surely wasn’t a decision made in January like last year with Joe Burrow. But as the draft drew closer, the decision became more obvious to decipher.
No, Chase does not play offensive line. But he can help this offense just as much, if not more, than any single o-lineman can. And that’s why this pick should be celebrated, not criticized.
But enough of negative talk. Ja’Marr Chase is a fantastic player, and he now becomes the next No. 1 receiver for a franchise that has always highly valued that position.
What Chase brings to the Bengals
Chase is a true X receiver. He creates separation with both acceleration and brute strength, and the latter is what many folks think is his greatest asset. Chase bullies cornerbacks in his routes, when tracking the ball, and when the ball is in his hands. He’s a yards after catch fiend and a menace to bring down with just one tackler.
More than anything, Chase is a master at tracking the deep ball. He and Burrow were electric when connecting down the field. And even when he didn’t look like a 4.3 player when he was a 19-year old true sophomore, he would always kick into another gear and create last second separation with speed and hand usage.
Chase will start at the X spot Week 1 this year, where A.J. Green was for nine of the last 10 years, and he’s capable of handling a full workload in every way a receiver can have.
Why the Bengals picked Chase
While the Bengals signed a starting right tackle in free agency, they didn’t do the same at wide receiver. They purposely left a gaping hole in their offense despite seeing Green leave for another team. That gave us the first sign that they would be interested in Chase.
So many times have the Bengals talked about needing to improve the deep ball this upcoming season. That didn’t just come down to Burrow. Chase immediately adds an element to the Bengals’ offense that they haven’t had since the peak days of Green. They thought John Ross III could become that, but Ross was never the overall prospect that Chase is.
The Bengals now have a lethal trio of receivers to go with an already improved offensive line compared to the end of the 2020 season. He was the top player on their board, and he fills a huge need. There’s no better justification for a high draft pick.
Chase’s history with Burrow certainly doesn’t hurt. There’s no doubt that Burrow talked with the Bengals front office and gave Chase a golden recommendation, but even if Chase never played with Burrow, he’d still be a receiver that they would’ve coveted. He’s insanely talented, produced at a high level against great competition, and just recently turned 21 years of age.
Starting in September, Burrow will be throwing deep bombs to Chase once again.